With a total of 90 million tonnes of maritime traffic over the year, 2019 saw a 5% drop in maritime traffic, due to solid and liquid energy bulk due to 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.
With a total of 2.9 million TEUs, container shipping was down 3.5% despite the good performance of hinterland traffic, which remained stable over the year, while December was clearly impacted by the social conflict 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.
2019 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. With more than 25 million tonnes handled in Ile-de-France, river port activity had not reached this level since 1992.
RIVER TRAFFIC: HISTORIC RECORD
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 best 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%.
"With very strong growth, river transport on the Seine is reaching record levels. These very positive results demonstrate HAROPA's ability to catalyse cleaner, more efficient multimodal logistics solutions that find their landing point on our terminals in Ile-de-France. It’s excellent news for the logistical connectivity of Ile-de-France and sustainable development."
Sébastien Hennick, Interim Director General HAROPA - Ports de Paris
MARITIME TRAFFIC: HINTERLAND PROGRESS AND MASS MODES
In 2019, maritime traffic reached 90 Mt. The recorded decline (down 5%, or 4.8 Mt) was entirely due to two factors:
A major factor, identified long ago: the decrease in traffic linked to different carbon energies. The decrease recorded in "crude oil + refined products + coal" as a whole accounted for more than 80% of the decline in overall maritime traffic.
This decrease in maritime traffic linked to different carbon energies is itself the result of three causative facts:
Major planned refinery technical shutdowns: Total Gonfreville and ExxonMobil
Technical shutdowns suffered by refineries:
Total Gonfreville: a fire in early December in the crude pumping system upstream of the refining units, which created collateral damage on these units (it is assumed that the refinery will be shut down for at least 10 months).
Total Grandpuits: the pipeline accident (February 2019) caused a 6-month refinery shutdown.
The final shutdown of the Le Havre thermal power plant planned by EDF in 2021, which is now causing a slowdown in coal supplies
In addition to the cyclical stoppages, this decrease in traffic related to carbon energy is set to continue as part of the energy transition (HAROPA’s strategic plan 2020-2025 estimates the decline over the period at 2%), calling on the port complex to boost the sectors driving growth.
An aggravating factor: the social movements that blighted the end of 2019 (the tug strike, movements against pension reform). For the container sector in particular, December 2019 resulted in the cancellation of 52 container ship stops and a loss of traffic of 866 000 tonnes (approximately 50 000 TEUs). These 50 000 lost TEUs account for about 18% of the decline in our overall maritime traffic.
Excluding these reductions due to a particularly unfavorable economic situation (in addition to the social movements at the end of the year), traffic increased by 1%.
The overall balance sheet was down 3.5% at 2.9 MTEU, or 28 Mt. Social movements in December had a strong impact on container traffic and largely account for the 3.5% drop in traffic (down 104 kTEU) compared to 2018. The other contributing factor is the decline in transshipment (down 72 kTEU; a fall of 9.5% on the transshipment field).
On the other hand, we can note:
The good performance of full hinterland container traffic (stable at 1.7 MTEU): the strong growth of this sector over the first eleven months underlines the gradual expansion of HAROPA's perimeter beyond its natural borders;
The increase in mass modes in pre-post container shipments: the river share on the hinterland stands at 8.2% and the rail share on the hinterland is up to 4.7% (compared to 3.8% in 2018);
Increased activity at Le Havre multimodal terminal, confirming the relevance of its services: up 18% with 148 000 TEUs;
Good figures for the Gennevilliers multimodal terminal, which is up 13%.
"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.”
Baptiste Maurand, Director General HAROPA - Port du Havre
This dynamic (up 3.8% to 14 Mt) is driven by cereal traffic in Rouen (up 9.3% to 8.3 Mt), which shows a record yield and quality; the tonnage of cereals exported through HAROPA ports represents the 2nd best performance of the last 20 years.
These good results are also driven by the record construction traffic in Ports de Paris: up 39% in the cement/clinker sector, linked to work in the Ile-de-France region.
Excluding coal (down 52% mainly due to the shutdown of coal traffic in Le Havre), solid bulk increased by almost 7%.
The development of the biofuel and biomass segments, which benefit from favourable growth prospects, in line with the challenges of energy transition; traffic in the Wood Energy sector has increased more than 4-fold over one year.
"Rouen processed nearly 24 million tonnes of goods (up 2.5%). This figure shows the dynamism of our port and confirms its continued growth. The deepening of the channel, which has allowed us to welcome very large-draughts vessels, benefits different sectors: cereals in particular are reaching records, which are among the best results in 20 years, while exports of petroleum products are increasing by 15%."
Pascal Gabet, Director General HAROPA - Port de Rouen
The results (down 7.5% to 46 Mt) are mainly due to the closure of the Ile de France pipeline and the Grandpuits refinery from late February to mid-July (detection of an oil leak), as well as the planned shutdown of Total's refinery in Gonfreville L'Orcher from September to the end of November and the fire declared on 14 December at a pump there.
Excluding crude oil, liquid bulk traffic (including refined products and gaseous hydrocarbons) increased by 2% to 25 Mt.
Traffic is down (5.4%). This decline is related to the occupancy rate of vehicle storage areas, which has 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. Also of note is 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.
After an exceptional 2018, the results are in line with expectations (420 600 passengers with 218 stops). For 2020, the market is opening up and boats under construction that are gradually coming out of the shipyards allow us to look to the future sensibly.
"The mixed results for 2019 show us both the strength of HAROPA with its multi-sector maritime and river offerings and our margins of progress. My ambition, which will be materialised by our future strategic plan 2020-2025, is to succeed, with our places and port ecosystems, in the challenges that are before us in serving our customers and regions."
Catherine Rivoallon, pioneer of the Seine public port establishment
HAROPA, the 5th largest port complex in Northern Europe, is a joint venture between the ports of Le Havre, Rouen and Paris. It is connected to every continent owing to a first-rate international shipping offer (linking around 700 ports worldwide). It serves a vast hinterland the centre of which is in the Seine valley and the Paris region forming the biggest French consumer market area. With around 10 Normandy and Paris area partner ports, HAROPA now forms in France a global transport and logistics system, capable of providing a comprehensive end-to-end service. HAROPA handles over 120 million tons of cargo by sea and waterway each year. HAROPA business represents 160,000 jobs.