NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
London, United Kingdom, 2008/12/17 - France, which has a long maritime tradition thanks to its extensive coastlines along the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea and the Mediterranean, is now reforming its ports to improve its economic attractiveness and competitiveness.
With a combined volume of 384.7 million tons (101.6Mt for the ports of Le Havre and Rouen combined, and 100Mt for the port of Marseille), French ports have great development potential. They rank behind only the ports of Rotterdam in the Netherlands (430Mt), Antwerp in Belgium (200Mt), and Hamburg in Germany (140Mt) in terms of volume.
Sea links, as well as recently established inter-European cabotage links, have contributed to French port development. Currently, 72% of France’s imports and exports are transported by sea. French shipping companies include Cetragpa, Marfret, Socatra, Bourbon, Louis Dreyfus, Geogas and Compagnie Maritime Nantaise. CMA CGM alone accounts for more than half of French tonnage.
The ports of Le Havre (Port 2000 Le Havre) and Marseille (Fos 2 XL Marseille) have already made strategic investments, in order to adapt to developments in maritime transport, i.e. the transport of bulk raw materials such as coal and iron ore, the widespread use of container transport, and the concentration of traffic within leading ports. These ports have become the main interface between maritime and terrestrial transport systems (i.e. railway, road and river transport).
The French government is aiming to modernise the country’s ports and allow companies to make better and more frequent use of them. The French law dated 4 July 2008 streamlines port organisation and implements an ambitious strategy of economic development. As the law opens up port concessions, port management and development can now be entrusted to private operators or new partnerships between public- and private-sector agents. The staff involved in handling and equipment activities will now also be managed by private-sector operators, including operators from other countries. Many of these operators are already present in port services, shipping and onward delivery transport. They include Prologis, Gazeley, Daher, Katoen Natie, SDV, DHL, Schenker and Dresser.
According to Philippe Favre, CEO of the Invest in France Agency, “The government wants to reinforce the competitiveness and productivity of French ports. This means active significant investments (€445 million budgeted up to 2013) and private operators to increase average annual traffic from 3.5 to 10 million containers by 2015.”
About The Invest in France Agency (IFA)
The Invest in France Agency (investinfrance.org) promotes and facilitates international investment in France. The IFA network operates worldwide. IFA works in partnership with regional development agencies to offer international investors business opportunities and customized services all over France.
For more information about this press release, please contact Martin Hedges, Director of Communications at the Invest in France Agency in London: mhedges[.]investinfrance.org.