FRANCE – Historically the relationship between ports can be a difficult one. Where they exist in relatively close proximity there is always the competitive tension of securing and retaining services from an assortment of shipping lines, plus of course the on shore support services from a raft of suppliers.
The French Smart Port City programme saw a closer set of relationships between cities and their local ports whilst the Haropa initiative saw integration of the ports of Le Havre, Rouen and Paris which now work together as one unit, paying particular attention to such as digitisation and rationalisation of cargo handling.
The collective entity now sees variations in traffic as a smaller percentage of the whole tonnages handled, in 2019 for example 90 million tonnes were throughput and whilst this meant a 5% drop in traffic overall due to solid and liquid energy bulk reductions and TEUs falling 3.5% to 2.9 million, cereal exports jumped 9.3% to 8.3 million tonnes and river and hinterland movements both grew.
Now progress is being made with the roll out of more technology. As a Haropa port Le Havre recognised the need for better communications, with 5G at the top of the agenda. Among the first application scenarios that have been identified there is the optimisation of upkeep operations for the port’s navigational areas. The implementation of 5G would notably provide improvements and greater safety for the daily dredging campaigns in the channels and docks. In the view of Baptiste Maurand, CEO of Haropa – Port of Le Havre:
“5G offers interesting possibilities for making the port more competitive. For example, it can help us improve communications between sea and land. Just having a network-connected port navigational area will enable us to optimise certain operations that are essential to safe navigation in the port. It will also allow us to gather multiple types of data (weather, seabed conditions, and so on) for greater precision and efficiency. The primary beneficiaries will be our customers, among them the 6,000 ships that call at our port every year”.
Back in 2018, as part of the Smart Port City programme, the ‘5G Lab’ collective centred on the port and the urban community was formed with three industrial corporations – Nokia, Siemens and Électricité de France (EDF). The objective of the five partners was to identify application scenarios that could, after some experimentation, be developed across the Seine Axis ports. Edouard Philippe, Mayor of Le Havre and Chair of the Le Havre/Seine Urban Federation observed:
“The Smart Port City programme is a shared ambitious goal to make Le Havre a port complex that stands as a benchmark for the ability to innovate. This remarkable partnership-based effort around 5G will give the port of Le Havre a core technology conducive to the invention of novel applications able to be duplicated subsequently elsewhere in the world.”
Photo: The Port of Le Havre has changed somewhat since Claude Monet pictured it in 1874.