MSC Partners with Valencia to Expand Med’s Busiest Container Port

Valencia port container expansion
MSC plans to expand its container operations in Valencia, Spain as part of the port's growth strategy (Valenciaport)

Published Dec 5, 2022 6:42 PM by The Maritime Executive

Already the busiest container port in the Mediterranean and Spain’s leading Mediterranean port in terms of commercial traffic, Valencia is moving forward on a project valued at more than $1.5 billion to expand its container port operations. Terminal Investment Limited (TIL), MSC Group’s container terminal operator, will partner with the port for the construction of a fourth container terminal with the capacity to hold 5 million TEU. It will support the port’s role as a regional transshipment hub.

The port already holds a strategic position as the first and last port of call for regular shipping lines operating in the Western Mediterranean. Serviced by over 100 shipping lines, Valenciaport is the maritime gateway for production and consumer goods to and from the entire Iberian Peninsula. In the first 10 months of the year, more than 4.3 million TEUs passed through Valenciaport’s terminals, however, traffic was down by 7.7 percent. Port officials cited economic and geopolitical uncertainty. 

The new terminal, which will be operated by TIL, will be located in the northern extension of the Port of Valencia which was completed in 2012. The new terminal will have a surface area of more than 330 acres and nearly 6,500 feet of berths. The terminal will have a state-of-the-art design, technology, and equipment, with a fully electrified facility, allowing it to serve the large container ships in service. Among the elements will be a railway station with six tracks each over 3,200 feet and a capacity to move 305,000 TEUs per year.

TIL has agreed to invest approximately $1 billion to build the terminal and then they will operate it. In addition, the port will invest nearly $600 million for infrastructure improvements. The port has already begun to prepare the tender document for these projects.  

MSC’s terminal operator has been running facilities in Valencia since 2006 and currently averages around 1.6 million TEU annually. They currently have over 2,500 feet of berth with a total capacity of 2 million TEU annually and the capability to handle vessels up to 20,000 TEU. They currently operate with 20 ship-to-shore cranes and 28 yard cranes. The expansion project is expected to be developed in three phases and to be equipped with 22 ship-to-shore cranes, 50 automated stacking cranes, and 160 automated guided vehicles. It will be fully electric drawing its power from renewable sources.

The new terminal is part of an overall strategy that calls for the expansion of the port and the adoption of new technologies. The port did not specify a date for the opening of the new terminal but said when it is completed it would add 5,000 jobs to the port and support the creation of 5,000 jobs in the area around the port.