Chinese maritime shipping groups are expected to have something to say about the port of Sines in southern Portugal, reported the China-Lusophone Brief (CLBrief), a news service on China and the Portuguese-speaking countries.
Their interest is mainly focused on a new terminal to be built at that port, which has been given the name Vasco da Gama, and whose public tender is expected to be launched “soon.”
CLBrief reported that talks are already underway between Portugal and China, specifically with the COSCO group, regarding this project but noted that an international public tender will be launched.
According to the same news service, Chinese interest is considered to be fundamental as a way of guaranteeing the development of the Sines platform, making sense of the use of the new Panama Canal by China as the fastest and cheapest way to reach the Atlantic markets.
CLBrief recalls that even before the signing of a memorandum of understanding under the so-called “New Silk Road,” which has both land and sea components, with a focus on infrastructure, the Portuguese government already strongly promoted the port of Sines, which will be included on that route.
The Portuguese government recently selected attorney Eduardo Paz Ferreira, the husband of the current Justice Minister, Francisca Van-Dúnem, to lead the team that will renegotiate the port’s main terminal concession with the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA).
The Portuguese government wants the concessionaire to make an investment of at least 100 million euros in the expansion of the container terminal, and the Singapore group considers it essential for the concession to extend beyond 2019.
The container terminal at Sines, Terminal XXI, has grown steadily over the years, from 1.33 million TEU (twenty foot equivalent units) in 2004 to more than 20 million TEUs recently, accounting for more than half of the container cargo processed at Portuguese ports. (macauhub)