Porto do Funchal celebrates 61 years tomorrow

@ DR

On the anniversary day, the Port of Funchal opens its doors tomorrow to the population who will have access to the Madeira Maritime Station, including the international area, an opportunity to see APRAM’s facilities, services and equipment up close or just stroll along the pier as in the past.

The program foresees, between 10h00 and 12h00, the “Open Day”, with guided tours every half hour, to the station and to the tugboat. Interested parties should go to the departure lounge at Gare Marítima da Madeira.

The APRAM pilots boat will connect the port and the pier, recalling a trip from other times.

In the afternoon, the program continues with the opening of the photographic exhibition of the Clube de Entusiastas de Ships, entitled “Ships and Port Infrastructures.”

This is followed by a tribute to APRAM employees and a get-together, where the 61 candles of the Port of Funchal, inaugurated on July 18, 1962, will be blown out. This date served as a reference for the creation of “Port Day” six years ago, a way of remembering the importance of this infrastructure so coveted by our ancestors, a celebration only interrupted due to the pandemic.

For the Madeira Ports Administration, “Port Day” honors port activity not only in the Port of Funchal, but in the other ports under its jurisdiction, Ports of Caniçal and Porto Santo. Above all, it is a day of celebration for the entire port community, in a year in which Madeira was once again nominated for “Best Cruise Destination in Europe,” by the organization of the World Cruise Awards.

The need for a port in Funchal was felt very early on. Dates from 1756, the royal charter issued by D. José I that gave the “green light” to the beginning of the works for the construction of a shelter port. The first pier to the islet of S. José was completed in 1762.

In 1890, there was a connection to the islet of Forte de N.ª Sr.ª da Conceição, thus increasing the docking area. The pier to the Fort and the road accesses between Pontinha and Alfândega required the creation of a management body for the port area and thus, in 1913, the Autonomous Board of Works of the Port of Funchal was created.

In May 1933, the construction of the city’s wharf was completed and in 1939, the wharf at the Port of Funchal was increased by 317 meters.

Later, in 1955, the construction of a pier was completed, close to the Carvão pier: the Regional Pier, where the cargo and passenger services of the “carreireiros” from Porto Santo began to berth.

In 1953, a project for the expansion of the Port of Funchal had already been drawn up, which would consist of widening the pier along its entire length and extending it by another 457m. The intervention was completed in 1961. On this date, the fundamental structures for the development of what is now the Port of Funchal were created.

The regionalization of Madeira’s ports came into effect on August 18, 1979, and a period of new construction and improvements in port areas in the region followed.

Between 1992 and 1997 several repair works were carried out in the Port of Funchal and in 1998/1999 a roll on roll off ramp was built.

In 1999, regional legislative decree 19/99/M created APRAM, S.A, as a limited company with exclusively public capital.

In 2004, the Master Plan for the Port of Funchal was approved, which defined its future as a port exclusively dedicated to cruise tourism and nautical activities.

In 2005, containers and loading and unloading services were transferred to the Port of Caniçal. Thus, the Port of Funchal was entirely dedicated to ferry and cruise tourism.

The region has invested in the development of this type of tourism, taking into account its foreseeable worldwide growth. Therefore, on May 31, 2010, the Madeira Maritime Station was inaugurated, in view of the need to receive passengers and crew of cruise ships with greater safety and quality and to create conditions for turnaround.

In 2013, and following the inert landfill created next to the city’s pier, due to the storm on February 20th, work began on the construction of a new pier, also dedicated to cruise tourism.

On December 31, 2015, the completion of the expansion and rehabilitation works on Pier 6 was completed, which gained an additional 6 meters in width.

In September 2020, the major intervention in the Port of Funchal was completed, which included reprofiling the protection mantle, filling in the hole, an existing cavity between the Fort of S. José and the Fort of Nossa Senhora da Conceição and filling in another cavity under the RO-RO ramp. The mooring bollards on quays 2 and 3 were also replaced.

On October 26, 2021, the Gare do Cais 6 or north pier is inaugurated.

On this “Port Day”, the Chairman of the Board of Directors reiterates the company’s objective “to serve Madeira and the people of Madeira”, under the motto “We connect worlds, we unite people.”

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