The Business Year

José Castel-Branco

PORTUGAL - Transport

José Castel-Branco

Member of the Board of Directors, Administration of the Port of Lisbon (APL)


José Castel-Branco is CFO of APL as well as the Administration of Ports of Setúbal and Sesimbra (APSS). He is chairman of the supervisory board at Infraestruturas de Portugal and head of the office of the minister of finance of the XIV Government. José Castel-Branco is also executive director at Public Participations SGPS, executive director of Estradas de Portugal, and chairman of the supervisory board at Metro and Carris. He is also CFO of Portuguese Roads Public Company, member of Audit Supervisory Board of CGD.

Despite the pandemic and general uncertainty, APL is optimistic and expects the Port of Lisbon to recover in the coming years in terms of both goods activity and cruises.

What are the key emerging trends and challenges in the maritime industry?

The natural trend will be towards increased shipping, regardless of the necessary investment in new and more efficient technologies to increase the environmental sustainability and energy efficiency of this sector. From an environmental point of view, maritime transport will always be the most efficient for long distances and high volumes of cargo. In cruises, the recovery has been gradual, but the industry looks to the future with confidence and enthusiasm, with cruise lines forecasting to have 100% of their fleets back in service by spring/summer 2022 and estimating occupancy rates to steadily increase month on month, and even return to pre-pandemic occupancy levels by late summer 2022.

What impact did the pandemic have on the port’s operations?

Regarding cargo operations and after a 37.25% reduction in general cargo in 2020 compared to 2019, 2021 was a year of recovery for the Port of Lisbon. In 2021, approximately 9.4 million tons of cargo were handled, an increase of 4.5% compared to the previous year. With regard to cruise activity at the Port of Lisbon, after more than a year without commercial calls cruise activity was authorized in the ports of the national mainland territory as of May 2021. The first call at the Port of Lisbon after the stoppage caused by the pandemic situation took place in July 2021, with the arrival of the World Navigator.

The Port of Lisbon won, for the sixth time, the Europe’s Leading Cruise Port 2020 from World Travel Awards Europe. What factors underpin this achievement?

Port of Lisbon has worked and will continue to work, together with the concessionaire LCP and the remaining partners, in pursuit of a common goal: to enhance the port and the city of Lisbon as a sustainable cruise destination of excellence. This award represents the determination and commitment of all stakeholders who contributed to the success: the port authority, the terminal operator and all partners committed to a structural development



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