Minister Ana Paula Vitorino said on Wednesday, upon revealing these numbers, that Lisbon Port is looking at a minimum increase of 18 percent in passenger numbers and a further 8 percent in the number of cruise ships docking in the Portuguese capital. Leixões port in northern Portugal is also expecting double digit growth for the coming year, with expectations that numbers will rise by just under 20 percent.
The growth at Portimão’s cruise port was even more pronounced and last year welcomed 71 cruise ships and around 30,000 passengers; a growth of around 53 percent on 2016.
In terms of the number of ships docking in Portimão, 2017 saw a growth of 65 percent on 2016.
According to the Administration of the Ports of the Algarve and Sines, the growth at the Algarve’s only cruise terminal shows that investment not only in the port but also in local tourist facilities and attractions, is paying off.
Perhaps with this exponential growth in mind, a public tender was launched this week to find an entity that will carry out a study into the environmental implications of dredging the Arade River, so that the Algarve city of Portimão could bump up the number of cruise ships it welcomes.
The Administrators of the Ports of Sines and the Algarve launched the public tender on Tuesday, to carry out an environmental impact study into the project to dredge and widen Portimão’s port channel.
The project aims to create the necessary conditions for the city to up the number of cruise ships it receives a year, from 50 to 190, as well as accommodated bigger and longer ships.
The project has a €150,000 budget attached to it and must be executed within a time frame of roughly five years.
It is part of a wider €17.5 million investment for Portimão port.
Works planned for Portimão include widening the access channel as well as dredging it by a further 10 metres.
Interventions are all in the pipeline for the Navy docks, to guarantee two docking berths for the huge cruise vessels.
The Government believes that, with this work, the number of visiting ships could reach 190 annual movements per year, in contrast to the 50 movements currently taking place.
The investment planned for this port will be supported by Community and national funds.