Portugal Plans New Panamax Terminal
Blue Atlantic of Portugal is aiming to offer one of the most efficient cargo transport routes in out out of Europe with plans for an 800-meter quay able to berth two Panamax vessels in Setubal, 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Lisbon.
The 96-hectare Blue Atlantic Industrial & Logistics Park' position on the Atlantic Ocean is ideal for exporting along global shipping routes combined with direct road and rail connections to mainland Europe, meaning vessels don’t have to enter the Mediterranean, says project leader Fernando Fernandes.
The Port of Setubal is a maritime export hub with several specialized terminals operated by private enterprises including Sadoport, TERSADO, AutoEuropa and Sapec for handling break bulk and general cargo, ro-ro, solid and liquid bulks and containers. The location is home to three of Portugal’s top four exporters and some of the region’s largest international enterprises including Volkswagen Autoeuropa, MEGASA steel company, Navigator Papermill, a GE factory and Sapec chemical and fertilizer industries.
“The Setubal Peninsula is teaming with industrial and manufacturing businesses from cement factories to the globally renowned Lisnave Shipyard,” says Fernandes. A key factor attracting major industry to the region is the skilled local labor force and vocational training institutes. “Setubal has a population of more than 82,000 and its lively economy is powered by activity from the sea, a factor that has led to the formation of a highly skilled industrial workforce,” he said.
Setubal is also well connected to Portugal’s National Highway Network which is ranked as one of the best in the world for quality by the World Economic Forum. The Blue Atlantic site has capacity to build a private railway line operating trains up to 880 meters in length linking to the National Railway System and a new railway connection reducing transport time to Spain by around three hours. Setubal is just 600 kilometers away from Madrid, and these new and improved transport links create superb trade opportunities in the hinterland, says Fernandes.
The port is sheltered with calm waters and a temperate climate with 300 days of sunshine a year. The port never closes ensuring maximum operational efficiency and its sandy and stable river bed is easy to modulate making maintenance cheaper than neighboring harbors.
Portugal has one of the longest maritime coasts in Europe at 942 kilometers (585 miles). Its Exclusive Economic Zone is the third largest in the European Union and 11th largest in the world. However, new proposals seek to expand this economic zone from the current 200 miles of territorial sea to cover 350 miles, which will make it the 10th largest in the world.
“The sea is regarded as a ‘national plan for the future’ and the country has a firm strategy to promote maritime transport, naval construction, fishing and fish processing, among other activities,” said Fernandes. “There has never been a better time to invest in Portugal and its key port locations such as Setubal which benefit from strong trade relationships with Spain, France, Italy, United Kingdom and Germany. We are also witnessing a surge in business activity with the CPLP countries (Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries) – which form a market of 250 million consumers. Any business looking to place their operation at Blue Atlantic could capitalize on long established trade connections with the likes of Angola and Brazil opening up gateways to broader markets across Africa and South America.”