Government pledges €2Bn boost for economic projects

 In News

The Portuguese Government has announced a spending pledge of €2Bn for massive industrial projects that promise to power Portugal into a money-spinning future.

In a visit to the port of Sines, Infrastructure minister Pedro Nuno Santos said that work that had been started in the previous mandate would be continued. “We want, together with the municipality and the administration of the Sines port, to give the necessary impetus so that we can quickly have the investments in progress.”
Tenders will be going out immediately — with the bottom line being that the country means to make the most of its strategic position as the ‘gateway to Europe’.
The largest schemes — for the expansion of Terminal XXI and a completely new Vasco da Gama Terminal – mean to transform Sines into the continent’s premier container terminal, capable of moving more than seven million ultra large containers per year.
Investment will run to roughly €1.3Bn and should be up and running by 2023. What hasn’t been totally clarified yet, however, is who or what will be powering the initiatives forwards.
Reports in Portugal simply concentrate on the plans themselves — but behind the scenes there will be a scramble for both the United States and China to see who wins through.
The enormous container terminal would benefit both. China’s Belt & Road initiative (a way of moving Chinese goods around the world) is dependent on the expansion of Sines, while the US has long wanted to use the port to transport liquified natural gas into Europe – an ambition recently dealt a blow by Spain, but one which the US is still pursuing.
Back in October, the then Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino told Público that the winning proposal will be the one that offers the best benefits to Portugal regardless of the origin of the operator.”
At the time, CCTEBG (China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Group), a subsidiary of CSCEC (China Sate Construction Engineering Corporation) was in Lisbon establishing contacts with ‘Portuguese counterparts.’
Online economic news service Macauhub reported that: “At least five Chinese consortiums, including COSCO Shipping, which is the largest Chinese shipping company and has a strong presence in the Port of Valencia, Spain and also the Greek Port of Piraeus (Athens), have been in contact with the Port of Sines and the Algarve Authority (APS), as well as aicep Global Parques, a state-owned company that manages industrial parks across Portugal.”
Chinese investment is also said to be behind the €1.2Bn project to develop Montijo as Lisbon’s second airport.
In addition the Portuguese Government has been preparing the railway link tender which will allow for a direct connection between the Port of Sines (and those of Setúbal and Lisbon) to Badajoz in Spain, thus completing part of the Atlantic corridor with the goal of bringing Portuguese ports closer to the rest of the Iberian peninsula and Europe in the most ambitious and extensive railway network built in Portugal in the last 100 years. (Natasha Donn – Algarve Resident)