At the meeting, the proposal for the approval of the Construction Project for the Container Quay of the North Expansion of the Port of Valencia will be submitted to the councillors

The president of the Port Authority of Valencia (PAV), Aurelio Martínez, stresses that “the favourable report from the Directorate General of Coasts for the northern terminal is excellent news for the Valencia Region. It will be a zero emissions terminal and the most modern in the world”

The president of the Port Authority of Valencia (PAV), Aurelio Martínez, has called an extraordinary session of the Board of Directors to be held on Friday 2 December 2022, at its headquarters in the Clock Building of the Port of Valencia. At this meeting, the proposal for the approval of the Construction Project for the Container Quay of the North Extension of the Port of Valencia will be submitted to the Board of Directors.

This extraordinary meeting is set out in article 20 of the PAV Board of Directors’ Regulations. According to this article, at the proposal of its Presidency, “an extraordinary meeting will be held to deal with matters of special interest or urgent and unpostponable need, which will be dedicated to a single subject or several subjects of a complementary nature, and the meeting must be called at least two working days before the start of the session, accompanied by the corresponding agenda, together with the documentation necessary for its deliberation”.

Report on Compatibility with the Marine Strategy

At the meeting of the Board of Directors, the Report on Compatibility with the Marine Strategy issued by the Directorate General of Coasts, dependent on the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, regarding the project for the construction of the container quay of the northern extension of the Port of Valencia, will be explained.

In this regard, the president of the PAV stressed this morning that the receipt of this favourable report from the Directorate General of Coasts “is excellent news for the Valencian Community. Now we are convening this Council and if the project is approved, it will be taken to the Council of Ministers, as it is an initiative that involves a public investment of more than 12 million euros. From there, we will continue the process to develop the new northern container terminal, a modern, sustainable, environmentally friendly infrastructure with a very significant public-private investment”.

“The document points out a series of recommendations that we are going to make, some of which we had already contemplated, and others, such as taking moresoundings and checking the state of the land at different depths, are compatible and will serve to confirm what is already in the project”, said Aurelio Martínez.

Favourable report

A report that concludes that “in view of the available documentation and information, it is observed that the effects of the action on the environmental objectives of the Levantine-Balearic marine strategy, in principle, will not jeopardise the achievement of good environmental status”. And, following this, “in accordance with Article 7.2 of Royal Decree 79/2019, of 22 February, a favourable compatibility report is issued with conditions.”

This report of Compatibility with the Maritime Strategy was requested by the PAV to comply with the requirement of Article 3. 3 of Law 41/2010, which establishes that “the authorisation of any activity that requires either the execution of works or installations in marine waters, their bed or subsoil, or the placement or deposit of materials on the seabed, as well as the discharges regulated in Title IV of this law, must have the favourable report of the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, regarding the compatibility of the activity or discharge with the corresponding marine strategy in accordance with the criteria established by regulation”. This report has been processed in accordance with the procedure established in Royal Decree 79/2019, which regulates the compatibility report and establishes the criteria for compatibility with marine strategies.

The report begins with an analysis of the background, reviewing the actions and documentation submitted since 2 December 2021, the date of the request for the compatibility report, and 12 May 2022, the date on which the PAV provided the latest documentation requested by the Coastal Demarcation.

It then reviews the purpose of the project and the description of the works, with emphasis on the dredging operations, both in the Valencia and Sagunto areas. It also makes an analysis of the needs for fill material, which includes the material to be obtained from different sources, where the volumes to be obtained are shown:

  • Dredging in the dredging trench for the foundations of the quay.
  • General dredging in the port of Valencia
  • Dredging in the port of Sagunto
  • Excavations in the area of new docks and cruise ship area
  • Terrestrial discharges from outside the port
  • Dredging in maritime loan of Sueca and Cullera

The report of the Directorate General for Coasts also analyses the means for carrying out the removal of material and for carrying out dredging, looking at the dredging methods in the ports of Valencia and Sagunto. It also presents an analysis of the characterisation of the material to be dredged in both ports and a discussion on the evaluation of the productive uses of the material.

The description of the surroundings of the actions and the impacts on habitats and species are other points on which the report focuses, analysing the presence of flora and fauna species, protected natural spaces, birds, cetaceans and sea turtles and bivalve production and fishing activities.

Another point of special relevance in the report is the analysis of the need for environmental assessment, in which it reviews annex nº 31 of the project, which justifies the lack of need for ordinary environmental impact assessment, as there are no circumstances for it, so there are no additional effects on the environment to those already considered in the resolution of 30 July 2007 by which the Environmental Impact Statement (DIA) of the project “Expansion of the Port of Valencia” was formulated. With regard to the dredging of the port of Sagunto, it should be borne in mind that the original project which was the subject of the favourable EIS already provided for obtaining fill material by dredging the port of Sagunto, so that this dredging is included in annex nº 31 of the project in which the modifications introduced in the new construction project with respect to the original are evaluated.

The report analyses the Environmental Monitoring Programme which is included as Annex 25 to the Project report. It also analyses the objectives of the first and second cycle of the marine strategy of the Levantine-Balearic demarcation that are applicable to the actions and that these must comply with, in accordance with Royal Decree 79/2019, of 22 February, which regulates the compatibility report and establishes the criteria for compatibility with marine strategies, modified by Royal Decree 218/2022, of 29 March, which includes the updating of Annex II to the environmental objectives of the second cycle of marine strategies.

Conditions compatible with the marine strategy

The report includes several conditions concerning aspects such as dredging, turbidity during operations or the environmental monitoring programme that must be carried out for the action to be fully compatible with the content of the marine strategy.

Thus, the report states that “in general, the validity of the analytical results and bioassays necessary for the characterisation and classification of the material to be dredged will be valid for 4 years and that, in the event of not starting the execution of the project within this period, its validity may be extended for a further 4 years, provided that it is validated by means of a simplified characterisation”.

Among the conditions laid down by the Directorate-General for Coasts, it is noted that ‘in the event that the aquaculture installations in the port of Sagunto are not removed or relocated outside the port, the promoter must carry out the corresponding microbiological controls of the sediment and submit them to the Valencia Coastal Authority for validation’.

Another point of the Report indicates that “the promoter must comply with Preventive measures and the use of best environmental practices, and with its sections: Preventive measures and mitigation of the negative effects of the dredging operations of the materials and Best environmental practices for the dredging of the materials. Likewise, another of the indications states that “dredging, transport, filling and port works operations will be suspended in adverse meteorological situations that do not ensure the safety of the aforementioned operations or that may cause materials to overflow”.

The Coastal Report also points out that “both in the port of Valencia and Sagunto, in order to avoid an increase in turbidity during operations which could lead to environmental impacts, anti-turbidity barriers will be installed during the execution of dredging, construction and backfilling operations”.

It also states that “it is recommended to carry out a prior review and cleaning of the vessels and means to be used in the dredging and construction work to avoid the introduction of invasive exotic species” and indicates that “with the aim of avoiding a potential impact on protected bird species with a possible presence in the area of action, the execution of planned actions should be minimised during their breeding season”.

Regarding the acoustic impact, one of the conditions of the Report specifies that “the measures related to the constructive design will be aimed at mitigating future impacts of high noise levels due to the exploitation and operation of the port area. These measures are intended to improve the quality of workers and not to increase noise levels in nearby urban areas”. The document includes measures such as “use of construction techniques with lower noise emissions, analysis of the levels of underwater noise emissions due to the technology used or reduction to the minimum possible of the temporary period of execution of the noisy works”.

The conditions also refer to the fact that “the Directorate General for Coasts and other bodies must be informed of the date of the dredging work before the start of the operations” or that “on completion of the dredging work, the competent body for marine cartography must be provided with information on the significant bathymetric modifications after the execution of the project”.

Characteristics of the North Container Terminal

The new northern container terminal of the Port of Valencia, which will be located in the inland waters of the northern extension of the Port of Valencia that was completed in 2012, will be an infrastructure that combines environmental and social sustainability with economic growth. Thus, the new northern container terminal will be aligned with the Valenciaport 2030 objective, zero emissions.

According to the project presented by TIL, it will have a railway station with six 1,000 m long tracks and a capacity to move 305,000 TEUs/year, 98% of the energy needed to operate the terminal will come from renewable energy sources. At all times, the origin of the electricity will be 100% from renewable sources, it will have an environmental management system at the highest level (EMAS certification) and the highest environmental requirements in the construction and operation phases. In addition, ships operating in this enclave will switch off engines and connect to the electricity grid on arrival at the port.

The new container terminal will involve an investment of more than 1,400 million euros, of which more than 1,000 million will come from private initiative, which will have a direct effect of more than 1,200 million euros on the productive fabric of the Valencia Region. The terminal will be a technological driving force for the Valencian innovation ecosystem and will promote the adoption of improvements and the creation of synergies with other companies in its area of influence.