Environmental impact study gives the green light to the modernization project for the Alcântara container terminal

In an interview with Jornal Económico, Diogo Marecos, administrator of Liscont, the terminal concessionaire owned by the Turkish group Yilport, guarantees that the company is ready to move forward with this project in the first quarter of 2021, whose investment, of 120 million euros, will be your sole responsibility.

Rafael Marchante / Reuters

The environmental impact study gives the green light to the project to modernize the Alcântara container terminal presented by the concessionaire Liscont, which belongs to the Turkish group Yilport.

This environmental impact study was prepared by Proman - Center for Studies and Projects, between March 2018 and June 2020, and is currently under public consultation.

After the legal period of 100 days for potential interested parties to express their opinion on the project, it will be up to APA - Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente to make a final decision on the project, which is expected to be positive, taking into account the favorable content of this study. of environmental impact.

An investment of 120 million euros is foreseen, under the exclusive responsibility of the private group Yilport, but which may be higher due to the expected growth in cargo handled at this container terminal in the port of Lisbon.

Speaking to Jornal Económico, Diogo Marecos, Liscont administrator, guarantees that “we have everything ready, we are just waiting for the authorizations to be able to proceed with the project”, which should happen during the first quarter of 2021.

“The investment in question does not foresee any expansion of the container terminal, unlike the previous project, presented by Liscont when it was still owned by the Mota-Engil Group. In the current version, an investment of around 120 million euros is expected for the purchase of more environmentally friendly equipment, a modernization that will allow the CO2 emission index [carbon dioxide] to be substantially reduced ”, guarantees Diogo Marecos to Jornal Económico.

The administrator of the subsidiary of the Turkish group Yilport ensures that “the terminal will not be extended, the current areas are maintained, but we intend to improve the operation with the new equipment, since the current one no longer responds to the needs of the sector, since , in this respect, the port of Lisbon was left behind in the race in relation to the ports of Sines or Leixões, for example ”.

“We want to put the port of Lisbon back among the international strategic lines that scale the country, because it is a port of vital importance for the country's economy, since it supplies around two million consumer citizens, especially the municipalities of Lisbon, Cascais, Loures or Vila Franca de Xira, for example. In this way, we will make products more accessible and cheaper ”, guarantees Diogo Marecos.

According to the Liscont administrator, "this investment will be made in a phased manner, with the initial acquisition of three state-of-the-art electrical gantries".

“It may even be that things are going well and that we increase the expected investment to more than 120 million euros. We will start this investment soon after authorization from APA. If everything goes well, we should start in the first quarter of 2021 ”, announces Diogo Marecos.

The Liscont administrator also explains that the investment currently planned for the container terminal “will not affect other surrounding areas, nor does it include the unevenness of the Alcântara node”.

This specific project foresees an investment of more than 400 million euros, will be evaluated separately at a later stage and is the sole responsibility of IP - Infraestruturas de Portugal.

“The present Environmental Impact Study (EIA) of the 'Modernization Project and Increase of Operational Efficiency of the Alcântara Container Terminal (TCA), in the Execution Project phase, was developed with the perspective of constituting an instrument to support the taking of decision on the environmental viability of the project under consideration ”, explains the document prepared by Proman.

According to this report, "it is noted that the present project has as its main objective to significantly improve the operational and environmental performance of this port terminal, recovering the insufficient investment made since 2003 and readjusting it to the new market conditions".

“In this context, with the implementation of the project, the following results are expected: a) to maintain and increase the condition of the Port of Lisbon, establishing it as the main port of call for long-distance maritime services; b) improve Environmental 'Performance'; c) improve energy performance ”, the document said.

The EIA of the Alcântara container terminal (TCA) adds that, “in relation to the first aspect, it should be noted that the port of Lisbon is located in the center of the most economically and demographically developed zone in the country”.

Hinterland concentrates 40% of national GDP
“In your hinterland proximity concentrates around 40% of the national GDP and lives more than 35% of the country's population. On the other hand, the opportunities for consolidating and expanding this hinterland to other geographic regions, namely the Iberian Peninsula. In the light of current growth forecasts, the project to modernize and increase the operational efficiency of TCA is considered a priority in the development plan for the port of Lisbon, being crucial to guarantee the improvement of the current service level and, consequently, its competitiveness ” , emphasizes the report.

In the opinion of those responsible for Proman, "the TCA is the only one in the port of Lisbon with a draft and the capacity to receive the container ships used on the great ocean routes that establish commercial connections between the different continents".

“For exporting and importing companies located in the hinterland from a port, the existence of a direct maritime connection to markets located on different continents, eliminating transshipments in third ports, allows the realization of significant savings in logistics costs and a consequent increase in competitiveness ”, points out the EIA.

The document goes on to state that, “with regard to the two other aspects mentioned above, the investment project was developed in order to minimize the environmental impacts resulting from the activities to be carried out”.

Road traffic reduction
“In fact, and in addition to the electrification of some port equipment, which will make it possible to reduce emissions of polluting and greenhouse gases and their operating noise, the diversification of transport modes for the distribution of containers from the terminal, reducing the share of road transport, replacing it with more aggregate and environmentally friendly modes of transport (river and rail transport), and the implementation of a road traffic management and optimization system, will contribute decisively to the reduction traffic on road accesses to the terminal and emissions of air pollutants ”, assumes the Proman study.

The EIA continues: “In this regard, it is said that the proponent [Liscont, of the Yilport Group] considered the future operation of the TCA according to three possible scenarios, both of growth in the movement of containers and in the modal distribution of the transport of these containers (highway , railway and river) ”.

“These three scenarios - BAU Scenario (Business as Usual), Investment Scenario (or Base Scenario) and Conservative Scenario, were analyzed and compared, namely with regard to noise, vibration and air quality descriptors, since the differences among them, they are fundamentally based on the relative weight of the different modes of transport (road, rail and river) of the volume of containers planned ”, reveals the aforementioned EIA.

For those responsible for Proman, “the EIA's main objective is to analyze the potential interference of the project, considering the different scenarios, in the biophysical and socio-economic environment and to propose mitigation measures that enable the sustainable implementation of the following phases (construction and exploration ) ”.

In order to achieve this objective, environmental descriptors susceptible to be affected by the inherent interventions of the project were selected for study, which were hierarchized (…), given the actions / activities inherent to the project and the characteristics of the intervention area and its surroundings ( …) ”And“ appropriate methodological approaches were used, adapted to the scope of the analyzes to be carried out, namely, the consultation with entities with information relevant to the study, the collection of available bibliographic data, the carrying out of field work, particularly with regard to it refers to the archaeological heritage, sound environment and vibrations, and the use of modeling techniques to support the analysis of impacts on air quality and noise ”.

Proman recalls that the investments foreseen in the PNI - National Investment Plan 2030 are grouped into four strategic thematic areas: Transport and Mobility, Environment, Energy and Irrigation.

“For the maritime-port sub-sector, included in the area of ​​Transport and Mobility, eight programs and projects were identified, among which stands out the M2 - Porto de Lisboa project, to be implemented in the period 2021 - 2030, with a global investment amount around 665 million euros ”, summarizes Proman.

According to the experts at Proman, the M2 project was defined with three major objectives: to adapt the infrastructure and equipment to the increase in the size of the ships and the expected demand; improve efficiency and competitiveness and links to the 'hinterland', with efficient and multimodal solutions; locate platforms for technological acceleration and new skills in the surrounding area of ​​Pedrouços dock.

02% emission reduction of C88
Among the planned interventions to be carried out under the M2 project, there are two directly related to the project under evaluation: increasing the capacity of the Alcântara terminal and reducing CO2 emissions by 88%, through the installation of modern electrified equipment, generating the creation of 285 jobs; and unevenness of the access branch and internal beam to the Alcântara terminal, complementing the unevenness of the connection of the Cascais line to the Cintura line of the port of Lisbon.

These projects will make it possible to achieve the following main benefits, according to the PNI2030: increasing the competitiveness of the Port of Lisbon and the national economy; creation of jobs; reduction of GHG emissions [Greenhouse Gases]; reduction of road congestion; and improving the level of service and security.

“It is verified, therefore, that the project under evaluation in the present EIA is properly framed in the PNI2030, insofar as it considers the interventions foreseen in the project under analysis, namely 'Capacity Increase of the Alcântara Container Terminal', as well as the electrification of equipment (eg RTG) operating in it, as structuring investments nationwide ”, the document in question says.

Proman warns that “regarding the unevenness of the access branch and the internal beam to the Alcântara terminal, although related to the project under study, it is an associated project under the responsibility of IP - Infraestruturas de Portugal”.

28% fewer trucks in 2027
“In summary, with the implementation of the project's investment scenario, the average annual value of trucks is expected to be reduced by around 28% in 2027 and 26%, compared to the current situation. Taking as a reference the results of the traffic study carried out for the exploration phase and the assessment of the respective impacts (…) it is expected that the impacts on the circulation on Avenida de Brasília will be positive, corresponding to a slight to moderate improvement in service levels. this way ”, foresees the TCA's EIA.

According to Proman's conclusions, “in addition to heavy vehicles, it is still to be noted that the implementation of the project will not cause changes in the movement of light vehicles, maintaining the movement of this type of vehicles on the main access roads, without adding of traffic associated with the project ”.

“It should also be noted that the project foresees the implementation of a TAS (Truck Appointment System) system designed to rationalize the traffic of trucks in accesses to the terminal”, underlines the EIA, adding that “the impacts resulting from the situations described above (whether related heavy and light traffic) are classified as positive, direct and indirect, certain, temporary, localized, reversible, of potentially high magnitude and significant, for the investment scenario ”.

Proman goes on to state that "it should be noted that the EIA was presented to the APA in August 2019".

“However, in view of the subsequent changes that occurred in the execution project, related to the location of the new building, as well as to a set of complementary questions raised in the EIA compliance analysis, which highlights the need to be considered and After analyzing a more conservative scenario (that is, closer to the current situation) in terms of modal distribution of container transport, it was APA's understanding that the proponent should proceed with the reformulation of the EIA. This report therefore corresponds to the revised version of the EIA presented in August 2019 ”, explains Proman.

Project reduced according to market expectations
The EIA assumes that, “as a result of the reduction in market expectations, the physical dimensions of the current project have been significantly reduced, compared to those foreseen in the project conceived in 2008”.

“It was thus possible to fully develop the current project within the area already concessioned and consigned to Liscont, dispensing with the incorporation of areas foreseen in the previous project, such as: the construction of the extension of the existing pier to the east, over an extension of 500 meters; the landfill of the area between the current pier of the Gare Marítima da Rocha do Conde de Óbidos and the extension of the pier that, in the previous project, would constitute a new embankment with an area of ​​55.724 square meters; the construction, within the Spanish dock (also called Doca de Alcântara), of a railway platform and a dock for barges, totaling an area of ​​14.352 square meters ”, guarantees the EIA in question.

Proman even says that, “unlike the previous project, the current project will even allow the dispensation of a strip of land to maintain road access to the Gare Marítima da Rocha area, to be located between the south wall of the Spanish dock and the future northern fence of the terminal, representing an area reduction of four thousand square meters ”.

“Regarding the previous project, the current project has a total area of ​​less than 7,4 hectares,” concludes the environmental impact study of the new project to modernize the Alcântara container terminal.

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