The Port of Bilbao
is located on the Bilbao Abra
bay, and along the Estuary of Bilbao
, in Biscay
). The main facilities are in the Santurtzi
municipalities, approximately 15 km (9.3mi) west of Bilbao
. Also called Exterior Port
, the port complex occupies 3.13 km² (773 acres) of land and 16.94 km² (4,186 acres) of water along 17 km (10.5mi) of waterfront.
The history of the port is absolutely linked to the history of Bilbao
itself, so the date of its foundation is that of the city's foundation.
In 1300 Bilbao was granted the status of city and the control of the maritime traffic entering its estuary. The first docks were built at Bilbao's old town, 15 km (9.1mi) away from the sea.These docks were the center of the port's activity for more than five centuries.In 1511 the Consulate of Bilbao
privilege was granted, which allowed the port control over the northern European wool export routes.
During the 19th century extensive iron resources were found in the nearby hills, this boosted the industrial revolution
in the zone and the estuary of Bilbao was covered by steel and shipbuilding industries and the docks expanded from Bilbao to the bay. All activity relied on the navigability of the river so engineer Evaristo Churruca
developed an enormous project that would solve the traditional navigation problems of the river:
- Dangerous sand banks that changed the course constantly.
- Many complicated meanders.
- Large extents of......