Port of Bilbao takes over in-port rail operations from Adif

Image:Bilbao Port.

Despite a year with slightly decreased rail traffic, the port of Bilbao in northeast Spain has something to boast about. That is, all rail traffic in the port will, from now on, be managed by the port authority, while the same will apply soon to the rail container terminal to “boost the port’s intermodality”.

In 2022, the port of Bilbao saw a 2,6 per cent reduced rail traffic within its facilities. Still, it welcomed 4,243 trains, with 27 per cent of container traffic carried out on rails. In general, Bilbao is a rail port serving multiple weekly destinations in Spain, including Barcelona, Madrid, Zaragoza, Seville, Valencia and Navarre. Additionally, the port authority has established a rail freight operator – SIBPort, that undertakes rail freight transport to and from the port.

COSCO also owns a terminal in the port of Bilbao. As a shareholder in other Spanish terminals, COSCO has launched a rail network in Spain, including Bilbao. This network serves mostly the north-south corridor linking the port of Valencia to the port of Bilbao via the Plaza logistics platform in Zaragoza.

Bilbao Port aerial view. Image: © Bilbao port.

No more Adif involved in rail operations

The most important rail-related development in the port of Bilbao is related to Adif’s withdrawal from managing the port’s rail traffic. “The port authority will now undertake manoeuvers and shunting tasks that Adif used to perform”, commented the port. At the same time, Bilbao port mentioned that it expects another agreement with Adif to ratify the management transfer of the port’s railway terminal from the latter to the first. “In this way, we’ll make further progress in integrating the terminal into the port infrastructure and further develop the port’s intermodality”, commented the port’s authority”.

Simultaneously, apart from the port’s internal rail operations, the port authority is involved in external investments too. Specifically, in late December 2022, the port authority of Bilbao and Adif awarded the construction of a 750-metre-long siding at the Orduña railway station, slightly further from Bilbao. This location is crucial for freight trains transiting to and from Bilbao with a direction towards Madrid. For this investment, which totals 10,87 million euros, Bilbao’s port authority will contribute 3 million euros.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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