New growth possibilities opened up by Cosco Shipping Ports Limited, second worldwide terminal operator, acquiring stake in Noatum Ports, the Bilbao container terminal operator
Today, seventeen Chinese reporters from eight important news media outlets have visited the Port of Bilbao. They were received by the Port Authority Chairman, Ricardo Barkala and the Director of Operations, Marketing and Logistics, Luis Gabiola, who explained to them the Port’s characteristics and competitive advantages, which make it the port best located to become the meeting point between China and the European Atlantic.
The interest of the Chinese media stems from the end of 2017 when Cosco Shipping Ports Limited, second worldwide terminal operator, acquired a stake in Noatum Ports, the company operating the Port of Bilbao Container Terminal under the name of Noatum Container Terminal Bilbao. This is why Sun Kai, CEO of Noatum Ports; Qin Long, Deputy CEO of Noatum Ports; and Elvira Gallego, General Manager at the Bilbao terminal also took part.
The media outlets represented at this visit were the Xinhua News Agency; CCTV, China Central Television; CGTN, China Global Television Network; China National Radio; China Radio International; China Daily; China News Service; and China Transportation Newspaper.
The Port of Bilbao and China
At present, China is among the Port of Bilbao’s twelve main markets, and only second to the United Kingdom in container traffic. Imports make up 71% of this traffic and 29% of all classes of goods is exported. Shanghai, Ningbo and Tianjinxingang are Bilbao’s main trading ports.
Bilbao is situated at the entry to the North Atlantic European route, and the Port representatives have informed the Chinese media of its excellent geographical location for linking Asia with Europe, both for its land hinterland and the European Atlantic countries. They also stressed the fact that Bilbao is the
outstanding leader on the Bay of Biscay, the first Spanish port with the European Atlantic and the first with the United Kingdom. In addition, it is a port that is constantly developing, in which over 3,500 million euros have been invested thanks to public-private cooperation, and which has the surfaces to take on new projects.
The Port Authority Chairman, Ricardo Barkala, stated that “Bilbao is a multi-purpose port with terminals for all classes of goods and it has the capacity – in terms of space, services, experience and flexibility – to develop new traffic. All this makes us an attractive port for those shipping companies seeking alternatives to avoid the congestion that periodically comes about at other European ports”.
For Barkala, “Cosco Shipping Ports Limited holding a stake in Noatum Container Terminal, first of all underlines the value of the characteristics of this terminal and its investment programme to make it more competitive. In addition, it brings about a boost in the traffic generated by the hinterland itself, and thus maximises resources. Cosco can begin by positioning their short-sea vessels (up to 3000-4000 TEUs) in the Atlantic, and once volume has been acquired, they can later position their deep-sea vessels of 12,000 TEUs or more”. Due to this, he considers that “new business opportunities in both short and long distance traffic” are opening up to the Port of Bilbao.