Tuesday, December 20, 2016 - 20:27 by bilbao
The Port Authority of Bilbao is pleased to announce that the works on the new cruise terminal are progressing according to plan, which means that the building will be in operation for spring 2017. The station is located at the second cruise vessel pier and is the third Port of Bilbao berth in Getxo, which will be a further boost towards increasing tourist traffic arriving in Biscay by sea.
The successful bidder for the works, the temporary consortium formed by Giroa, S.A.U. - ExcavacionesViuda de Sainz, S.A., is working with a 4.6 million-euro budget. Between April and June, the reinforced concrete structure was built, including the foundation and forging of both the mezzanine dedicated to offices and the first floor for passenger embarkation/disembarkation. Then, from July to October, the metal structure that serves as the support for the zinc-finished roof was completed in order to make the building entirely watertight in expectation of the autumn rains. The placing of the curtain wall around the building marked the half-way point of the works.
As from now, work will continue on those more weather-sensitive items such as air conditioning, electricity, floors and painting.
In parallel, on the quayside, the outside gangway is being constructed for direct passenger embarkation/disembarkation to and from the building. These works are being carried out by Prosertek at a cost of approximately one million euros.
A cutting-edge terminal
In the building’s design, special attention has been given to the data provided by the major cruise operating companies, to international vessel safety and security norms in addition to the references from the best terminals in the world. This, together with the application of high standards of quality and safety, will place this terminal – 15 metres high and with 3,200m² of useable surfaces – at the forefront of those in Europe.
The station has been conceived as a great rectangular glass container that fits in naturally with its surroundings, bearing in mind the differentiation between passenger and luggage flowswith independent lanes and stairways.
The building consists of two main floors with a mezzanine in between. The hall and tourist information desk will be on the lower floor where embarking passenger reception and check-in will take place; there will also be ample space for disembarking passenger luggage collection. The mezzanine will accommodate the VIP lounge and offices. The waiting area, embarking and disembarking passenger control area and disembarking area will be on the first floor.
Moreover, in response to the Getxo Town Council request, the Port Authority has planned to provide the pier with 222 long-stay parking places destined for passengers beginning and ending their voyages in Getxo that can also be used for residents at large on the days when no cruise vessels berth. Furthermore, another 31 places will be created for staff working at the terminal itself, of which 8 will be for people with reduced mobility, 10 for taxis and 40 for coaches.
Cruise Traffic - 2016
There has been an important increase in cruise traffic arriving in Biscay through the Port of Bilbao. From 5 April when the first cruise vessel of the year docked until today with the arrival of the last, 51 vessels have called, which supposes 19% more than in 2015, bringing a total of 85,071 visitors on board, 21% up on the previous year.
A breakdown of passenger nationality shows that the British (58%) lead the way, followed by the Americans (14%).
This season, eight cruise vessels have made first time calls: Highlights include Royal Caribbean’s Cruises Ltd (RCCL) Celebrity Constellation, which remained in port overnight with 2,291 passengers; the three calls made by Navigator of the Seas, also belonging to RCCL, the first of which was in August (on its maiden voyage), carrying on board 3,899 passengers carrying an international mix of passengers, and which coincided with the Bilbao Festival Week; the call of Celebrity Silhouette, RCCL’s luxury cruise vessel with 2,813 mainly American passengers on board; and the arrival on the same day, 4 October, of two sister-ship vessels, Balmoral and Boudicca, belonging to the British company, Fred Olsen.
Likewise, Pullmantur has opted for Bilbao as an embarkation/disembarkation port, with two calls from the Monarch; and it has also been the season when such important companies as P&O, Oceania, and TUI have consolidated their trust in Bilbao. There were also calls by vessels from Hurtigruten, Princess, Compagnie Du Ponant, Silversea, Costa Cruceros, Crystal, Lindblad, Sea Cloud, Noble Caledonia, Holland America and Grand Circle.
Cruise tourism is an activity that produces a source of wealth for the Basque Country, due not only to the monetary flow it generates, but also to the boost it gives to our economy.
Last year, this tourism activity supposed an estimated impact of 7.27 million euros on our GDP, supporting 145 jobs annually and generating a fiscal return of 0.81 million euros.