The Bilbao Port Authority, a state-owned organization, is responsible for developing, managing, operating, and marketing port facilities.
The Port of Bilbao covers 350 hectares of land and almost 2 hectares of water surface. In contains 17 kilometers of docks, 252 hectares of open storage, 30 thousand square meters of covered storage, and 25.3 thousand square meters of cold storage. The Port of Bilbao has five roll-on/roll-off ramps and terminals for containers, solid and liquid bulks, forest products, vehicles, general cargoes, and passengers. It has direct connections to national and European highway networks.
The Port of Bilbao is one of the most important trade centers for Europe’s Atlantic coast. With a history of 700 years of trade and commerce, it has commercial services for all types of markets. Its docks offer alongside depth of up to 32 meters, and it has modern facilities and extensive connections to rail and road networks. It is a gateway to Europe’s consumer markets.
Dock A1 occupies a sheltered harbor of over five square kilometers. It contains an 850-meter long dock with alongside depth of 21 meters and surface area of 425 thousand square meters. Abra Terminales Maritimas operates a container terminal at Dock A1.
Dock A2 covers 267.5 thousand square meters and contains 750-meters of berthing space with alongside depth of 20 meters. It includes a container terminal managed by Terminales Maritimas de Bilbao.
Dock A3 accommodates roll-on/roll-off traffic. Covering 270 thousand square meters, it contains 910 meters of berthing space with alongside depth of 20 meters. Dock AZ1 is home to a sodium sulphate plant. Covering 200 thousand square meters, the dock is 800 meters long with alongside depth of 21 meters.
The Port of Bilbao’s Punta Sollana Dock is the industrial port. Covering 250 thousand square meters, it contains berthing space of 387 meters. The dock area includes many industrial facilities including a granulated slag mill, a blast furnace, and plants for refining oil, grinding seeds, and processing coke. Plants for manufacturing bio-diesel and bio-ethanol are being constructed at this dock.
In 2006, the Port of Bilbao reached a record 40-million tons in cargo, including over 554 thousand TEUs in containerized cargo, passing through the port. Cargo was dominated by containers, general cargo, and liquid bulk. Iron and steel made up much of the general cargo, with almost four million tons. Solid bulk cargoes included coal, coke, powder, soy beans, and scrap. Liquid bulk included crude oil, fuel oil, and gas.
In 2007, almost three thousand vessels carried 38.9 million tons of cargo and 450 thousand passengers through the Port of Bilbao. This included 18.7 million tons of liquid bulk, 15.6 million tons of petroleum products, and more than 450 thousand TEUs of containerized cargo.