Bilbao Awards Tender For New Cruise Terminal

The Port of Bilbao has awarded the tender for the building works of its planned cruise terminal to a special purpose consortium formed by Giroa, SAU – Excavaciones Viuda de Sainz SA. The terminal will be completed within 11 months at a cost of E4.6m.

At the same time, Prosertek SL has been awarded the contract for planning and carrying out works for construction of the moving gangway for passenger embarkation at the terminal at a cost of about E1m. Completion is expected in 10 months.

The new cruise terminal will be 15m high and 3,200m2. It has been conceived as a great rectangular glass building protected by a light zinc roof with six skylights. It will have a slanting aspect to make it more dynamic in appearance.
The building will consist 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. Ample space will be available for disembarking passenger luggage collection. The mezzanine will accommodate the VIP lounge and offices, whilst the first floor will comprise the waiting area for embarking passengers, as well as the disembarking passenger control area.

To cater for the embarking and disembarking needs of passengers commencing or finishing their cruise at the Port of Bilbao – where baggage management is fundamental – the building has been conceived with separated passenger and luggage flows in mind. Likewise, for operational reasons, embarkation and disembarkation areas will be differentiated with independent lanes, and will have different stairways for passengers entering and departing to facilitate passenger movements.

The design has been carried out after exhaustive study and analysis of the functional demands of this type of building. Special attention has been given to the data provided by the major cruise lines in relation to international vessel safety and security norms, together with references from the best terminals in the world. Functionality, durability, easy maintenance and safety have been key in the choice of materials.

Another important feature of the terminal is that it opens towards the vessels. Passengers will access the terminal and/or the vessel directly, comfortably and safely, without having to walk along the pier, thanks to a finger or gangway similar to those used at airports.

In 2015, 43 cruise vessels carrying 70,541 tourists called at Bilbao, nine of which visited the port for the first time. Half of the cruise passengers were British, 17% German, and 13% were American. One of the highlights was Royal Caribbean International’s 4,200 passenger Anthem of the Seas which visited on its maiden voyage.

Forecasts for 2016 will be made known at the Seatrade Cruise Global at Fort Lauderdale in March, although there are already indications that there will be an increase in traffic to around 55 vessels. This is thanks to the new cruise pier which enables the Port of Bilbao to offer three berths, thus offering facilities to all cruise lines without restriction.

(Cruise Europe)