The company that has been operating Cabopino marina, at the eastern end of Marbella municipality, without a formal agreement has been told by the owners, the Junta de Andalucía's port authority, that it can have an official contract for the next four years.
The decision ends the state of limbo that the small, 169-berth, leisure port has found itself in since the previous licence expired, which has meant little investment in maintenance and no regular dredging for the last two years.
The new contract was drawn up in December in favour of Marina de Cabopino, the company that held the licence up to 2016. That firm has agreed to pay a fee of 110,110 euros a year and fought off competition from two other bidders, including the operators of Puerto Banús.
The new contract has a maximum four-year term. However as the company explained, "It doesn't mean that we have to keep the contract for the full four years.
"We're waiting for them to approve the port renovation plan that we presented a few months ago. Once that has the green light, the tender process can start for a long-term licence."
When this happens, the company will have first right of refusal of the licence, providing it can match the lowest bid price of any rival offers.
The first licence for Cabopino port, issued in 1976, expired in 2016, and Marina de Cabopino, which held the licence as it expired, presented plans for an overhaul of the marina. However bureaucratic delays and the need to modify elements of the plan delayed the new contract bidding process. The Junta has ruled out taking direct control of the port.