Through Law of 16 July 1885 the government was authorised to award the works to be done at the port of Lisbon. The project was signed by two Portuguese engineers João Matos and Adolfo Loureiro, and on 31 October 1887 King Luís inaugurated the start of the first works between the Belém Tower and Santa Apolónia. Until 1907 the port was operated by the contractor H. Hersent.
This situation changed with the Law passed in Paço on 11 March 1907 by King Carlos which approved the Decree of the General Courts of 18 February, and a new administrative regime was inaugurated on 8 May of that year. The port was handed over to a Autonomous Board of Directors, whose first Chairman was José Adolfo de Mello e Sousa, and the members of the council were Fernando Munró dos Anjos, Pedro Gomes da Silva and Adviser Manuel Francisco de Vargas, respectively representatives of commerce, navigation companies and the railway companies. Luis Straus, an engineer of Hersent was nominated for the position of Operating Manager.
1907-1928 - EPL, Exploração do Porto de Lisboa, started paying its expenses with its own proceeds which came from the improvements made to the port.
In 1910 the monarchy falls and a republican regime replaces it. This is a period of great difficulties and strongly affected by World War I, but the first attributions of the port, foreseen in the Basis attached to the Law were extended and defined in the Regulations for Commercial Exploration of the port of Lisbon and amongst other works and acquisitions, the conclusion of the Alcântara dock was encouraged, the acquisition of a swing bridge and of port equipment, both land and maritime – the high capacity Alcantara dredge and the powerful tugboats Cabo Espichel, Cabo Sardão and Cabo Raso – and naval construction and repairs.
The dry docks were started and the northern wall of the Alcântara dock was rebuilt. The passenger ships did not berth at the quays and anchored offshore were passengers embarked and disembarked with the help of river vessels that that offered great resistance to change, leading to the publication of a decree that made berthing of ships obligatory. In this period new ideas such as the construction of a fishing port in Pedrouços and a free trade area in the port were contemplated.
In the meantime the port authority changes its name to Administração Geral do Porto de Lisboa – AGPL.
On 4 December 1926 the Ports’ Law is published. This was the first law to establish a national port policy and so according to article 2 sub-paragraph a), the port of Lisbon was classified as belonging to the 1st class of ports “that are of direct interest to the economy of the Country”.
1928-1946- This period was marked by the Military Dictatorship.
Following the development of the port of Lisbon services and its growing influence in all economic activity of the country there was need to make some changes to the Organic Law – Decree-Law no. 24:208, of 23 July 1934 – maintaining the principle of independence of port services from any other service through direct co-operation with the government. However autonomy is not complete, both in financial and administrative terms, because the most important management act are still subject to superior resolution – but of course without harming the continuity and independence of the services, the port authority had to represent the government’s ideas as established in the preamble of the said law.
As members of the port Authority, together with the Board of Directors and the General Director, new positions arise such as the port and consulting group director.
In the port works to the 3rd section, from Santa Apolónia to Poço do Bispo, are developed to extend the railway station and to set up new industries and to develop commerce.
Decree no. 24.831 of 1934, abolished the former quay right and to replace it the port rate was created, making it obligatory, except for some cases, the entry of cargo from abroad and from the Colonies at the customs warehouse.
In 1936 the AGPL shipyard is concessioned to CUF that replaced the Sociedade de Construções e Reparações Navais;
The three big reinforced concrete warehouses located in Alcântara-North as well as the river stations of Belém and Terreiro do Paço and the buildings of the customs police and the warehouse of the Regulating Commission for the Commerce of Codfish date back to this period although they were only concluded later on.
The left bank of the Tagus is handed over to the Lisbon Port Authority and it stays with the jurisdiction of the Tagus estuary.
The 1939 and 1940 diplomas authorise the celebration of the contracts for the construction of the maritime stations of Alcântara and Rocha do Conde de Óbidos. Architect Pardal Monteiro was chosen to design them. In the hall on the 2nd floor of the Stations one can contemplate the fourteen panels on the Tagus depicting riverside activities and port scenes by artist José de Almada Negreiros.
In this period the port of Lisbon affirmed itself as the terminal of Europe where ships arrived from the Portuguese colonies of all European and Trans-Atlantic traffic. As corollary, the works for the equipment of the maritime Airport of Cabo Ruivo were authorised by AGPL (Decree 32331 of 19 November 1942), a ditching area for Pam Am seaplanes.
1946-1960 – Decree-law no.35.716 of 24 June 1946, called Improvements Plan for the Port of Lisbon is the second measure of great importance for this port regarding progress, covering:
Maritime works: Pedrouços dock for fish service; conclusion of the 1st section; complement of the 3rd section, between Xabregas and Poço do Bispo; conclusion of the Poço do Bispo dock; Olivais dock and regularisation of the bank up to Beirolas; adaptation of the Belèm and Bom Sucesso docks; bridge-quays in Cabo Ruivo and Beirolas; regularisation of the Paço de Arcos bank; collecting system and drainage of the maritime line of the Jamor river, sheltering and regularisation works of the bank in Alfeite; works in Trafaria.
Land works such as, roads and railways, warehouses and other types of buildings, including the head-office of the services of the general Authority and personnel facilities;
The execution of the Improvements Plan lead to an increase in port services. The organic law was then altered in 1948 through Decree-Law no. 36:976, of 20 July and the jurisdiction area of AGPL is extended up to the port of Vila Franca de Xira and the reason for this was that it was an extension and natural complement of the other.
During this period the Companhia Colonial de Navegação, the Companhia de Navegação Carregadores Açorianos and the Sociedade Geral de Comércio Indústria e Transportes are set up at the Alcantara dock as well as the petrol companies of Sacor, Sonap ans Shell in Cabo Ruivo. On the south bank the industrial complex of Quimigal and Lavradio and the National Ironwork Industry in Seixal start activity.
The Belém Tower was integrated in the property of Administração-Geral do Porto de Lisboa in 28-09-1950.
Highlight goes to the coat of arms, flag and seal of AGPL, the institution of the “Medal of the Port of Lisbon” and the creation of the ex-libris of the latter.
1960-1987-Maritime transport suffered great changes and registered progress in specialisation and increase in the size of ships, reflecting the liberalisation of world economy.
In 1965 the quay of Alcantara is subject to refurbishing and along 1100 metres it advanced 80 metres over the river assuring greater depth and increasing the levelled ground some nine hectares, maintaining the life of a port area always considered the most refined of the port of Lisbon.
In 1965 the Lisnave shipyard was built in Margueira and equipped to make repairs to big ships.
In October 1970, the Santa Apolónia Container Terminal started operating equipped for loading and unloading containers, with container ship cranes increasing efficiency and consequent profit.
The Port of Lisbon inaugurated a new and important stage accompanying the evolution of goods transportation – the development of containerisation. The port takes on the function of a crucial link between the maritime, river and land transport.
The Alcântara container terminal, concessioned to Liscont, operates since 1985 and is prepared for transhipment operations.
As of the 80’s terminals for cereal products, agricultural foodstuffs, oil seeds, fuels and other were installed both on the south and north banks. There is a marked sustained development on the southern bank.
Cruise ship traffic has always deserved the attention of APL, specially as of mid 80’s with an increase of facilities and support services at the port.
1987-1998- During this period following the integration in the European Union (1986)
a profound restructuration to the port system was necessary so as to make the port efficient and with greater capacity to meet the demands of competitiveness that the integration, on the one hand, and globalisation, on the other imposed on the Portuguese economy.
The 1st Strategic Plan of the Port of Lisbon dated 31 December 1989, based on the assessment of the existing situation, outlined the paths towards the adaptation of the port to new challenges that the European single market would set as of 1993. Therefore, it was considered that the development of the Port of Lisbon should cover the following vectors: container terminals and other specialised cargo terminals; river navigation; commercial and industrial areas; revitalisation of the riverfronts; cruise ship terminals; recreational boating.
Development covered better access conditions to the port and the first measure was to establish new geometric features of the access canal, as well as the increase of the capacity of the container terminals which the forecast of great fluxes of cargo demanded with the world market in constant change.
In December 1994, Decree-Law no. 324/94 was published establishing the general bases of the concession to the private concession of quays, terminals, equipments and port areas.
The concession of the Santa Apolónia Container Terminal to Sotagus was the turning point of the administration to the commercialisation of the Landlord port.
The port of Lisbon has areas of great interest for tourists, with beautiful green spaces from the Belem Tower to Cais do Sodré and the respective pedestrian areas. The development that the Boards triggered in the recreational boating area with the Alcântara, Santo Amaro, Belém and Bom Sucesso Docks offering good parking conditions both in water and on land, both for sailing vessels and boats.
The Land Use Plan of the Riverfront – POZOR – presented on 29 June 1994 suggested for the riverfront between Algés and Matinha compatibility between the specific demands of the port activity and the features and uses foreseen for the adjacent urban areas, according to that stipulated in the Municipal Plan of Lisbon based on Decree-Law no. 309/87, which conferred it powers to intervene in the urban functions.
During this period the port comes closer to the citizens in general and there is also greater relationship with the municipality.
This front identified itself with the modern port of Lisbon which arose at the end of the 19th century and registering continuous growth and evolution for the 20th century.
1998-2007 - Through Decree-Law no. 336/98 of 3 November the Administration of the Port of Lisbon becomes a public limited company with exclusively public capital and its name changed to APL – Administração do Porto de Lisboa, S.A. allowing it to have more dynamic and flexible management with greater autonomy and conjugating activities to render services of corporate nature with the statute of port authority.
APL, S.A. enters the new millennium with the inauguration on 16 July 2001 of an architectural structure that would control a vast maritime – river area with maritime traffic control (VTS, “Vessel Traffic Service”). The port of Lisbon becomes one of the best equipped European ports gaining competitivity and sustainabi