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Fuel a more sustainable future

QATAR Airways Formula 1Qatar Airways drew major attention on the opening day of ITB Berlin 2023, the world’s largest international travel and tourism trade show, as the World’s Best Airline’s Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, unveiled new destinations, and announced flight resumptions and frequency increases during a press conference held on the first day of the exhibition.

Highlighting the success of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, Qatar Airways revealed its new sports sponsorship portfolio as well as a multitude of other projects and partnerships lined up for the year 2023, continuing on the path of bringing people together all while boosting the tourism industry in the State of Qatar. The press conference was also attended by His Excellency, Sheikh Abdulla Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani, Ambassador for the State of Qatar to Germany.

At the press conference, H.E. Mr. Al Baker announced over seven new destinations planned for launch in 2023, including Chittagong, Juba, Kinshasa, Lyon, Medan, Toulouse, and Trabzon. Qatar Airways is also resuming flights to 11 destinations: Beijing, Birmingham, Buenos Aires, Casablanca, Davao, Marrakesh, Nice, Osaka, Phnom Penh, Ras Al-Khaimah, and Tokyo Haneda. Multiple destinations also saw frequency increases scheduled for the year 2023.*

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Airways is dedicated to enrich the global community which it serves. As the World’s Best Airline, we are excited to offer more ways of bringing the world together, increasing connectivity and bridging gaps within the travel industry. As we expand our fleet, network, partnerships and international presence we look forward to working together to deliver sustainable growth and a compelling future for the industry.

“We continue to look forward to our bright future here in Qatar, with multiple projects lined up for 2023 and beyond, such as the Formula 1 partnership and much more. Qatar will continue to be a global hub of connectivity and an ideal destination for tourism, long after the great success of the historic FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.”

The world-leading travel trade show, ITB Berlin, which is a central communication and marketing annual event, showcases a range of travel exhibitors from over 180 countries and five continents, providing over 160,000 visitors with information on new products, services and facilities in the tourism industry.

Qatar Airways welcomes all guests to ITB Berlin to visit its exhibition pavilion Hall 2.2, stand 208, 208A from 7-9 March 2023. During the three-day show, the Qatar Airways booth offers a thrilling Formula 1® sports car simulator experience, showcasing the airline’s most recent sponsorship announcement. FC Bayern Munich legend Claudio Pizarro is also making a special appearance at the stand.

Representing Qatar Airways’ innovative technological adoptions, the booth is also equipped with Qatar Airways’ virtual reality experiences, ‘QVerse’, and a tour of the newly expanded Hamad International Airport terminal, The ORCHARD.

*The following destinations are slated to receive an increase in flight frequency: Abuja – Port Harcourt – increased from two weekly flights to three; Abuja – Kano – increased from three weekly flights to four; Athens – increased from seven weekly flights to 14; Belgrade – increased from five weekly flights to seven; Berlin – increased from 11 weekly flights to 14; Bucharest – increased from 10 weekly flights to 14; Cairo – increased from 21 weekly flights to 28; Copenhagen – increased from four weekly flights to seven, and 10 from winter season 2023/24; Finnair also operates 7 weekly flights, totalling 17 weekly in Copenhagen; Denpasar – increased from 14 weekly flights to 21; Dublin – increased from 12 weekly flights to 14; Düsseldorf – increased from seven weekly flights to 11 for winter season 2023/24; Edinburgh– increased from 10 weekly flights to 14; Hanoi – increased from 10 weekly flights to 12; Hong Kong – increased from 11 weekly flights to 14; Khartoum – increased from seven weekly flights to 14; Larnaca – increased from seven weekly flights to 14; London Gatwick – increased from seven weekly flights to 10 (14 weekly flights for peak summer season); London Heathrow – increased from 42 weekly flights to 45; Madrid – increased from 16 weekly flights to 18; Manila – increased from 17 weekly flights to 18; Milan – increased from 16 weekly flights to 21; Mogadishu – increased from three weekly flights to four; Nagpur – increased from four weekly flights to seven; Oslo – increased from seven weekly flights to 12 for winter season 2023/24; Phuket – increased from 14 weekly flights to 21 for winter season 2023/24; Saigon – increased from 10 weekly flights to 12; Sarajevo – increased from three weekly flights to four for summer season 2023; Sofia – increased from three weekly flights to four weekly flights in summer and five weekly flights in winter season 2023/24; Stockholm – increased from three weekly flights to five for winter season 2023/24; Finnair also operates 7 weekly flights, totalling 12 weekly in Stockholm; Taif – increased from three weekly flights to seven; Vienna – increased from 10 weekly flights to 14; Warsaw – increased from seven weekly flights to 14 from winter season 2023/24; Yerevan – increased from seven weekly flights to 10; Zagreb – increased from four weekly flights to seven; Zurich – increased from 10 weekly flights to 14

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was announced as the ‘Airline of the Year’ at the 2022 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organization, Skytrax. It was also named ‘World’s Best Business Class’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Airline Seat’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Onboard Catering’ and ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’. The airline continues to stand alone at the top of the industry having won the main prize for an unprecedented seventh time (2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2022).

Qatar Airways currently flies to more than 150 destinations worldwide, connecting through its Doha hub, Hamad International Airport, voted by Skytrax as the ‘World’s Best Airport’ 2022.

BIFA welcomes investigation The British International Freight Association (BIFA) is supporting this week’s National Careers Week 2023 with events aimed at demonstrating its commitment to promoting careers in logistics.

National Careers Week 2023, which runs from 6 to 11 March, is a celebration of careers guidance and free resources in education across the UK.

The aim is to provide a focus for careers guidance activity at an important stage in the academic calendar to help support young people leaving education.

With youth unemployment remaining high and BIFA members concerned about the shortage of certain industry skills, there has never been a bigger need for careers guidance to be promoted.
Later this week BIFA will be involved in two events.

On Thursday 9th March – BIFA executive director, Carl Hobbis, who is responsible for all elements of BIFA’s Freight and Customs training, will be presenting at the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with Seetec, talking about BIFA’s experiences in employing its first apprentice and encouraging others to follow suit.

Friday 10th March will see him hosting an online members event, aimed at SMEs that may be thinking about hiring apprentices, but need some help navigating the apprenticeship landscape. During the event, BIFA will showcase its own recent experience in hiring an apprentice, with both the apprentice and her hiring manager providing members with their perspective on the process.

Hobbis says: “Industry promotion is one of BIFA’s key roles and part of that is encouraging logistics as a career path and attracting new talent to the freight forwarding and logistics industry.

“National Careers Week 2023 is the perfect platform to advise and inspire the next generation as they enter the world of work.

“Recently, we have joined up with the Manpower Group to launch the Freight Development Pathway to offer career guidance to individuals looking to switch from other sectors. It complements BIFA’s schools programme; as well as the specific apprenticeship standard for International Freight Forwarding, that BIFA was instrumental in establishing.”

Etihad Cargo online booking portal Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Airways, has further expanded its online booking portal capabilities as part of the carrier's ongoing digitalisation strategy.

In the latest development of the carrier's online booking portal, Etihad Cargo has introduced online pet shipment bookings for dogs and cats, online dangerous goods bookings and a custom feed within the customer dashboard.

Traditionally, booking pet shipments has required customers to send multiple documents via email. Following the launch of the online pet shipment booking feature, Etihad Cargo's customers can book the shipment of dogs and cats via the online booking portal, making the booking process easier than ever before.

Booking the shipment of dangerous goods via the enhanced online booking portal has also been simplified. Etihad Cargo's booking portal now enables the capture of United Nations (UN) numbers, which are globally recognised classifications that identify hazardous substances in international shipping.

"Since the launch of Etihad Cargo's enhanced online booking portal, the carrier has continued to launch new features that are making it easier for customers to make bookings," said Martin Drew, Senior Vice President – Global Sales & Cargo at Etihad Airways. "Expanding the capabilities of the booking portal to include the booking of pets and dangerous goods shipments directly via the portal is the latest step by Etihad Cargo in making the booking process as seamless as possible while helping customers to ensure the compliance of their cargo with international regulations."

The new custom feed within the customer dashboard within the portal will further improve the customer experience, enabling Etihad Cargo to customise the content it shares with customers. In addition to sharing information on green lanes and updates, the custom feed will show relevant offers and campaigns, making it easier for customers to access information relevant to their sector or region.

The new features launched as part of this development phase complement past updates, which saw the carrier introduce a more streamlined booking process that enabled users to create and confirm a booking within 45 seconds. Further enhancements are already planned and will include features focused on specific documents and validations by origin and destination.

DSV electrify road freight One day, it might be possible for trucks to charge while driving, using an overhead contact line.

In Frankfurt, Germany, DSV is participating in a research project working to test and establish an eHighway that could enable fully electric long-distance road freight.

Imagine this: an electrified highway stretching all through Europe, allowing on-the-go charging and enabling long-distance electric trucks as a feasible freight mode. Supporting the company's long-term targets for the reduction of carbon emissions, the leading transport and logistics company DSV is participating in and supplying data for the ELISA eHighway project, which might one day turn this image into reality.

DSV's participation in the project is one of many initiatives in which the company plays an active role in supporting innovation projects that will be crucial in the green transition. New technologies such as long-distance electric road freight will be central to DSV achieving its 2030 ambition to lower its indirect emissions by 30% and ultimately achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Electric vehicles will be central to the green transition of the industry. But today, there are considerable limitations that hinder a smooth and successful shift to especially long-distance electric trucks:

"Without the right levels of infrastructure, there is a danger that charging stations will be the Suez Canal of road transportation and the cause of significant delays and congestion for electric vehicles. If the eHighway is established and expanded across Europe, it would create new possibilities when it comes to introducing long-distance electric trucks and offer lower-emission services without any delays for our customers. As a leading company in the industry, we see it as our responsibility to contribute to the early stages of the development of new technologies such as the eHighway," says Søren Schmidt, CEO, DSV Road.

Through the ELISA eHighway project, a range of project partners work to establish an electric highway that allows for easy on-the-go charging of electric vehicles, eliminating downtime spent on charging and eventually enabling a transition to electric long-distance trucks. Trucks driving on eHighway test tracks are equipped with roof sensors that detect an overhead contact line above the truck, which then connects to the line through a pantograph and charges while driving.

Participating in the project, DSV is collaborating with researchers from the Institute of Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering at the Technical University of Darmstadt who are collecting and analysing data to scientifically evaluate the development of the eHighway.

Since the beginning of February, a subcontracted DSV driver has been using the 10, soon to be 17, kilometre eHighway test track in Frankfurt, transporting customers' goods to and from Frankfurt Airport. Through a data logger in the truck, data concerning more than 150 parameters such as battery charging state and fuel rate is sent to researchers from the Institute of Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering at the Technical University of Darmstadt. Additionally, the researchers conduct weekly evaluation interviews with the driver.

Supplying data for research, DSV seeks to help bridge a gap between the industry and academia: "We are excited to provide daily data from actual operations, which can help in the development of the eHighway. The ELISA eHighway project is a great example of collaboration in and between the industry and academia, which will be absolutely critical as we work towards a sustainable solution to the biggest challenge of our time," says Søren Schmidt.

Eva Kaßens-Noor, professor at the Technical University of Darmstadt, agrees that collaborating across academia and the industry is important: "The benefits of a collaboration between academia and the industry are the synergies between both: new research-driven innovations can infuse the development of novel technologies. Thus, we jointly advise policy makers through a cutting-edge, collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to transform our traffic system towards sustainable and climate-resilient systems," she says.

In addition to the track in Frankfurt, which DSV is currently testing, the project includes test tracks in the German cities of Stuttgart and Lübeck. The current phase of the project runs until the end of 2024. Project partners are applying for funding for a potential next phase, allowing for further development of the eHighway.

Dimerco certification singapore Dimerco Singapore was recently certified with the Good Distribution Practice for Medical Devices (GDPMDS) and Secure Trade Partnership (STP) for their best practices in handling customers’ sensitive cargos between Singapore and other countries.

GDPMDS shows that Dimerco Singapore is qualified to handle medical devices such as In-Vitro Diagnostic Equipment and Software (IVD) by protecting them against contamination and ensuring the quality and integrity of the cargo during every point of the transit.

Dimerco Singapore is also certified with the highest level of security – STP-Plus (Premium Brand) under the TradeFIRST assessment and the Regulated Air Cargo Agent Regime. This certification demonstrates Dimerco’s robust capabilities in security and visibility of goods, which reduce the risk of cargo theft and ensure efficient and safe supply chain management for all customers.

The STP-Plus certification in Dimerco Singapore is equivalent to the AEO (Authorized Economic Operator) certification, which Dimerco holds across China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Germany and the Netherlands. Dimerco is also certified in North America’s AEO programs, which are called– CTPAT for the USA and PIP for Canada.

Dimerco’s Central Service Center (CSC) commented: “Qualifying for STP-Plus and being designated as the consignor under the Regulated Air Cargo Agent Regime means that Dimerco is seen as a low-risk operator. Cargos handled by Dimerco are less likely to be required for a local inspection which expedites customs clearance. STP-Plus also aligns with Dimerco customers’ security arrangements and validation processes through Singapore’s 10 Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) partners – Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and United States.”

Dimerco is committed to becoming a leader in providing global logistics supply chain services. Three years after the start of the pandemic, Dimerco held its Annual Management Meeting in Singapore where company managers celebrated record-high revenue performance for 2022 and the 43rd anniversary of the founding of Dimerco Express (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.

Maersk advanced warehouseMaersk continues to implement technology solutions that improve warehouse fulfillment operations and speed to customer.

A new technology is achieving warehouse productivity gains from more picks per hour, enabling more ecommerce orders shipped on deadline. Equally important, warehouse throughput is being increased without changing the facility size to accommodate the new technology.

Using a cloud-based software technology developed in Silicon Valley, which combined with industrial scanning technology, enables a fleet of U.S.-made mobile units to work alongside people in the warehouse, providing instant scanning of items and less walking for workers. The mobile units know how to optimize every aisle in a warehouse for order picking based on real-time inventory data pulled from warehouse management systems that process new orders, show fulfilled orders and trigger replenishment orders. Each mobile unit has a scanner, touchscreen and shelves for placement of picked items by workers.

"Quicker and more accurate order fulfillment enables us to meet the faster needs of consumer mobile orders and store orders." Steve Belardi, Vice President of Operations at Performance Team.

Steve also added, "We are designing our operations technology to keep pace and consistency with daily workflows. The ability to have high performance fulfillment for both B2B and B2C channels from the same warehouse gives an important edge to supply chain flexibility."

The mobile units use 3D cameras and multiple sensors that have proven 100% safe over a seven-month trial period. Battery life is eight hours - the mobile units know when to return to the charging station.

"Warehouse operations and distribution strategies get more sophisticated every year. Our goal is to continue to rollout the most successful, new, innovative technologies that enable digital sales growth for customers." Erez Agmoni, Maersk’s Senior Vice President of Innovation and Strategic Growth.

LUKA Koper record 2022Last year was an exceptional year for the Luka Koper Group in all respects, as it exceeded all planned financial indicators as well as the indicators achieved in 2021, despite the challenging environment.

Net sales revenues reached a record EUR 313.5 million, up 37% or EUR 85 million compared to the previous year. The increase was mainly due to higher warehousing revenues, as a result of longer holding of goods in warehouses in the first half of 2022, followed by a gradual normalisation of the situation and lower revenue growth. The average dwell time of full containers at the terminal was 7.6 days last year, compared to just 5.5 days the year before. Last year’s higher revenues were also driven by higher service prices, higher productivity and increased volumes of throughput and ancillary services across all commodity groups. This also had a positive impact on the EBIT, which at EUR 83.1 million was 165% (EUR 51.8 million) ahead of 2021.

The Group’s operating expenses were also up by more than 16% at EUR 234.7 million, mainly due to higher costs of materials and services and labour costs, which did not have a material impact on the net result. The net profit for 2022 was a record EUR 74.2 million, up 133% or EUR 42.4 million compared to the net profit for 2021.

Despite the difficult economic situation, total maritime throughput reached 23.2 million tonnes, up 12% or 2.4 million tonnes on 2021 and 2% ahead of plan.

Compared to the previous year, growth in throughput was recorded in all commodity groups. At the Container Terminal, we set a new annual record with 1,017,788 TEUs handled, while at the same time becoming the first port in the Adriatic to surpass the historic mark of one million TEUs handled in a single year. Container throughput was slightly lower than planned, but still achieved a 2% growth compared to 2021. 2022 was also a record year at the Car Terminal, where we handled 801,036 vehicles, 7% more than planned and 22% more than in 2021. The highest throughput in history was also achieved at the General Cargo, Dry Bulk and Liquid Cargoes Terminals. In the dry bulk segment, we handled 6.2 million tonnes of cargo and recorded a 12% growth compared to 2021, mainly due to higher throughput of salt (used for road gritting), aluminium ore and soybeans. The highest growth, 39%, was achieved in liquid cargoes, with 4.6 million tonnes of cargo handled, mainly petroleum products, jet fuel and chemicals. In general cargoes commodity group, we handled 1.3 million tonnes of goods last year, 16% more than the previous year. An increase was registered in steel products (mainly due to production in the automotive industry), white goods, and construction materials industries, as well as rubber and project/special cargoes.

The current situation on the Slovenian railway infrastructure also had an impact on slightly different ratio of freight transported by rail and road. Compared to 2021, when 42% of freight was transported by road and 58% by rail, the share of freight transported by road increased to 46% and by rail decreased to 54% in 2022.

In 2022, Luka Koper Group made major investments mainly at the Container Terminal and Car Terminal area, which represent a new development cycle for two of the company’s most important strategic commodity groups. Last June, we completed one of the biggest investments in recent years – the extension of the southern part of Pier 1, equipping it with two new super post-panamax cranes and three electric bridge cranes for cargo handling in the storage areas (RTG). In addition, a new general cargo warehouse was built at Pier 2 and the construction of a new Truck Terminal continued. At the end of the year, we started to develop the so-called cassette 5A area, where new car storage areas will be built by the end of 2023.

Kuehne and Nagel Board of Directors After twelve years on the Board of Directors of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, Renato Fassbind will not stand for re-election at the Annual General Meeting on May 9, 2023.

At the same time, Dr. Vesna Nevistic will be proposed for election to the Board of Directors of Kuehne + Nagel International AG. Dr. Nevistic, born in 1965 and a dual Swiss-Croatian citizen, holds a PhD in electrical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich. She has extensive international experience in management consulting and investment banking, was a partner at McKinsey, including a focus on logistics, and a managing director at Goldman Sachs. She currently runs her own consulting firm focusing on corporate strategy and transformation and is a board member at Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, among others.

Dr. Joerg Wolle, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, said: "On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I would like to thank Dr. Fassbind for his many years of successful service on the Board of Directors of Kuehne + Nagel. At the same time, we are pleased to propose Dr. Nevistic, a business leader with an excellent network in Switzerland and internationally, for election to the Board of Directors of Kuehne + Nagel International AG.ˮ

Qatar Airways iNomad The world’s leading air cargo carrier has partnered with iNOMAD, a Korea-based cutting-edge air cargo platform.

The partnership with iNOMAD will enable better connectivity for one of the airline’s major customers in South Korea, Woojung Air and also help the airline increase its footprint in South Korea as SMEs operating with Woojung Air will be able to compare Qatar Airways Cargo’s offerings on the iNOMAD portal. Woojung Air is a prominent consolidator in South Korea and one of the top customers of Qatar Airways Cargo.

Mr. Guillaume Halleux, Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways said, “Digital transformation is high on our agenda as part of our VISION 2027 and Next Generation Strategy. The integration and partnership with iNOMAD brings multiple benefits to our customers in South Korea such as enhanced visibility of our capacity, rates as well as real time confirmation of their shipments. Customers can benefit from instant access to these features at their fingertips and that is the huge advantage digitalisation brings in.”

Joon-suk Yim, the CEO of iNOMAD, said, "Its strength is to promote the accessibility of air cargo service by optimizing extensive logistics data for clients and provide boundless service and information to both IATA/CASS members and non-members in real-time. Developing this business, we are grateful and proud to start a new partnership with Qatar Airways, a top-tier airline, that can provide us with vital information in expanding our logistics service.”

He also added, "We aim to become a search engine for the air logistics field in which clients can check the information they need in real-time, regardless of time and place. We thus plan to do our best to nourish our customized services to build a stronger partnership, cherishing the meaningful opportunity to join Qatar Airways Cargos' digital transformation."

iNOMAD is an air cargo platform, Korea-based, with a cutting-edge logistics system created by its own software development team and air logistics experts. They have designed the system to transmit and receive information from logistics-related service providers and master loaders including airlines. Being the first company connecting API(application program interface) with airlines in Northeast Asia, the platform is operating as an online all-in-one portal that provides air cargo booking, rates, schedule, tracking, etc. Starting from South Korea, they have been rapidly expanding the business to Hong Kong (established in 2022) and Vietnam (to be launched in 2024).

iNOMAD signed an MOU with Cello Square of Samsung SDS in June 2022 to build up its customer base by presenting competitive rates. Along with this, iNOMAD is now expecting the opening of a logistics center of 20,000 square meters in Sep 2023 as an air cargo platform terminal in the Incheon International Airport, one of the most active airports in the world, which would be a milestone in developing a smart logistics system. The logistics center will be equipped with various smart devices and a security x-ray inspection system to provide safe and advanced logistics services.

In 2022, Qatar Airways Cargo launched Digital Lounge, a premium booking experience, that provides a much more connected experience for its customers. Qatar Airways Cargo will be elevating this booking experience with more focused enhancements tied in with clear operational strategies to complete the journey of cargo till its final destination. Other than its own booking platform, Digital Lounge, the airline has also partnered with a number of connected marketplaces to provide live access to capacity for its customers.

Qatar Airways Cargo’s Next Generation Strategy includes a complete corporate mindset shift, taking a new innovative approach to the business of air cargo, develop new talent while also attracting new ones and tapping into the digital potential for optimal user experience as well as the transparency, convenience and speed that digitalisation brings. With this approach, Qatar Airways Cargo is defining its role in the air cargo industry.

Port of Bilbao record season End-of-year figures for total traffic stand at 32.7 million tonnes, up 1.5 million (5.1%) on 2021 figures and 3% higher than the average of all state-owned multi-purpose ports.

Traffic has not yet returned to pre-pandemic figures but, with the stevedoring agreement reached and signed for the next six years and the investments and public and private projects underway, the foundations have been laid for sustained growth and for Bilbao to become a more competitive port, to attract new traffic, to extend its hinterland and to be ever more sustainable.

The positive trend in total traffic can mainly be attributed to the 15% increase in liquid bulk, largely driven by the global energy scenario and clearly highlighting the relevance of the port of Bilbao as an energy hub. Crude oil and gas occupy top spot in general traffic, up 30% and 34% respectively.

Conventional general cargo increased by 2%, while containerised cargo fell by 4.5% due to the slowdown in the economy, especially in Europe and, in particular, in the United Kingdom, which continues to be the port's main market. This downturn is slightly less than that of the port system in general (a little over 5%), despite the road transport strike which also had an influence on the negative end-of-year figure.

Solid bulk is down 19%, due to the fall in cement and clinker and limestone sand, though this traffic has been recovering in the last few months. Once again this year, the growth in ro-ro traffic (+16%) and, within so-called project cargo, wind power components (+20%), is to be highlighted.

In terms of vessel size (gross tonnage), 2022 saw a 24% increase due to more oil tanker, gas carrier and cruise ship arrivals. By markets, the United States, Brazil and Iraq are the fastest growing countries, while traffic with Russia fell by half.

In terms of FORECASTS for freight traffic in 2023, although economic and geopolitical uncertainty persists, positive figures are expected for liquids and dry cargo. Following the signing of the stevedoring agreement and the increase in promotional and commercial work, new business will gradually be attracted, as Bilbao is a more competitive port with no labour unrest. Likewise, in March, all Brittany Ferries ro-ro services will be resumed, with larger capacity vessels running six ferry services per week with the United Kingdom and Ireland (four of them also with passengers). The Finnlines ro-ro vessels providing the service with northern Europe will also have increased capacity.

Finally, in February of this year, the Ellerman City Liners shipping company started a direct weekly service between Bilbao and the east coast of the USA for container transport.
Record number of passengers and cruise ships.

In 2022, 214,028 people travelled on board ferries or cruise ships to or from the port of Bilbao, a record figure that represents an increase of 190%. Half of these passengers were cruise passengers arriving at the Getxo terminal, whilst the other half were people travelling to or from the United Kingdom or Ireland from the Brittany Ferries terminal in Zierbena. 163 ferry crossings (14 more than in 2021) and 78 cruise ships (64 more compared to the previous year) arrived at the port. FORECASTS for passenger traffic for 2023 are excellent, with this year’s figures expected to be exceeded.

4,243 trains entered or left the port of Bilbao, 2.6% less than in the previous year, mainly due to the fall in container traffic. Even so, 27% of containers already enter or leave the port by rail.

In 2022, considerable progress was made in the management of rail-port traffic. On the one hand, the Port Authority is now assuming the management of rail traffic in the port, and is taking on manoeuvres and shunting tasks that had been previously been performed by ADIF, with a view to providing a universal, neutral and competitive service 24/7. The next milestone for the Port Authority will be to reach a management agreement with ADIF, whereby the Port Authority will take over the operation of the rail container terminal so as to make further progress in integrating it into the port infrastructure and further develop the port's intermodality.

Likewise, at the end of 2022, the Port Authority approved its Railway Safety Management System, currently in the implementation phase, for use to mitigate the risks inherent to railway activity within the service area.

At the same time, the initial works to build a new 750-metre-long siding at Orduña station were awarded in December. The overall cost of the works is EUR 10.87 million, to be financed, on the one hand, by the Port Authority of Bilbao, with around EUR 3 million from the Inland Port Accessibility Fund, and the rest by ADIF (Spanish Administrator of Railway Infrastructure). The works will not only speed up and improve the operation of freight trains between the port of Bilbao and the Meseta (Castilian Plain), but will also benefit passenger trains.

Though these improvements are important and represent progress in intermodality, the priority for the Port Authority is the increasingly urgent construction of the southern rail bypass for freight trains.

Turnover amounted to EUR 64.9 million, compared to EUR 63.1 million in 2021, up 2.8%. This increase of EUR 1.8 million is the result of the recovery of port traffic as, in order to support competitiveness, port charges have not been increased despite average inflation of 8.4% in 2022 and 3.1% in 2021 (data from the Spanish National Statistics Institute). Consequently, the increase in turnover is solely due to the gradual recovery of activity, with no changes in prices for users and customers of the port.

Debt with the European Investment Bank stood at EUR 45.3 million and liquidity at EUR 37.2 million, with bank debt net of cash amounting to EUR 8.1 million (equivalent to 0.3 times EBITDA). Cash and cash equivalents (EBITDA) stood at EUR 29.1 million. The company maintains an adequate debt profile, having invested around EUR 1 billion over the last 30 years. This financial autonomy will enable it to make new investments in the fields of energy transition, digitalisation, infrastructure, intermodality, innovation and port-city activities.

To partially mitigate its economic impact, a grant portfolio of EUR 30 million is being managed for investments totalling EUR 77 million (with an average co-financing rate of 38%). The projects which have been awarded grants are outlined below: BilbOPS: an investment of EUR 47.5 million, 30% (EUR 14.2 million) of which is co-funded by the EC through the CEF Transport 2021-2027 programme. The project has also secured a EUR 5 million grant for the new A5 Quay through the Recovery and Resilience Facility, and includes a PV power plant for self-consumption. Sewerage System Network Phases I and II: with a budget of around EUR 18 million, 50% of which is funded by the Port Authority of Bilbao through the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Bilbao PortLab: with a view to creating an innovation ecosystem, Bilbao PortLab has enabled and supported 28 ideas, pre-commercial and commercial projects for start-ups and companies currently in the implementation phase, the investment budget for which stands at EUR 6.3 million with approved subsidies of EUR 3 million. The subsidies have been awarded through the Ports 4.0. programme, run by Puertos del Estado (Spanish State Ports Authority), the Galatea Innovation Support Mechanism, in collaboration with the Mobility and Logistics Cluster of Euskadi, the Hazitek programme of the Basque Government, and the grants programmes of the Bizkaia Provincial Council, managed by BEAZ.

In addition to the grants awarded to date, the Proactive Port Forum has been set up, together with representatives of the port community, to work on new strategic projects in the areas of energy transition, basic infrastructure and digitalisation.

Investment by the Port Authority of Bilbao in 2022 in these areas amounted to EUR 34.6 million, with planned investment figures of EUR 43.6 million in 2023. Many of the actions planned are geared towards strengthening the Atlantic axis and generating activity in the Cantabrian hinterland. Prominent among these actions is the creation of land, given the demand from the business world to locate in the port and/or to expand existing facilities in the port.

In this sense, extension works on the AZ1 Dock will be completed in the spring, providing 50,000 m² of new land and a 251-metre berthing line. Required investment amounts to EUR 27.4 million. The paving works will be put out to tender this year and will be completed by the end of 2023.

In January, the Port Authority launched a public tender for the award of a concession for the construction and operation of a maritime container terminal on the central breakwater. The deadline for submitting bids is the end of April, and the award is expected to be announced in the summer.

To improve accessibility, eleven new lay-bys came into service in October on the N-240 road between the towns of Zeanuri and Bedia, going towards Bilbao. This was made possible through a collaboration agreement signed between the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and the Port Authority, to improve the accessibility of a road with a high intensity of heavy traffic. Investment costs for this project, funded by the Port Authority of Bilbao, amounted to EUR 2.7 million. Likewise, in December 2022, the works to improve the N-644 road as it passes by the Iberdrola thermal power station intake in Santurtzi were awarded. The works will be completed this year with a budget of EUR 2.1 million.

A stand-out initiative in the field of port-city relations is the provision of EUR 1 million, over four years, for improving the urban environment in the town of Santurtzi. The first such project, which started in January of this year, is the construction of a new footbridge over the ADIF railway tracks to improve accessibility and safety.

Innovative projects in the field of sustainability: dock electrification, PV power plant, sewerage system, vessels and decarbonisation hub.

With the aim of making Bilbao a more sustainable and, at the same time, more competitive port, the Port Authority will tender in the coming months the first phase of the BilbOPS project for the electrification of docks to enable vessels to connect to the power grid and thus switch off their auxiliary diesel engines. The first electrified docks will come into service in 2025. This project includes a 4.2 MW PV power plant for self-consumption purposes. The planned budget is EUR 52.5 million.

Another major sustainability project is the improvement of the sewerage system of some docks, as a result of a collaboration agreement signed between the Basque Water Agency (URA), the Bilbao Bizkaia Water Consortium and the Port Authority. The planned overall investment of around EUR 18 million will be covered jointly by URA and the Port Authority. The first of the three phases is about to start and the second is about to be awarded.

With regard to shipping companies, Brittany Ferries and Finnlines have opted to include more environmentally friendly vessels on their routes. Brittany Ferries has incorporated the LNG-powered ferry-cruise Salamanca into its line with the United Kingdom, and will soon do the same with the Galicia on its service to Ireland. Similarly, Finnlines, of the Grimaldi Group, has added three of the most efficient ships in the world to its service with northern Europe and the Baltic, with the latest generation of electronically controlled engines and an exhaust gas purification system to reduce sulphur and particulate emissions. The vessels are equipped with lithium batteries and solar panels.

Two other private sector developments within the port, both taken forward by Petronor/Repsol, are the commissioning of the first terminal for the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the port of Bilbao, and the ceremony last May to lay the first stone of the works to create a decarbonisation hub. In the first case, investment amounts to EUR 10 million and is co-funded by the European Commission through the CEF-Connecting Europe Facility Programme. In the second case, the facilities will include a plant for the production of synthetic fuels, the construction work on which will last for the next two years and is expected to involve an investment of EUR 103 million.

Haizea Wind Group is expanding its facilities by 57,283 m² to enable it to manufacture XXL monopiles, large steel structures used to anchor wind turbines to the seabed. The project includes the construction of warehouses and the fitting out of storage areas for the parts manufactured at its plant to be exported by sea. The company anticipates an investment of around EUR 150 million in warehouses, machinery, etc., with a multi-annual timeframe (2022-2025).

For its part, Consignaciones Toro y Betolaza has expanded its terminal for conventional and ro-ro cargo on Docks A6 and A5, which includes the construction of a new warehouse. Total investment has amounted to EUR 5 million.

Finally, the terminal Depósitos Portuarios, S.A. (Deposa) has also invested EUR 1 million in the construction of six new storage tanks for agri-food and agri-fuel liquid bulk, each with a capacity of 2,000 m³. Four more tanks are scheduled to be built in 2023.

EFW Haite collaborate Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (EFW), centre of excellence for Airbus freighter conversions and Aircraft Maintenance, and Sichuan Haite Hi-Tech (Haite), a publicly listed MRO solutions provider for aircraft in China, announced today the signing of a letter of intent (LOI) for a collaboration on Airbus Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) conversions.

Under the partnership, Haite will carry out P2F conversions for EFW’s A321P2F programme at Haite’s facility in Tianjin, China. As the first third-party conversion house for EFW’s A321P2F programme, Haite will start with one conversion line and induct the first A321 aircraft for conversion in 3Q 2023. This will bring the global conversion sites EFW has for its A321P2F programme to a total number of four, namely in San Antonio, U.S.; Singapore; and Guangzhou and Tianjin, China.

“We are pleased to gain a renowned partner in China through our latest collaboration with Haite, which is well experienced in freighter conversions,” said Jordi Boto, CEO of EFW. “This new partnership will greatly support our strategy to expand the global network for our narrowbody P2F programme. It will also further strengthen our presence in China, which is one of the largest and fastest growing aviation markets in the world."

“We are much honored to have EFW’s confidence in Haite through our collaboration as EFW’s first third-party conversion site for the A321P2F programme,” said Mr. Wan Tao, Chairman of Haite Hi-Tech. "This is an exciting milestone for us to work on the preferred conversion solution, and I look forward to strengthening our mutually beneficial partnership in the long run.”

EFW’s family of Airbus P2F programmes – A320P2F, A321P2F and A330P2F – are developed in collaboration with ST Engineering and Airbus, with EFW holding the Supplemental Type Certificate and leading in the overall programmes as well as marketing and sales efforts. To meet the high demand for freighter conversions, ST Engineering and EFW have set up conversion sites in China and the U.S. and are working with third-party conversion houses to complement the well-established Airbus P2F conversion facilities in Germany and Singapore.

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