Bilbao Port launch its second maritime station, at the forefront of Europe, on April 2017

The works of the second maritime station for cruises of the Port of Bilbao have reached its equator. Once the curtain wall that closes the perimeter of the building is been completed, the works will focus on the interior.

The project, which will boost the tourism that reaches Biscay by sea, has begun in a season in which 51 cruises have docked, 19% more than in 2015.

The works of the new maritime station for cruises carried out by the Port Authority of Bilbao, APB, are running according to the approved planning, so that the building, the first image that the tourists will have when they arrive to Biscay with an privileged environment, will be operational during the spring of 2017 to receive the first cruise that anchor in the waters of Getxo next season.

The purpose, as reported by Deia, is that the building will have activity beyond the days in which the luxury cruisers will be docked for whose passengers this beautiful block of glass and steel is being built.

The president of the Port Authority, Asier Atutxa, stated that “beyond the 50 or 55 days that we receive cruises, this building must have more route”. He nodded at his side, the mayor of Getxo, since Landa is working with the APB on this goal. The mayor indicated that “this is a great opportunity for the municipality and the Port of Bilbao is open to its use to maximize its use”.

In line with this statement, the idea is to offer the interior space for holding private or public events in a rental system whose prices are yet to be determined.

Regarding the revenues to be received, Luis Gabiola Mendieta, Director of Operations, Commercial and Logistics of the APB, indicates that “the economic revenues that may be had are not going to be significant for the Port but it will allow a very interesting rotation of uses”.

Although it remains to be determined which areas can be used, as there will be some areas of customs and control that will be inaccessible, but the two existing large areas on the ground and above floor and their connection by escalators and lifts offer an attractive scenario for many activities. There will be no problems for the parking of vehicles. Around the building, in the large esplanade created with the construction of the pier, will be enabled in two separate areas more than 300 parking spaces, forty of them for buses.

A large container

The visit to present to the media the terminal allowed to observe how the building is completed and the workers were busy in completing the air conditioning, electrical and painting installations. A few days ago, the zinc roof was completed and the curtain wall of glass is already finished all around the perimeter, reaching the equator of the works.

Carlos Alzaga, director of the APB, was the one who guided through the large glass container. Two flows of users that at no time are mixed as if it were an air terminal, since its use is almost identical.

The station is located in the second dock of cruises and third berth that the Port of Bilbao has in Getxo, and will imply a new impulse to increase the traffic of tourists who arrive to Biscay by sea.

The winning company, the U.T.E. formed by Giroa and Viuda de Sainz, began in March the works that have a budget of 4.60 million euros. Between April and June, the reinforced concrete part of the building was built, including the foundations and slabs, both of the mezzanine for offices and the first floor for passenger loading / unloading.

Then, during the summer and until the end of October, the assembly of the metallic structure that serves as support for the cover with zinc has been carried out, in order to have the building completely watertight against the autumn rains. With the placement of the curtain wall that completely closes the perimeter of the building, it has been reached the equator of the works.

From now on, we will continue with those works that are more sensitive to meteorology, such as air conditioning, electricity, floors and paintings.

At the same time, on the side of the dock of the pier is being carried out the exterior walkway works from which passengers will embark / disembark directly from the building through the gangway. These works are being carried out by the company Prosertek for an amount of approximately one million euros.

At the forefront of the terminals

In the design of the building, special attention has been paid to the data provided by the large shipping companies, international safety standards and the characteristics of the best terminals in the world. This, together with the high standards of quality and maritime safety applied, will make this station – which will have fifteen meters of height and 3,200 useful square meters- to be placed at the forefront of the European ones.

The station is conceived as a large glass container that integrates naturally in the environment, in which the flow of passengers and luggage is differentiated, and the embarkation and disembarkation areas with independent routes and stairs.

The building has two main floors and an intermediate mezzanine. On the ground floor, it will be the lobby and the tourist information desk, and it will be carried out the reception and billing of luggage of the passengers that embark, and also will have ample space for the collection of luggage from which they disembark. In the mezzanine the VIP area and the offices; and on the first floor it will be enabled the waiting area, passenger boarding area, and landing zone.

Likewise, and in response to the demand of the City Council of Getxo, the Port Authority has planned to provide the dock with 222 parking spaces for long stay, ie passengers traveling on cruises with departure from Getxo, which can be used by citizens on days when cruises do not dock. A further 31 parking spaces will be created for the staff connected to the operation of the terminal, 8 for people with reduced mobility, 10 for taxis and 40 for buses.

2016 Balance season

In 2016 there has been a significant increase in the traffic of cruise ships arriving to Biscay through the Port of Bilbao. Between April 5th, the day of the first cruise of the year, and today, the date of the last cruise, 51 cruise ships have docked, which is 19% more than in 2015. On board of them 85. 071 tourists have visited us, 21% more than the previous year.

By nationalities, the British predominate (58%), followed by American cruisers (14%). This season, eight cruises have docked for the first time.

It highlights the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) Constellation stopovers, which overnight in port with 2,291 passengers; The three scales of Navigator of the Seas, also RCCL, the first of them on August (inaugural scale) coinciding with the festivities of Bilbao and with 3,899 passengers aboard from a varied number of nationalities; The scale of Celebrity Silhouette, considered a luxury one within RCCL, with 2,813 passengers, mostly Americans; And the arrival of two cruises of the same British company, Fred Olsen, on the same date, October 4th.

For its part, Pullmantur has opted for Bilbao as the port of embarkation and disembarkation, with two stopovers of the Monarch ship; and it has been an important season for companies such as P & O, Oceania, and TUI.

Cruises of the following companies have also docked in Getxo: Hurtigruten, Princess, Du Ponant, SilverSea, Coast Cruises Carnival, Crystal, Lindblad, Sea Cloud, Noble Caledonia, Holland and Grand Circle.

The cruise tourism is an activity that is a source of wealth for the Basque Country, both for the money flow it generates itself, and for the role it plays on our economy.

This tourism last year had an estimated impact of 7.27 million euros in our GDP, maintaining 145 jobs a year and generating a fiscal return of 0.81 million euros.