Deal aims to develop both green and digital shipping corridors

The Ports of Bilbao and Portsmouth have agreed a deal to boost freight and passenger transport between the two sides.

Ian Palacio and Andima Ormaetxe

Ian Palacio and Andima Ormaetxe

The Port Authority of Bilbao and Portsmouth International Port signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) earlier this month, in which both parties declared their willingness to collaborate and work together to contribute to the growth of freight and passenger transport between the ports.

The arrangement sees the ports exchange information and take actions jointly to provide “sustainable, efficient and speedy multimodal port operations”.

The tieup will also extend inter-port cooperation in terms of technology and infrastructure, in particular with regard to onshore power supply to the vessels operating out of both ports.

Bilbao is already working on the BilbOPS project, an initiative to electrify its docks with recurrent traffic to supply vessels with renewable electricity from the onshore grid during their stay in port. The project involves an investment of €78m, of which €14.2m will be co-funded the European Commission under the CEF Transport 2021-2027 grants programme, and is scheduled to be operational in 2026.

Portsmouth International Port’s Sea Change project, meanwhile, will design, build and operate an onshore power system at its three busiest docks.

Green and digital shipping

The MoU also provides for further collaboration on the development of green and digital shipping corridors between the two ports to help shift traffic from road haulage to sustainable shipping routes. The two sides will share information and promote the use of advanced systems and automation infrastructures for the handling of passengers and goods in their ferry and cruise terminals.

The ports explained that in this regard, the Port Authority of Bilbao has already developed and deployed its e-puertobilbao digital platform to enable greater efficiency, security and traceability in the management of goods and vessels, while Portsmouth has taken the first steps towards the creation of an electronic terminal and plans to develop it further through the increased use of smart port technology and innovation from 2026 onwards.

The agreement was ratified by Ian Palacio, business development manager at Portsmouth International Port, and Andima Ormaetxe, director of operations, commerce, logistics and strategy at the Port Authority of Bilbao.