The port of Ceuta receives a ship to discharge 24,000 tons of diesel oil at its facilities.

The Port Authority of Ceuta continues to make important efforts for the supply of fuel and for creating new business opportunities to face the difficult situation caused by the pandemic.

The vessel ‘Ciego di Gaeta’ is discharging 24,000 tons of diesel at the Poniente dock. The ship arrived in the city on March 24, and is still completing the fuel discharge process at the port facilities, due to the large amount of diesel it carries. An operation of great importance for the port of Ceuta, which seeks to continue to be one of the main reference destinations for bunkering operations in the Strait of Gibraltar.

The diesel discharged these days is being stored in the Ducar I tanks, with the Vilma Oil company in charge of carrying out the process, which is expected to last until today. The diesel oil collected is intended for fuel supply operations for ships in the port of Ceuta, both (berthing) and on vessels at anchor (in the bay), to which the diesel is supplied by barges. The product is previously stored in the tanks of the aforementioned oil company until the request for supply from the different shipowners who come to the port.

The ship arrived this Wednesday at the port of Ceuta from Amsterdam with a total of 34,000 tons of diesel. Of this amount, 24,000 are being discharged in Ceuta and being deposited at the Ducar I facilities, located in San Amaro. Likewise, it is important to highlight that this operation has been carried out by the ship agent Miller y Cía.S.A., which operates for our port.

The discharge carried out in recent days has been a success, to a large extent, due to the port’s new docking infrastructures, which have facilitated the reception of this long-draft and long-draft ship. The operation is being completed in the new berth of the Poniente dock, discharging the product through a system of deployment and collection of hoses by reels.
This constant modernization of the facilities is a commitment that has been developed in the Port over the years to promote the entity’s competitiveness and thereby make our city a point of reference for the transport of oil products and supply operations.

In mid-April another large fuel discharge is planned in the port of Ceuta. This will be of greater quantity, with around 40,000 tons of fuel to store, which will also be destined to the supply of fuel to vessels in berths and in bay.

The Ceuta Port Authority continues to develop commercial policies focused on increasing this traffic, with particular force in recent months to deal with the pandemic. In this sense, the appropriate steps have been taken to achieve this objective, through the increase in the supply capacity and the specialization of port services, which entails a gradual increase in traffic and, therefore, an improvement in the future port results

The Port of Ceuta meets with exclusive cruise shipping companies in the ‘Seatrade Cruise Virtual’.

The Port Authority of Ceuta participated in the online meeting “Seatrade Cruise Virtual: expedition cruising”, a world event focused on cruises that every year meets the main agents of the sector.

On March 8th and 9th, the Port of Ceuta participated in the international event ‘Seatrade Cruise Virtual’. The event was held only online due to the influence of COVID-19. During the two days, the evolution of the industry regarding the pandemic, the experience of passengers, health protocols, the safety of passengers and some new technologies applied to ships were discussed.

This event is shown as an alternative to the traditional world Cruise event, which every year meets the main agents of the sector in Miami. A virtual meeting with the intention of generating new business relationships and, in turn, obtaining the most relevant information on the cruise area. Thanks to this new appointment, attendees have been able to investigate the most innovative products and services of the suppliers, contact other members of the community and check how to face the future after the pandemic.

At this time, the crisis generated by COVID-19 paralysed many economic sectors, such as tourism, of great importance for our country and for Ceuta. In Spain, since the central government decreed the state of alert and prohibited this activity (as in all of Europe), there has already been a year without cruises, with the exception of the Canary Islands where they began operations this winter with coastal traffic cruises. An inactivity that, if it started again, would boost activity in shops, museums and restaurants in the city, etc. In addition to these sectors, the transport sector, security and port services such as supply companies, companies in charge of managing of waste, pilots, tugboats, auxiliary services, ship agents, tour operators, in addition to the Authority itself are great beneficiaries of the arrival of tourists.

The Ceuta Port Authority is aware of the great virtues of Ceuta as a destination and wanted to expose it during these days to show the benefits of making a call in our city, which has port facilities specifically prepared to offer the best service to customers, with a new terminal fro cruises at the Spanish dock, near the city center, with simple and fast access for boats and passengers.
These values and the great attractions of the city of Ceuta stand out in the line of work that the commercial team of the Port Authority has maintained in 2020 and that now they continue to promote a program adapted to new forms of promotion with close contact with the shipping companies to provide them with all the updated information, enabling a virtual meeting managed by State Ports. The contacts focused on the itinerary planners of the respective shipping companies in the expedition sector, opening an opportunity to attract this type of exclusive tourism. The expedition cruise seeks very special destinations and experiences, counting on a more active and young passenger profile, concerned about the environment, interested in training themselves and learning more about local communities with sustainable and responsible experiences. Hence, the shipping companies that are dedicated to this sector are shipping companies with vessels of smaller size and capacity, considered luxury ones.

Despite the stop in the cruise activity, the Port Authority and specifically from the commercial area, we continued to work in a coordinated way with the sector (shipping companies, ship agents, tour operators, markets and public institutions) in a “safe tourism” that allows guaranteeing the quality of the offe with strict security protocols and new routes that diversify the offer of excursions for ships in Ceuta to prepare for the new way of travel and receive cruise passengers who arrive at the Port when the different Administrations give the authorization to these operations.

In addition to the demanding protocols established by the shipping companies to increase the safety of the destination, passengers and crew, the Port Authority of Ceuta and the Tourist Services of the City of Ceuta developed a diversified tourist offer within the city and its surroundings with “bubble” excursions when the central government authorizes the arrival of international cruise ships. These protocols establish exclusively guided excursions, small groups and more outdoor experiences, among others.

Regarding national cruises, the Ceuta Port Authority is in continuous contact with the shipping companies that carry out itineraries between Spanish ports to provide all the updated information on the measures adopted against the pandemic and to work in alignment to offer the greatest security to passengers. Likewise, the Port continues to collaborate closely with the institutions, at the local level, to adapt protection measures following the recommendations of the health authorities.

The Port of Ceuta offers a computer tool to inform in real time about the meteorological and oceanographic conditions in Ceuta.

The Port of Ceuta is part of SAMOA 2, a co-financed project in which 18 port authorities and State Ports participate and which provides ports with personalized systems for consulting and exploiting oceanographic and meteorological information.

The Port Authority of Ceuta continues to update itself to offer a more complete service to companies and users everyday. Currently, the Port has made available to the public a totally free computer program called ‘Cuadro de Mando Ambiental’ (CMA) that allows the oceanographic and meteorological information of Ceuta to be consulted in real time. The data can be searched from any other device through the web

This system has been implemented in our city framed in SAMOA 2 project (Meteorological and Oceanographic Support System of the Port Authority), of which the local port authority has been a member since February 2019. The initiative is a continuation of the SAMOA project, whose objective is to improve the oceanography and meteorology systems, as well as the forecast and measurement of the physical environment.

The project, co-financed by the 18 participating port authorities and State Ports, allows each member to have an own interface adapted to each one specific needs. This system bases its operation on three key elements: real-time monitoring of the sea state, numerical forecast models to estimate its evolution and the mechanisms for accessing information and generating customizable alerts for each user.

With this tool, internal tasks of the local institution are facilitated, such as the planning of activity closures, the optimized use of moorings and esplanades, operations with cranes, pilotage tasks, the fight against marine pollution or the quality control of water, among others.

However, in addition to being a system that facilitates the work of the Port, it is also a very useful instrument for potential clients or for any citizen who loves nature. This tool has updated data on waves, currents, wind, water temperature and salinity, information that is extremely important when carrying out any task on our coast.

For this reason, the Port of Ceuta wanted to show the ease of use of this free tool. To be updated regarding oceanography and meteorology in Ceuta, you only have to register on the website and request the data you want to obtain. As of the receipt of the confirmation, the user has all the information in real time at once.

Following the resolution published in the Spanish bulletin BOE in 2019 by which the State Ports agreement with the Ceuta Port Authority became effective, some relevant investments were carried out to make the SAMOA 2 project successfully. The Port Authority of Ceuta included some items for a software applied to the local port, a very high resolution current prediction system and real-time alerts based on instrumentation and integrated into the CMA.

With SAMOA 2, six additional modules have been developed and are being integrated into the CMA, managed by the port administrators. These are: real-time alerts, high-resolution weather forecast, rebases, operational area forecast, long wave forecast and measurement campaigns.

The Port of Ceuta renews its PERS certification and remains within the ‘Ecoports’ network.

The PERS certification is the only European accreditation of specific environmental management of the port sector and is granted to those port authorities that fulfill the sustainability standards previously set by the European Commission.

The Port has renewed its certification thanks to its environmental commitment, with actions such as the acquisition of the ‘USV Vendaval’ and the approval of an instruction for the reduction of hydrogen sulphide emissions.

The Port Authority of Ceuta (APC) has renewed for two more years its PERS (Port Environmental Review System) certification given by the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO). This renewal is a new step within the commitment that the Port of Ceuta made towards an increasingly sustainable action and a policy focused on improving the environmental conditions of the city.

With this certification, the port of Ceuta remains within the ‘Ecoports’ port network, the main environmental initiative of the European port sector. The objective of this organization is to improve environmental management and raise awareness about the protection of the environment, through cooperation and the exchange of knowledge among ports. In Spain, there are currently only 8 port authorities with the PERS, being the port of Ceuta the last one to join, in January 2019.

The APC had set the objective of being re-certified before the end of the validation period, in January 2021, for which it had to comply with standards set by the Ecoports Foundation. PERS certification requires the port to propose a series of measures to demonstrate effective environmental management. These measures range from identifying and monitoring environmental challenges so as to improve communication with the local community and increasing transparency, through the creation and publication of an environmental report. In addition, obtaining the certification implies the principle of “continuous improvement”, which in turn means carrying out new actions and innovative projects of an environmental nature.

On this occasion, the APC contributed to this environmental improvement with the acquisition of the “USV Vendaval”; a vessel capable of carrying out missions in a totally autonomous way, including environmental surveillance and protection; and the approval in 2019 of an instruction for the reduction of hydrogen sulphide emissions.

The PERS certification system incorporates, in addition to the main general recognised environmental management requirements (such as ISO 14001), the specifications of the ports. This system is based on ESPO’s policy recommendations, which provide ports with clear objectives to achieve and its implementation is independently reviewed by Lloyd’s Register.

ESPO, founded in 1993, represents the maritime ports of the European Union (EU), and defends the common interests of its members, acting as an official negotiator of the enclaves before the European Commission. Its main mission is to influence the common policy of the EU, with the aim of strengthening the European port sector as a key element in the transport chain, offering greater security and efficiency, and allowing it to operate in a liberalised market, within the framework of a competitive and sustainable industry.

The ESPO structure is made up of a permanent office in Brussels, a General Assembly, an Executive Committee and 6 specialised committees in several areas of the port activity. Specifically, the APC is represented in one of these committees, which are in charge of managing and representing common interests among the member ports, as well as acting as speakers before the European institutions and their legislators.

The work of the Port in terms of sustainability does not stop, since the commitment of the APC remains firm, with the intention of fulfilling the requirements and continuing to contribute to the better development of port activities in our city.

‘Adventure Zero’ makes a port of call in Ceuta before starting its voyage around the world for the fifth centenary of the Magellan-Elcano expedition.

The captain of ‘Adventure Zero’, Jimmy Cornell, aims to be the first to complete the world tour in a fully electric powered boat.

The boat ‘Adventure Zero’ arrived this morning at the marina. The writer and navigator Jimmy Cornell is going to start the-world trip on this yacht to commemorate the fifth centenary of the expedition initiated by Magellan and Elcano, the first completed circumnavigation of the earth. The Elcano Challenge, name of the project, will begin this November 2020 and its completion is scheduled for August / September 2021, reproducing the voyage of the 1519 expedition, with calls in the same places.

One of the main novelties of this adventure is that the catamaran is 100% electric, without any type of combustion engine, so the navigation and the duration of the voyage will depend largely on the weather conditions. The ship was built in the south of France and is on its way to Seville, where the National Commission of the V Centenary is waiting for and from where the route around the world will begin.

During these days of navigation, he has taken advantage of his passage through the Strait of Gibraltar to make a port of call in our port and charge the batteries, since the boat has been sailing for several days in calm in the southern Western Mediterranean and without movement it cannot be recharged out of port.

This symbolic voyage consists of completing the historic route of the first round the world trip in a fully electric powered boat. The project, part of the list of official commemorative events of the V Centenary of the First Round the World Trip, is called “Elcano Challenge” in recognition of the first sailors who managed to complete this feat. However, the organizers also wanted with this name to represent the growing concern for the environment (Electricity. Carbon, NO!).

The project manager, Jimmy Cornell, is an experienced sailor, author, and nautical event organizer, who has sailed more than 200,000 miles in all the world’s oceans, including three circumnavigations, as well as trips to Antarctica and the Northwest Passage. The captain is also the author of 16 books on nautical matters, some of which have been translated into several languages: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian and Japanese.

The Port Authority of Ceuta promotes the Sentry Stations project in the port area.

The program is based on the control and monitoring of the quality of port waters through marine biological indicators, an action framed within the general scope of the protection of the marine environment and the healthy maintenance of water ecosystems under the influence of industrial and economic activities.

The Port Authority of Ceuta continues its commitment to environmental programs that help to understand and respect the natural resources of the marine ecology of the city. In relation to this, the Port, through the ‘Museo del Mar’ foundation, has promoted a scientific study on the ecological impacts on the marine environment. This Port environmental program has been working for more than a decade, providing consistent results in terms of marine ecology and knowledge of species and their habitats. Thanks to this, the “Fundación Museo del Mar de Ceuta” has been developing an extensive analysis for months, which has data accumulated during four years about the monitoring the Sentry Stations. New biological indicators, such as the detailed study of micro-algae and other analyzes of water masses such as sedimentation or the concentration of micro-plastics, are being incorporated into the monitoring of the mentioned stations.

The port area of Ceuta is a unique space in which, despite the polluting impacts, marine communities of great interest are developing. In such a way that currently there is no port in Spain of the same size as Ceuta, in terms of environmental characteristics. This verifiable fact constitutes a port environmental potential that has not been developed so far, but it deserves a lot of attention for the future, since a port infrastructure needs not only to take care of its waters environmentally, but also to spread the results obtained, especially if it manages an unusual marine environment compared to many other port enclaves. Therefore, it is easy to understand that the Port has a direct and indirect influence on the rich coastline of Ceuta and, furthermore, it is considered necessary to maintain and promote the conservation programs for the marine ecosystem of Ceuta.

The Sentry Stations project based on marine species and habitats is part of the general scope of the protection of the marine environment and the healthy maintenance of water ecosystems under the influence of industrial and economic activities. The Directive “Habitat y la Red Natura 2000” are considered the most interesting legal instruments for the preservation of marine biodiversity and the habitats.

Ceuta already has three protected areas within this EU regulation. In this sense, Directive 2000/60 / EC, or the Water Framework Directive (DMA), is the one that establishes the general criteria for the member countries of the EU. Therefore, it is mandatory in the field of European port waters and it is the port authorities that must contribute to the chemical quality of the waters, as well as to the good ecological status, based on habitats and marine species. The gradual expansion of the Sentry Stations has been necessary due to the diverse and varied industrial and economic activities that are being developed in the waters of the North Bay within the LICES-6310002 and the new protected space proposed to protect and help the conservation of a magnificent set of escarpments and small submerged mountains distributed from the APC control buoy to the Bay of Benzú.

The Hydrographic Confederations have implemented a system of participation in which the APC, through the “Fundación Museo del Mar”, has been an active agent. The legal protection of the Water Framework Directive has served as a foundation for the regulatory development and to study in depth the knowledge and management of water bodies. It is precisely the Hydrological Plan of the Demarcation of Ceuta, which includes the guidelines and important issues. In this sense, the aforementioned plan incorporates a considerable potential to improve the state of the coastal water mass of the Port of Ceuta, based on the study of biological indicators (precisely the main action carried out by the Sentry Station network). Consequently, any new activity in the port’s economic development zones will have to be regulated for the preservation of the environmental capacity of the region’s marine ecosystem.

Finally, the Port Authority ensures that the legislative regulation on species and habitats must be taken into account in a fundamental way, given the unique characteristics of the Port of Ceuta and its areas of influence, which are home to several species protected by the CEEA (Spanish Catalog of Threatened Species) and others included in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). All this has been documented through the Indicators reports and general previous publications of the marine ecosystem of Ceuta.

The Port of Ceuta participates this week in the “Seatrade Cruise Virtual” event.

This is a four days virtual fair that allows the cruise community to generate contacts, investigate the news in the sector, participate in conferences on several topics and discover what the future plans of the companies are.

Since this Monday, October 5th, the Port Authority of Ceuta is participating in the ‘Seatrade Cruise Virtual’. The event will last four days in which a digital forum will be carried out aimed at suppliers, cruise lines and members of the sector. During these days, the Port of Ceuta will attend videoconferences, presentations and online talks that will be held from different parts of the world and will show the attractions of Ceuta to attract new companies that may be interested in operating in the city.

Given the cancellation of the two face-to-face fairs that were planned for this year, the Seatrade Cruise Global and the Seatrade Med, the ‘Seatrade Cruise Virtual 2020’ was born as a technological alternative created as a digital and safe meeting point for shipping companies and destinations. Throughout the event, the organization estimates that around 400 cruise executives will attend, being a vital fair to bring together the main leaders of the sector and establish very beneficial contacts for all parties.

The objective of these conferences is the creation of new commercial relationships, but it is also a relevant event in order to obtain the most important and updated information on the cruise area. Thanks to these presentations, attendees will investigate the most innovative products and services of the providers, will contact other members of the cruise community and will be able to get a slight idea of the future plans of the main companies in the sector.

This time, the Port of Ceuta will take part in an initiative designed by “Puertos del Estado”. It is a participation similar to the one you have in a physical pavilion, called “Ports of Spain” in which the profile of the Port of Ceuta is included so that any shipping company or executive from any point can have access, consult our information or being able to contact “in situ” in order to establish close relationships with shipping companies that are attractive to the port of Ceuta.

At present, several cruise lines operate in the Port of Ceuta: Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Saga Cruises and P&O Cruises. The port facilities of the city are specifically prepared to offer the best service to cruise ships, with a new cruise terminal (muelle de España) near to the city center and with a simple and fast access.

In addition to having excellent facilities for the reception of cruises, Ceuta is an enclave full of attractions: its location, its gastronomy, its climate, its cultural miscegenation, the coexistence of religions, its competitive prices and its cultural wealth. All these are values ​​that the Port Authority, together with the Tourist Services of Ceuta, wants to promote and show the main leaders of the sector to attract new businesses to the city. Likewise, they are offered information about the tax advantages of the Port of Ceuta as it is understood that this aspect may be essential when our port is chosen as a port of call for cruise ships.

The Ceuta port profile seeks to highlight those activities and places that may be most striking for tourists: the Mediterranean Maritime Park, the Isabel II viewpoint, the San Antonio viewpoint, the Royal Walls, the Tardorromana Basilica or the route on the Desnarigado boat to enjoy the coasts, among others.

To all this, we add the total commitment of the Port Authority of Ceuta to be a completely safe space against COVID-19. In fact, the Port has adopted the Royal Decree Law 21/2021 on urgent prevention, restraint and coordination measures to deal with the current situation.

During last months, the Port Authority has implemented an information and promotion campaign for its services. Among them: attendance at other virtual seminars such as the CLIA association (International Cruise Lines Association), which is the largest and most important global organization in the sector, Medcruise (Mediterranean Cruise Ports Association). In the same way, the launch of the new electronic site that allows companies, citizens and other administrations to submit online applications and monitor their procedures related to the Port, and also, the new design of the web which aims to promote the “Puerto de Ceuta” comercial brand on the internet.










*The interview made by the Port Authority of Ceuta appears on pages 38-39.

Strait-talking. Ceuta Port-profile

The Strait of Gibraltar is a highly competitive bunker market with four key ports vying to capture business. Lesley Bankes-Hughes reports on how the Port of Ceuta is taking steps to optimise and grow its marine fuel operations.

Located in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in North Africa, the Port of Ceuta is a
key port and bunker supply location in the Strait of Gibraltar. One of shipping’s main chokepoints, the Strait of Gibraltar is at the crossroads of East-West/North-South trade lanes, with over 100,000 vessels passing
through the channel each year. As such, the demand for bunkers is strong but competition for this business is fierce and the Port of Ceuta, in looking to build its market share and capture new customers, must compete with the neighbouring ports of Tanger Med and, across the Strait to the North, the ports of Gibraltar and Algeciras.

In an interview with Bunkerspot, the Port Authority of Ceuta said its future focus will be on improving the competitiveness of the port through infrastructure investment and modernising its fuel supply facilities. In terms of growing its marine fuel business, the port authority said: ‘Our goal is to retain the supply market for medium-sized vessel which is one of our specialisations. We are also looking to take advantage of emerging market opportunities and introduce supply operations in the bay for larger tonnage’. In the future, the por t is looking to develop infrastructure to accommodate
Panamax-size vessels up to 77,000 DWT and with a draft of 12.5 metres. Cargo volumes have increased at the Port
of Ceuta in recent years. In 2019, throughput increased 2.1% year on year and volumes totalled 2.5 million tons. Liquid bulk cargo handling, including oil products, is a mainstay of the port’s operations and liquid bulk currently accounts for a third of all throughput. In 2019, liquid bulk cargo (loaded and unloaded) totalled 872,261 tons.

The construction of new berthing at the Poniente (Western) dock has also enabled the port to receive tankers up to 227 metres long and with a 12.5 metre draft. The expansion of the port’s facilities to accommodate larger tonnage also extends to the cruise ship sector, where construction work at the Muelle España (Spain Quay) has enabled Ceuta to receive cruise ships of 300 metres in length and with capacity for over 3,000 passengers.

Cruise ship passenger numbers at the port have remained relatively constant in recent years. While the Port Authority notes a recent slight decline in the number of cruise ship calls, it highlights that larger cruise ships with greater passenger capacity are now visiting the port. The cruise ship business is expected to grow at Ceuta and the Port Authority says it is actively working to promote Ceuta as a hub for cruise ship calls.

In terms of its marine fuel business, the port has seen a steady growth trajectory for supply volumes in recent years. In 2019, it recorded an increase of 5% over the year before, reaching a total of 772,500 metric tonnes (mt), and
the growth has been reflected in both the number and the size of ships supplied with fuel. In the first quarter (Q1) of 2020, the Port of Ceuta supplied around 200,000 mt of marine fuel, putting it in fourth place in a ranking of Spanish ports’ supply volumes. The number of vessel calls at Ceuta is also on the rise: in 2019 there were 11,085 calls at the port – the first time that the milestone of 75 million GT had been exceeded. An increase in the number of passenger vessels operating on regular schedules between Ceuta and Algeciras contributed to the rise in vessel calls.

The number of bunkers-only calls at the port also increased in 2019 – there were 3,101 refuelling stopovers, which was a 5.5% increase over 2018. Bunker supply at the Port of Ceuta is offered by Cepsa, which has its own storage facility, and Vilma Oil, which stores product at the DÚCAR storage facility. Cepsa manages the 100,000 square metre
storage facility of its subsidiary Atlas. This is connected via a pipeline to the Poniente dock and it can supply bunkers at berth or by barge at anchorages in the bay. This terminal receives over 60 ships each year, delivering products such as LNG, gasoline and automotive diesel for the city of Ceuta. It also supplies around 1,500 vessels a year with marine fuel. Cepsa sources its marine fuels from its own refinery at Algeciras.

DÚCAR, where Vilma stores its product, has two storage terminals, DÚCAR 1 and DÚCAR II. DÚCAR 1 is located near the Levante (Eastern) dock at Ceuta and has a total storage capacity of 83,500 cubic metres (cbm) across 11 tanks. DÚCAR II has a total storage capacity of 36,000 cbm across three tanks.

The DÚCAR terminals have heated tanks and they have a hose connection to the Levante and the Poniente docks.
Both DÚCAR terminals currently handle a total 800,000 mt of bunker fuel each year, supplying around 3,400 vessels. Vilma Oil operates the 2009-built Spabunker 40 at the Port of Ceuta. The 2,551 GT barge has a capacity of 2,600 mt of fuel oil and 1,200 mt of marine diesel oil (MDO). In February this year, Cepsa brought the Spabunker 60 into service at the port. Constructed at the Unión Valencia Naval Shipyard, the double-hulled barge has a capacity for 2,300 mt of fuel oil and 700 mt of MDO. The Spabunker 60 supplies fuel to vessels at anchorage and, according to the Port Authority of Ceuta, the addition of the barge has facilitated bunker supply to 40-50 more ships per month.

At the Port of Ceuta, bunker delivery is expipe and by truck and, says the port, these supply options plus barge supply to vessels at anchorage ‘significantly reduce waiting times’. Ahead of the introduction of the 0.50% sulphur
global cap on 1 January, the port prepared to secure supply of very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) and the port authority says it viewed this as marking a new phase in its strategy to increase bunkering operations.

‘The Port Authority has been developing trade policies aimed at capturing and increasing vessel traffic for some time. So the appropriate steps have been made to achieve this objective by increasing our supply capacity and optimising our services, which is leading to an increase in traffic and, therefore, an improvement in port results,’ it told Bunkerspot.

The first delivery of VLSFO took place on 1 November last year, when Vilma Oil offloaded 34,500 mt from the Swedish vessel, Ridgebury Colette B at the Poniente dock– an operation which took 35 hours to complete. Vilma Oil also undertook the first physical delivery of VLSFO on 7 November, when the Turkish vessel Kurtulus received 90 mt of bunkers. According to the Port Authority, ‘VLSFO as a replacement for high sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) has produced high confidence in the market and the port has increased its commercialisation’.

In the first three months of 2020, some 185,000 mt of low sulphur fuel were supplied to ships at berth and at anchorage – split between VLSFO (125,000 mt) and MGO (60,000 mt). The Strait of Gibraltar is the largest bunker market in the Mediterranean and the second largest in Europe, behind the Amsterdam- Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region. While Ceuta has responded to the IMO 2020 mandate by ensuring a consistent supply of low sulphur fuels, the Port Authority also highlighted its price competitiveness in relation to the other Strait of Gibraltar ports.

‘The high competitiveness of our port companies contributes to this, reducing the cost of the services provided and
therefore the final price per tonne,’ it said. In terms of port calls by vessels equipped with scrubbers, the Port Authority noted that: ‘The use of open scrubbers in port waters can be authorised if certain requirements are met, according to published regulations for vessels equipped with these systems. ‘Authorisation may be granted after a favourable report by the Captain of the Port and would be limited to certain areas of the port.’ The port acted quickly to safeguard its operations and ensure business continuity as the coronavirus pandemic began to impact national
economies and global trade in early 2020.

‘The supply of fuel is being carried out without any restriction and under the highest standards of safety and hygiene,’ said the Port Authority. It noted that there has been a 2% reduction in the number of vessel calls at the port during the pandemic, but it says there has not been any marked reduction in bunker volumes. The Port Authority also said that ship inspections are not being carried out at present.

The Balearia-operated vessel, Passio per Formentera, has continued to make 2-3 daily transits to and from Algeciras
during the business week, with one crossing at the weekend. At the time of writing in mid-May, the vessel was carrying only 10%-15% of its cargo capacity and was principally delivering essential goods to Ceuta.

Looking ahead, the Port Authority said it will be taking steps to act on its environmental responsibilities. It currently has provision for shore power for small vessels at the Muelle España and is developing strategies to monitor water and air quality. It has also implemented energy efficiency measures through, for example, the acquisition of electric vehicles for operations within the port environment.