LISBON, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Port of Leixoes, outside Porto in Portugal's north, is to receive 510 million euros (630 million U.S. dollars)of investment, Portugal's Minister for the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino, announced on Tuesday.
"The Leixoes Terminal is one of the top ports in the national system," said Vitorino, "and is rightly, therefore, one of the ports where we make the biggest investment."
Vitorino was speaking to local journalists in the town of Matosinhos where the Port of Leixoes is located. She was attending the launch of the Blue School Project, a scheme designed to encourage interest in the sea among school children.
According to Vitorino, 60 percent of the port investment would be financed by the private sector.
"The aim is to not only increase the capacity and efficiency of the existing port terminal, but create a new terminal with the capacity to receive bigger ships," she said.
Besides building a new terminal, there are plans to extend the breakwater and deepen the access channel and turning basin.
Some of these projects are already underway and ought to be finished by 2021. Others are at the engineering study stage or awaiting environmental impact assessments. The whole project should be completed by 2026.
According to figures released by the Mobility and Transport Authority (AMT), the Port of Leixoes enjoyed a record year in 2017, handling 19.47 million tonnes of cargo.
This made it the second busiest port in Portugal, after Sines, some 160 km south of Lisbon, accounting for 20.3 percent of the total volume.
In 2016, the Leixoes terminal closed for six months as its mooring buoy was upgraded. (1 euro = 1.23 U.S. dollars)