At 75 million tonnes, maritime traffic fell back by 16.7%, impacted by the combined effects of the global health crisis and the shutdown of Total’s Gonfreville L’Orcher refinery.
Containerized goods flows, a barometer for the economy generally, suffered and declined by 14% to 2.4m TEU, but entered an upturn in the summer. In the final quarter they returned to the same level as in 2018, itself a benchmark year. The market was more buoyant for full containers,– 9%, generating more value-added for the local region.
Dry bulk progressed, boosted in particular by grain exports (5.8%) and imports of aggregates (34.2%). Liquid bulk registered a fall of 20.9%, marked by a cut in crude oil imports due to lower consumption during the lockdown and the shutdown of the Total refinery in Gonfreville-l’Orcher for technical reasons. Ro-ro activity, which fell back by 15.5%, returned to its pre-crisis level in the second half of the year.
River activity evidenced a degree of resilience, declining by 3.8% to 33Mt. The major Paris construction projects stimulated activity in the construction industry (+12% at end November), thus confirming the key role of river transport in Grand Paris construction and preparations for the 2024 Olympics.
“Despite the difficult period we are currently experiencing, we were able to demonstrate our resilience in 2020 thanks to the key advantages enjoyed by our three ports. HAROPA ended the year with maritime traffic and river-based activity standing at 108 million tonnes, a fallback of 6%. The rebound that began this summer was confirmed throughout the second half of the year. At the meeting of the French interministerial maritime committee (CIMer) on 22 January, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his confidence in the future unified entity, HAROPA, specifically by announcing an investment for our development of €1.45bn over the period 2021-2027. This reflects an extremely high level of ambition for the restoration to the Seine Axis ports of a key position for France,” stated Stéphane Raison, CEO, Foreshadower of the major national port complex HAROPA.
“In 2020, maritime traffic through HAROPA - Port of Rouen stood at 22.3Mt, representing a marginal fall of 4.7%. Nevertheless, the year just ended set a record of 8.8Mt tonnes for grain exports.
Over the 2019-2020 campaign as a whole Port of Rouen exported almost 10Mt of cereals, a historic level of performance. The Port of Rouen was benefited by the deepening of the navigation channel, with its repositioning on the international grain market and new destinations such as China”, declared Pascal Gabet, CEO, HAROPA - Port of Rouen.
Investment of €462m
In 2020, the Seine Axis ports continued to prepare for the future, devoting €162m mainly to large development projects. Private investment totalled €300m, with the construction of the Siemens Gamesa wind turbine plant in Le Havre among the year’s major projects.
- Berths P11-P12 at Port 2000
- Offshore windfarm projects
- Soufflet grain terminals
- PSMO (Port Seine Métropole Ouest)
- Call for “Rebound Package” projects
A new, ambitious goal for the ports
The merger of the Seine Axis ports, which takes effect on 1 June 2021, will mark the beginning of a new, ambitious goal for the ports. At the CIMer meeting held on 22 January in Le Havre, the Prime Minister stated that as a single unified entity HAROPA would benefit from a €1.45bn investment plan for the period 2020-2027. In addition, under France’s Economic Stimulus Plan, which includes an envelope of €175m dedicated to port greening, HAROPA has been allocated €71m, making it possible to speed up numerous projects, particularly in the area of the energy transition.
Economic Stimulus Plan - 2020-2027 - €71m
“We saw a satisfactory level of activity for river-based transport in 2020 despite the public health crisis. Such results were made possible by the robustness of the Seine Valley’s economic engine, and especially the dynamism of the construction industry and the continuation of major projects involving waterway transport, such as the excavation work for the Grand Paris Express and the building of the Olympic Village. We will be going forward on large projects in 2021 including, for example, the future river port PSMO (Port Seine Métropole Ouest), strategic infrastructure for the Greater Paris area and river transport” according to Antoine Berbain, CEO, HAROPA - Paris Ports
In the view of Baptiste Maurand, CEO, HAROPA - Port of Le Havre, “2020 has a been a very mixed year for Le Havre, one that saw a definite rebound starting in the summer, which is now being confirmed at the beginning of 2021. In spite of the context of the global crisis, we have succeeded in strengthening the confidence felt by our customers. 2020 was also a year of far-reaching projects, among them the extension of Port 2000, the launch of construction of the Siemens Gamesa plant and the gravity-based foundations conducted by EOHF (Éoliennes Offshore des Hautes Falaises) for the Fécamp offshore windfarm. In 2021, our ports will be a gateway to the energy transition!”