The Board of Directors of the Port Authority of Bilbao has unanimously approved the call for a public tender for the award of a concession for the construction and operation of a maritime container terminal on the Central Quay of the port of Bilbao.
The Central Quay is the last large area of the port of Bilbao for which a concession can be awarded. In this respect, works are being taken forward in two phases. The first, already completed, has given rise to an operational surface area of more than 30 hectares, with 232,530 m² currently available, after part of it was awarded by concession to a conventional goods operator. The construction of the second phase will begin in 2023 and will also have an operational surface area in excess of 30 hectares. In this sense, and in terms of the port’s interests, the decision to be taken regarding how best to use this new infrastructure is of great importance and significance for the port of Bilbao.
A strategic and business opportunity
Improving the connectivity and intermodality of the port of Bilbao and attracting new traffic and shipping lines are strategic objectives of the Port Authority of Bilbao. The existence of regular maritime routes which can be used for import and export by production and manufacturing companies and, in general, by business in the catchment area of the port of Bilbao, reduces costs, pollutant emissions and logistical lead times, and contributes to greater competitiveness. The port, therefore, is a key player in terms of improving the quality, efficiency, innovation and sustainability of its surrounding area.
The decision to designate the last large port area reclaimed from the sea in the sheltered dock of the Outer Abra to container traffic is aligned to these objectives. The decision taken is the result of various consultation processes that point to an opportunity for growth in containerised cargo traffic in the port of Bilbao, which has been endorsed by the express interest shown by several international operators who have confirmed that the port of Bilbao is in a favourable position to be a real alternative to address the problem of congestion in the ports of Northern Europe, together with the possibility of attracting direct transoceanic regular lines and transit traffic.
In this context, the commissioning of a container terminal will have a significant impact on business activity, employment and the economy, and will benefit the logistics activity of the port and the competitiveness of its hinterland and catchment area. The new container terminal is planned to be open for general use (public terminal). Factors to be taken into account in awarding the concession include the growth in traffic expected throughout the life of the concession and others targeting competitive operation, optimum use of the public domain under concession and coherence between the operating proposal and the business project submitted.
Public tender process
To optimise the use of the port public domain and ensure an appropriate and proper participation of operators under objective conditions of equality, the Port Authority of Bilbao has published the launch of the public tender in the Official State Gazette. Proposals may be submitted within a maximum period of three months from the aforementioned publication.
Interested parties may opt for part or all of the areas made available in both phases of the Central Quay. On the one hand, they may opt for partial or total occupation of the spaces available in Phase 1 of the Central Quay, or, alternatively, opt for partial or total occupation of both Phase 1 and Phase 2, subject in all cases to the rules established for this purpose in the tender specifications.
The concession will be awarded for a maximum of 40 years. The minimum annual traffic permitted is set at 1 TEU/m² of concession plot, so the proposal must meet or exceed this figure.
The tender criteria are based on three main aspects, which will be assessed according to the contents of the technical and economic proposals submitted by the bidders: revenue for the Port Authority of Bilbao, traffic generated and programmed investments. The final decision on the tender will be taken on the basis of the proposal that obtains the highest score against the tender criteria, provided that it achieves a minimum score of 25 points in relation to the evaluation criteria of the technical proposal and 50 points in the total score.