In the first half of the year, some 15.3 million tonnes were loaded or discharged in the Port of Bilbao, 1.26% less than in the corresponding period for last year. Nonetheless, the Port Authority expects traffic to increase in the second half, and following the tendency of the last three years, it is expected this year will close positively at around 2%.
The decrease in the first half comes from the fall in liquid bulks such as natural gas and fuel oil, in solid bulks like scrap and iron briquettes due to the lack of activity at the ACB, and in the loss of iron and steel products especially because of the fall in tubes exports after the low activity in the oil sector.
On the other hand, the goods which grow most in tonnes are petrol, the petroleum products group, crude oil, cement and clinker, chemical products and coal and petrol coke.
In contrast, the increase in heavy load traffic is noteworthy. Between January and June, 2,479 pieces catalogued as special transport due to weight, length, width or height were embarked. This figure supposes a 21% increase over the same period last year.
Traffic entering or leaving using the Port’s rail facilities continues to grow. In the first half of the year, there has been a 20% increase in rail traffic which now constitutes 6% of the total; this figure increases to 13% in the case of dry cargo only, which is more prone to use this transport means.
With regard to passengers, the figure has grown by 43%: travellers on the Bilbao-Portsmouth ferry increase 29%, while cruise tourists go up 61%.
INCREASE IN EXPORTS
Exports, which constitute 40% of traffic grow 3%, while imports, representing 60%, go down by 4%.
With regard to markets, 41% of traffic has its origin or destination in the European Atlantic, which increases 18%, followed by the North American Atlantic in second place, which goes up 3%, and by Central America and the Caribbean with a 13% increase.
TURNOVER AND INVESTMENT IN PORT AUTHORITY GROW
Turnover for the first six months of the year stands at 32.1 million euros, 0.12% up on the corresponding period for the last year.
In 2016, the Port Authority of Bilbao plans to invest 78.1 million euros in strategic projects in order to increase its market and attract new traffic. This is the highest investment the entity has made in recent years, and it must be remembered that the Port Authority is self-financing thanks to its own resources, bank loans, and in specific projects, considered to be strategic, through EU subsidies. Projects in progress or which have been completed this year are as follows:
- Construction ofthe first phase of the Central Pier and Stabilisation of the old Punta Lucero Quarry.Although they are different works, both projects were awarded in just one contract in Juneat a joint cost of 79 million euros. The European Commission will contribute 20% of this as part of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Programme. Thecompletionperiodwill be 39 months.
- Punta Sollana Breakwater Extension.The works were commenced in 2012 and will be concluded this summer. They require 41.2 million euros investment and are EU co-financed as part of the “Efficient operations and improvement in the environmental performance of the Port”project, call TEN-T 2012.
- First Phase of building the Pancorbo Rail Logistics Terminal.The contract for the works was awarded in December 2015 at a cost of 4.5 million euros.
- Arasur Rail siding.Investment in this work, carried out jointly with the Autonomous Basque Government and the Territorial Council of Alava, has amounted to 5.3 million euros: works were commenced in June and will be completed by the end of 2017.
- Maritime cruise station for new Getxo Cruise Pier and movable embarkation gangway. The works began this year and will be completed for spring 2017 at a cost of 5.6 million euros.
- Filling in of existing cell between the esplanades of Docks AZ2 and AZ3.The works commenced and were completed in the first half of the year at a cost of 1.5 million euros.