Following a public tender process, Global Ports Holding (GPH), the world’s largest independent cruise port operator, the Port Authority of Las Palmas has awarded preferred bidder status to Global Ports Canary Islands (GPCI).
GPCI is an 80:20 joint venture between GPH and Sepcan and the contract will involve operating cruise port concessions for Las Palmas Cruise Ports.
The concessions cover Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Arrecife (Lanzarote) and Puerto del Rosario (Fuerteventura), which have tenures attached of 40 years, 20 years and 20 years, respectively.
GPH, GPCI and the Port Authority of Las Palmas are now working towards agreeing the concessions terms. The concessions are expected to commence before the end of the current financial year, although there can be no certainty as to the timing or that the final conditions will be satisfied, GPH said.
Las Palmas Ports (including the three islands), with about 1.5 mill passengers annually, is ranked the third busiest ports in Spain after Barcelona and the Balearic Islands and in Europe’s top 20.
Las Palmas Ports are a also key destination for Southern Atlantic itineraries with good air connectivity. Unlike other European ports that were closed to cruise traffic during the pandemic, in 2020, the three ports in Las Palmas welcomed over 500,000 passengers with the ‘bubble cruises’ around the islands.
There is a huge demand for winter cruising in the region, due to the mild climate during this period of the year, compared with other regions in Europe, plus the cultural and outdoor activities.
Sepcan is a Canary Island family-owned company that has been providing services to the port of Las Palmas since 1936 and since 1998 has been focused on mooring/unmooring, luggage handling, ships’ provisioning and passenger services. The company also specialises in environmental services and maritime pollution prevention.
GPH CEO Emre Sayin, said: “I am thrilled that Global Ports Canary Islands has been awarded preferred bidder status for Las Palmas Cruise Ports. We will work closely with the Port Authority of Las Palmas towards successful conclusion of the concession agreements.
“Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, GPH is continuing to deliver on its strategic ambitions of growing its cruise port network. The addition of Las Palmas Cruise Ports will take the total number of cruise ports GPH operates to 22, increasing the cruise passenger capacity to over 15 mill passengers per year,” he said.