The Port Authority of Valencia has announced a major investment plan to expand the port facilities. Three harbours come under the umbrella of the Spanish port; Valencia itself, Sagunto a few miles to the north and Gandia a few miles to the south.

The initial investment at the port of Valencia will be primarily for dredging works

The initial investment at the port of Valencia will be primarily for dredging works

The planned investment has been designed to improve the facilities at all three of these ports but with Valencia itself having the major part of the new investment.

The new investment will come in stages with €56 million invested this year and then a further €177 million invested between 2018 and 2020. For this year the investment will be focussed on Valencia with the money allocated to the generation and refurbishment of berths in the existing port. Gandia will benefit to the tune of €13 million over the three years and Sagunto will have €44 million invested.

The initial investment at the port of Valencia will be primarily for dredging works which will allow the port to accept ships with a draft of up to 18 metres at the existing berths. This work will allow the port to accept the largest container ships and specifically, it is planned to invest €18.5 million for the dredging of the Principe Felipe and Levante container docks and the improvement of the drainage of the of several of the wharves. These two docks are the main container terminal in the main harbour. The volume of material that will be dredged is estimated at 1.5 million cubic metres.

By increasing the available draft for ships using the port, Valencia will become the first port in Spain to be able to accept the new generation of very large container ships and combined with the location of the port close to the main Mediterranean shipping routes this development is planned to establish Valencia’s role as a primary container port both for trans-shipment and for delivery in Spain port.

An extension to the port to the north was built a few years ago that nearly doubled the additional space in the harbour and currently this remain mainly just the enclosing breakwaters. The new investment at the port will see this part of this new area being developed with the two significant developments being additional cruise ship berths and an extension of a container terminal.

Cruise shipping is an important part of the traffic at Valencia and there are plans to add to the number of cruise ship berths that will be able to accommodate the largest cruise ships currently operating. The new cruise ship terminals will be allow ships of over 400 metres in length to dock with two berths of this size incorporated into the new terminal which will be located to the east of the existing cruise terminal. New buildings to facilitate the handling of passengers will also be added. Ferry links to North Africa and the Balearics are an active part of the port’s traffic and a new ferry terminal is scheduled to come on stream in the near future.

The new container terminal extension that is being developed has already had its containment walls built as part of the earlier investment. The terminal extension will be developed by in-filling in the area between existing breakwaters and one of the current container terminals. This development will depend on demand for new facilities but included in the plans for expansion are investment in new approach roads for both the cruise terminal and the container terminal and improvements to the rail access. It is also planned to invest in improvements the rail connections to the existing container terminals. These two aspects are critical to expand the handling of more passengers and containers although with containers much of the cargo is moved on through trans-shipment rather than by land links.

Regarding the improvement of accesses, the Business Plan 2017 includes 1.7 million euros of investment for work on accessibility to the port and this will include works such as the development of the south road extension and new access to the cruise ship pier and depot.

Including in the development plans will be €3.7 million for the paving of the old bulk materials terminal which will be carried out this year. According to the Plan of Enterprise, in addition to this initial investment, the port authorities will dedicate €9 million more to complete some of these works that will be developed gradually.

In the Port of Sagunto the planned development will focus of detail improvements. This port has developed into one of the largest Spanish ports to handle the import of automobiles and facilities for this will be expanded. The port is also a major site for the import of LNG with dedicated facilities for this. Extensive dredging is planned in the port and its approaches to allow the port is able to handle the largest LNG ships and facilities are now being developed to allow for the export of LNG cargoes in smaller ships so that Sagunto can become a major LNG trans-shipment port serving the Western Mediterranean. This factor is being incorporated into the expansion plans which will focus on expanding facilities for short sea shipping. A new marina is also being developed as part of the future plans which will be located to the north of the port with a separate access from the main port.

Finally at Gandia, the main part of the development work will be the creation of a large marina on the northern side of the port which is planned to meet demand for the next 15 years. The construction of this marina which will double the size of the port and this new construction will serve to protect the commercial southern part of the port where a new commercial wharf designed to handle general cargoes is being developed.

By Dag Pike