Port of ESBIO

Bilbao Port (ESBIO)

Port Code ESBIO City Bilbao
Port Name BILBAO Country/Region Spain
Category Port City Route EUROPEAN BRANCH PORT
Nearby Main Port Inland Transport
Official Website Port Type Feeder Port

Introduction of Bilbao Port (ESBIO)


Port of Bilbao (Spanish: Puerto de Bilbao) is located in the Abra Bay of Bilbao, along the mouth of the Bilbao River, in the Bay of Biscay (Basque). Coordinates: -3o -2' -49' W, 43o 20' 23' N. The main facilities are in the municipalities of Santurce and Zilbina, about 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) west of Bilbao. Also called the Outer Port and Superpuerto , the port occupies 3.13 square kilometers of land resources (773 acres) and 16.94 square kilometers (4186 acres) of water along the waterfront for 17 kilometers (10.6 miles).


The history of the port is inseparable from the history of Bilbao itself, so its foundation date is also the foundation of the city.

1300 Bilbao was granted the status of a city, giving it control of maritime traffic entering the estuary. The first terminal was built 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) upstream from the sea in the old city of Bilbao. These piers are the center of activity for the port for more than five centuries.

In 1511, the Bilbao consulate privilege was granted, allowing control of the wool export passage port in northern Europe.

In the 19th century, abundant iron ore was discovered in the nearby mountains, which boosted the industrial base of the area. The Bilbao estuary was expanded from Bilbao to cover industries and terminals such as Gulf steel and shipbuilding. All activities depend on the engineer Evaristo Churruca, who is navigating the river, to develop a huge project that can solve the traditional navigation problems of the river:

  • Dangerous sandbars in the process of frequently changing data flows;
  • Many complicated twists and turns;
  • Rich swamp area;
  • The storm flooded the mouth of the river from blowing on the Bay of Biscay.

The river bank was drained and the pier was built, the course of the river was straightened, the external port was closed, and Puente Colgante was also  built as a transit bridge. By 1900, Bilbao was the largest port in Spain. This allows the rapid economic development of the region, with the river banks covered by shipyards and steel mills. In the 1970s, the Santurce district was developed and the Deusto Passage was created.

But things continued to develop, the industry declined and the dock was abandoned. Most importantly, ships have continuously increased their tonnage and large tankers and freighters can no longer enter the river and the Santurce area has become too crowded. In 1975, the idea of ​​a large-scale project was called Superpuerto . The plan is that all Abra Bay will eventually be surrounded by a pier. The project continues to this day.


The container volume is more than 500,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) a year. In 2007, the port was the fourth busiest port in Spain after Algeciras, Barcelona and Valencia. This is the largest port in Spain.

From 1998 to the present, the physical capacity of the port has increased dramatically, resulting in more traffic.

The port is served by the Spanish National Railway, but a new rail connection is needed because the current line is shared off-get off work traffic and passes through a densely populated metropolitan area. A high-speed connection is being considered, but the current high-speed network in Spain does not support freight volumes.

Cruise ship

The new terminal was built in Getxo to meet the ever-increasing demand for cruise business, which was largely fed by the opening of the Guggenheim Museum in 1998, and has brought in many more tourists to bring Bilbao to cruise route.

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Summary of ESBIO

Bilbao Port (port code: ESBIO) is one of Spain’s most important northern ports. It is situated on the northern Spanish coast, extending 10.7 nautical miles up the River Nervion.
Covering 350 hectares of land and almost 2 hectares of water surface, the port contains 17 kilometers of docks, 252 hectares of open storage, 30 thousand square meters of covered storage, and 25.3 thousand square meters of cold storage. It also has five roll-on/roll-off ramps and terminals for containers, solid and liquid bulks, forest products, vehicles, general cargoes, and passengers. It is directly connected with national and European highway networks.
The port handles approximately 39 million tons of cargo, 550,000TEU and 179,000 passengers with 3,585 vessels annually. The types of vessels regularly calling at this port are cargo vessels, accounting for about 45%; tankers, taking up around 22.5%; and sailing vessels, taking a proportion of 17%. The maximum length of the vessels recorded to having entered this port is 333 meters. The maximum draught is 16.1 meters. The maximum deadweight is 164,565t.

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