Setúbal port PortugalThe Setúbal and Sesimbra port authority (APSS) in Portugal has signed a concession renewal contract with Volkswagen Autoeuropa, which will last for 15 years. As part of this, APSS will charge rent of €500,000 for a 60,000sq.m operating area, and also provide access to the port's specialist ro-ro terminal. Over the course of the next 15 years, the APSS will receive an income of €7.5 million.

Although terms and conditions have not changed significantly from the previous concession, the current contract signed by both parties envisages expansion of the operating area to either 100,000sq.m, or potentially 120,000sq.m over the next 15 years, although this is dependant on future traffic development.

The APSS said, “This is yet a further step towards consolidating and developing the finished vehicles market in the Port of Porto de Setúbal, signifying a serious commitment by Volkswagen in terms of the forecast development of its VW Autoeuropa factory in Palmela.”

Vitor Caldeirinha, president of the port authority, notes that as a means of ensuring that VW has sufficient space into which it can expand, the new ro-ro terminal being built at Setúbal will not be put out to concession until 2017. Work on the new terminal will be completed by the end of the current year.

Initially, the port authority planned to look for a tenant that would be able to offer value added services to the automotive logistics market as part of an operating concession. The idea – long cherished by the APSS – is to convert Setúbal into an intercontinental hub for finished vehicles, with VW's Autoeuropa operation seen as a key anchor. The German manufacturer has run Autoeuropa since 1995.

In the first six months of this year, Autoeuropa handled 48,020 export vehicles, equivalent to a rise of 2.1%, and 44,620 imported units, an increase of 41.7% on 2014. All of the vehicles imported and exported were built by VW.