La Nouvelle, which is the third largest French port on the Mediterranean coast, is in the processing of implementing a major new expansion as a means of boosting business and making it possible to enter new markets, such as those in South America, Asia and the West Coast of Africa.
According to Laurent Mouillie, the port authority’s Commercial Director, the first of the new port facilities is expected to become operational in 2020.
“We quickly expect to reach a capacity of four million tonnes, thereafter increasing traffic gradually over the forthcoming years,” he said.
At present, La Nouvelle is a majority importer
of liquid bulk and dry bulk cargoes, although once grain shipments are factored in and liquid bulk excluded it becomes a net exporter. The main dry commodities handled are grain, fertilizer and other agribulks, various minerals, cement, coal, solid bio fuels and biomass.
Port-la-Nouvelle is not connected to inland waterways; however, the new expansion plans envisage a significant rail infrastructure development. Indeed, from the port, it is easy to reach a dedicated north-south freight corridor, serving northern Europe.
The future port will also see an extended role for ever larger bulk carriers. In fact, the project sets out to capture bulk carriers up to about 80,000dwt based on a draught of 14.5 metres, although the port overall will be dredged up to 16 metres.
Significantly, the new facilities already match a long list of environmental regulations, although the overall design has set out to make the least impact possible on the surrounding environment. “Even now, with our existing port, we already promote clean handling and operations,” said Mouillie.
He points to the new cement terminal, which is fully pneumatic, prevents any dust discharge into the air, since the importer uses specialist self-discharger vessels only.
The port also includes a ‘green zone’ where all operational residues are segregated for further treatment.