Spain’s National Ports Authority (Puertos del Estado) is proposing to freeze port tariffs at their current rates for 2015, having cut them in both 2014 and 2013. Last year’s cut reduced the organisation’s income by around €60m.
Nevertheless, unlike other state-owned infrastructure companies, Puertos del Estado continues to operate a surplus, having around €1.2bn in the bank, on which it earns annual interest of 1%.
Currently under discussion is a plan to extend existing terminal concessions from 35 to 50 years as a way of improving investment in better facilities and generating more income for Puertos del Estado.
This additional revenue would then be used to improve rail access, for which an estimated €1.6bn is needed (of which €1bn could be raised over the next ten years from the concession extension).
Improved landside port connections are needed if the 30m container capacity of existing installations is to be fully realised. Currently, ports handle just 14m containers annually, but rail infrastructure authority ADIF is unable to generate sufficient investment capital to build better access lines.
Recently, it was announced that €840m is to be allocated towards the upgrade of the Algeciras-Madrid rail connection, with the investment covering the 2014-2019 period.