The Port Authority of Bilbao Strategy Plan 2023-2026 maps out the way for Bilbao to become a green, competitive and responsible port. On the basis of these three premises, the organisation responsible for managing the port of Bilbao sets out three value propositions: to drive and accompany the port’s customers in their efforts to address the consequences of the energy transition; to sustain the competitiveness of the industry of the region by adapting infrastructure and services to their needs and requirements; and to step up its efforts to contribute to the social and economic environment, thereby ensuring the value of the port to society at large.
At the official presentation of the plan to a large representation of the port community, the President of the Port Authority, Ricardo Barkala, pointed out that the strategy defined follows from the mission of improving the competitiveness of the port’s customers by contributing to the sustainable socio-economic development of the port’s catchment area. In turn, this mission is aligned to the organisation’s vision of being a port of reference in logistics chains with the Atlantic axis, contributing to the improvement of the competitiveness of the economic and business fabric by providing value-added and sustainable services. This will be done in accordance with a series of values: customer focus; a collaborative culture; commitment to people; excellence, ethics and professionalism; and social, economic and environmental sustainability.
The Strategy Plan defines five key areas of activity for the next four years, three of which are external and two internal, with related targets for 2026:
- To become an environmental benchmark: to promote the port’s energy transition, with environmental sustainability as a critical factor for competitiveness. In this sense, the following decarbonisation targets have been set: 40% reduction in CO₂ emissions, the electrification (OPS) of 30% of the docks, and the installation of 30 MW for self-generation.
- To have a smart specialisation providing added value: to make the port of Bilbao the benchmark for Atlantic traffic, while capturing new growth opportunities and maximising value creation for the region. The objective will be to double ro-ro traffic, increase containerised traffic by 30% and increase bulk traffic by two million tonnes.
- To provide differential services and infrastructures: consolidating and improving the portfolio of high added-value services, focused on generating value for the port’s customers (digitalisation and infrastructure). To this end, work is being done on a predictive one-stop shop and on completing strategic works (Central Breakwater and AZ1).
- To attract people, knowledge and talent: developing the future capabilities of the Port Authority of Bilbao, ensuring knowledge transfer and attracting new talent.
- To ensure economic and financial sustainability: to ensure the economic and financial balance of the organisation is maintained, with controlled indebtedness and an investment, by the Port Authority of Bilbao alone, of around EUR 200 million over the period 2023-2026.
Trend Analysis, Interviews and Strategic Framework
To draw up the Strategy Plan, an exhaustive analysis has been conducted not only of the future trends likely to impact the business scenario by 2030, but also for a vision for 2050, and the implications those trends will have on the port itself. The study identified seven external macro-trends: sustainability and energy transition, digitalisation, integration of logistics chains, new maritime routes, state regulations, socio-economic changes and ESG (an increase in the importance of environmental, social and governance aspects in the decision-making process of Port Authorities).
Four strategic internal challenges were also identified: the organisational model, way of working and capabilities; innovation and digitalisation; corporate communication; and the economic and financial situation.
At the same time, the strategic reflection process was based on a participative approach. In addition to all the areas and departments of the Port Authority of Bilbao itself, more than 70 representatives from the port community and different stakeholders, such as shipping agents, operators, carriers, shipping companies, freight forwarders, industrialists, shippers, technical-nautical services and related public institutions, have been consulted. The Strategy Plan is also aligned with the Strategic Framework drawn up by the Spanish State Ports Authority, approved in December last year.