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Functions and legal setup

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The Huelva Port Authority is one of the twenty-eight port authorities reporting to Spain’s Ministry of Economic Promotion through the State Ports Public Body, responsible for the management of the Spanish Port System, composed of forty-six general-interest ports.

Pursuant to Royal Legislative Decree 2/2011 of 5 September approving the Recast Law on State Ports and the Merchant Navy, the Huelva Port Authority is a body with its own legal personality and assets, and full capacity to take action, and is governed by specific legislation in connection with general-interest ports, by the provisions of Spain’s General Budgetary Law applicable to it, and also by Law 6/1997 of 14 April on the Organisation and Functioning of General State Administration (a regulation that was repealed following the introduction of Law 40/2015 of 1 October 2015 on the Legal System of the Public Sector addressing the comprehensive reform of the organisation and functioning of Administrations).

Framework of competences

The Port Authority performs the functions assigned by the Consolidated Text of the Ports of the State and Merchant Navy Act, with the competences established therein, on the general principle of functional and managerial autonomy, notwithstanding the powers attributed to the Ministry of Economic Promotion* through the State Ports and to the Autonomous Community. Article 25 of the law states that Port Authorities have the following competences:

  • Provision of general services and management and control of port services in order to ensure these are furnished in the best possible conditions of efficiency, economy, productivity and security, notwithstanding the competence of other bodies.
  • Organisation of the port’s service area and of the uses to which the port is put, in coordination with competent Authorities in terms of organisation of territory and town planning.
  • Planning, design, construction, conservation and operation of work and services in the port, and any maritime signalling with which they have been tasked, subject to the provisions of this law.
  • Management of the public port domain and of any maritime signalling assigned to it.
  • Optimisation of economic management and profitabilisation of any assets and resources assigned.
  • Promotion of industrial and commercial activities relating to sea or port traffic.
  • Coordination of operations by the various modes of transport within the port area.
  • Organisation and coordination of land and sea traffic within the port.

* In 2020, the name changed to the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda

Management setup for the public domain

As regards the public domain management mode, pursuant to the Consolidated Text of the aforementioned Legislative Royal Decree 2/2011September, the management model for the public domain assigned aims, in order to guarantee general interests, to promote and further the involvement of private initiative in the financing, construction and operation of port facilities and in the provision of services, through the approval of domain and public work authorisations and concessions, in accordance with the provisions of said law (Article 66).

The Port Authority is charged with the provision and management of basic port infrastructures and spaces, encouraging both the port’s economic activity and provision of services by private initiative, adhering to a management model of infrastructures and the public port domain on criteria of profitability and efficiency (Article 66).

Financing mechanisms

According to the aforementioned Consolidated Text of the Ports of the State and Merchant Navy Act, the economic regime of the Port Activity is guided by the principle of economic self-sufficiency, within a framework of autonomous economic-financial management, with specific annual profitability targets (Article 27).

Among the economic resources stipulated in this Law for Port Authorities, we must point out that in the case of the Huelva Port Authority there have not been nor are there any plans for funds from credits, loans and other financial operations, or from donations, legacies and other private contributions by individuals and private organisations.

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