ESPO Port pro of the month: José Luis Cacho (PT)

This month we talked to Mr. José Luis Cacho, President of the Ports of Sines and the Algarve (APS). He told us about his long-term vision for the ports, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the port sector, and shared his view on the role decarbonisation and digitalisation play in the ports. Read the whole interview below to see the other interesting topics he talked about!

Can you briefly tell us about the Ports of Sines and the Algarve? What are their main characteristics and challenges?

APS – Ports of Sines and the Algarve Authority manages the ports of Sines, Faro and Portimão, these two being located in the Algarve. While Faro is a very small general cargo port, endowed to serve the local hinterland, Portimão is the unique cruise port in the Algarve. Having registered 57 calls in 2019 and nearly 23.000 passengers, Portimão receives medium and small sized vessels, mostly luxury cruise vessels. Due to the difficult situation the cruise industry is presently facing, I would say that the main challenge for Portimão will be to regain calls, bringing back cruise vessels and passengers to the Algarve.

The Port of Sines is the country’s leading port in terms of total throughput, handling 50% of Portugal’s total volumes of cargo, while in containerised cargo particularly, Sines’ share goes up to 56%. Besides being the country’s leading supplier for energetic products, Sines also offers a strategic potential for the development of both the LNG and Hydrogen renewable markets. In fact, the unique LNG Terminal in the country is located at the Port of Sines, being responsible for nearly 90% of Portugal’s needs. We must also add that decarbonisation is setting a new scenario for the port, since we have almost completely stopped the handling of coal. In this way, one of our challenges is to enhance the Dry Bulk Terminal activity, and we have been working on attracting new businesses, especially in the agro-business. They would benefit from the excellent conditions offered by both the terminal and the Industrial and Logistics Zone which are located next to each other, with more than 4.000 hectares able to receive new investments.

Notwithstanding the remaining types of cargo, I must say that our main challenge is, in fact, containerised cargo. Sines offers a container terminal – Terminal XXI, operated by PSA Sines (part of PSA International), who is expanding the terminal, doubling its annual capacity to 4.1MTEU. Currently offering direct regular services to the international leading markets, Terminal XXI is endowed to be the Atlantic Hub par excellence, since it is the first deep water port in West Europe, offering -17mHZ.

Besides the expansion of Terminal XXI, the port authority has launched an international public tender for the construction and operation of a second container terminal – Terminal Vasco da Gama (TVG). Offering -20mHZ, TVG will offer a total capacity of 3.5MTEU.

I believe we can say that the sun will shine in Sines in the near future.

How did you get into maritime transport? How did your career path lead to this position?

My first professional approach to the port and maritime sector goes back to 1999, as Member of the Board of the Port of Aveiro. From 2005 to 2015 I was CEO of the Port of Aveiro and at the same time, from 2010 to 2013, I assumed the Presidency of the Portuguese Ports Association (APP) for the first time. In addition, in 2011 I also assumed the Presidency of the Association of Portuguese Speaking Ports (APLOP), which gathers a series of ports from countries like Brazil, Angola, Mozambique and Cabo Verde, among others, sharing the common goal to create synergies and promote commercial, technical and operational cooperation.

2016 brought me a new challenge – being the CEO of the Port of Sines, the biggest port in the country and, already, an important European port. As CEO of Sines I have also returned to the Presidency of APP last October.

My port journey continues and I am eager to lead the Port of Sines towards the top 10 league of the European Ports.

What is your vision for the Ports of Sines and the Algarve for the next decade? . . . . . . .

. . . . continue reading on the ESPO website here