HAROPA, the port complex of Le Havre, Rouen and Paris, published the annual report for 2019, presenting a record on the Seine river, but also a drop in maritime traffic.
With a total of 90 million tonnes, 2019 saw a 5% fall in maritime traffic, due to solid and liquid energy bulk as a result of both technical shutdowns on the Seine Valley refining units and the prospect of the end of activity at the Le Havre coal-fired power plant.
HAROPA reports that with a total of 2.9 million TEU, the container shipping sector was down 3.5%, despite the good performance of hinterland traffic, which remained stable over the year, while December was clearly impacted by the industrial action linked to pension reform.
On the other hand, cereal exports grew strongly with the second-best performance of the last 20 years, up 9.3% to 8.3 million tonnes.
Historic record in the river traffic
Last year also saw a sharp increase in river traffic driven mainly by maritime and urban containers, the construction sector engaged in the construction sites of Greater Paris and grain exports. The bulk and container sectors grew by 13% to reach a figure in the Ile-de-France region of more than 25 million tonnes, the highest figure since 1992.
This performance was driven by all traffic segments with a very good modal carry-over dynamic in favour of the waterways: shipping containers are up 19% – a record – the urban distribution logistics of the last kilometer by 43% and waste transport by 12.5%.
In 2019, maritime traffic reached 90 Mt. HAROPA says the recorded decline (down 5%, or 4.8 Mt) was mainly due to the decrease in traffic linked to different carbon energies. The decrease recorded in “crude oil and refined products along with coal” as a whole accounted for more than 80% of the decline in overall maritime traffic.
The overall balance sheet was down 3.5% at 2.9 million TEU, or 28 Mt. Strikes in December had a strong impact on container traffic and largely account for the 3.5% drop in traffic (down 104,000 TEU) compared to 2018. The other contributing factor is the decline in transshipment, down 72,000 TEU; a fall of 9.5% in the transshipment cargo.
On the other hand, HAROPA notes: the stable performance of full hinterland container traffic at 1.7 million TEU, the increase in mass modes in pre-post container shipments, increased activity at Le Havre multimodal terminal, good figures for the Gennevilliers multimodal terminal, which is up 13%.
Baptiste Maurand, director general of HAROPA, commented:
“2019 tends to confirm the strength and development of certain strategic sectors: among them are maritime containers to and from the hinterland, creating added value for the regions. This development is combined with a booming river and rail activity on our multimodal terminals and while numerous logistical developments are planned.”
Roll-on / Roll-0ff sector
Ro-ro traffic fell 5.4% and the port authority said this decline was related to the occupancy rate of vehicle storage areas, which reached 100%, coupled with a change in the operators’ business model; they are carrying out more and more finalisation/customisation work on their vehicles and must therefore absorb a longer average storage time.
HAROPA also notes a larger share of the import business (60%) with storage times of 10 days on average, which impact the terminal’s fill rate. The port of Le Havre is reorganising the occupancy of its surfaces in order to gain 7000 storage spaces and is undertaking extension work (20 ha) to the east of the ro-ro terminal, which will eventually gain 10,000 additional places.