The expansion of the port of Valencia has saved its first legal obstacle. The Superior Court of Justice of the Valencian Community has dismissed the appeal against the specifications of the concession in the northern extension. The sentence is the first accolade to a work that is in a political and business crossfire. The Port defends that it is essential for the development of container traffic but Compromís, a partner of the Valencian Government, opposes it because it considers that the Declaration of Environmental Impact that endorses it is expired because it is from 2007. In turn, it is in front of a contest between two of the largest shipping companies, the Chinese Cosco and the European MSC.
CSP Iberian Valencia Terminal (formerly Noatum) is a company owned by the Chinese shipping company Cosco that operates one of the container terminals in Valencia. This firm appealed the public tender for the concession of the expansion of the port with its container terminal. Noatum asked to declare null the resolution of the Port Authority of Valencia 2018 with the specifications of the new terminal and to which only the Italian-Swiss multinational MSC was finally presented.
The enlargement is immersed in a political, business and geopolitical struggle
Noatum, in which the Chinese giant Cosco participates together with JP Morgan, considered that the PAV had not substantially answered many of its questions and that the conditions set forth in the specifications limited competition because in practice they prevented it from accessing that concession.
The State Bar defended the actions of the PAV. In a judgment of December 2 to which El Periódico de España has had access, the fifth section of the contentious issue of the Valencia Supreme Court “does not consider the principle of equal treatment between bidders and transparency to have been violated.” “The bidders come under equal conditions without it being possible to consider that no bidder is in a worse condition than the rest due to the configuration of the criteria contained in the tender documents,” says the resolution.
The ruling recalls that the first objective of the expansion is “to consolidate the position of the port of Valencia as a mixed hub for interoceanic traffic in the Mediterranean and to increase the traffic of containerized goods in order to ensure growth of this in absolute terms and of the quota market ”.
It does not consider the principle of equal treatment between bidders and transparency to be infringed
Noatum raised a series of technical objections to the specifications but the Supreme Court considers that they fall within “the freedom of the PAV to modulate the criteria to achieve greater efficiency of the terminal” and that this “does not imply any violation of the principles denounced” .
Throughout 38 pages, the sentence breaks down Noatum’s objections and accepts all the positions of the State Bar. Finally, it orders the appellants to pay costs and sets them at 4,000 euros. An appeal is possible against the sentence but it represents the first judicial victory of the expansion of the port of Valencia.
The case has generated enormous controversy. Compromís, a partner in the autonomous government chaired by the socialist Ximo Puig, is against the work. It considers that the Environmental Impact Statement that gave the green light to the work is expired and that a new one would have to be made. The Port Authority, dependent on the Ministry of Transport, is the one who carries out the work, although MSC will operate it if everything continues as planned. The idea is to turn Valencia into one of the main container ports in the Mediterranean, but the enlargements of the ports generate environmental effects such as the regression of neighboring beaches.
Noatum already operates one of the container terminals and MSC another. Although Noatum has appealed the statement, it finally did not enter the contest, which leaves the way for MSC. That, if the Port overcomes the controversy within the regional Executive.