Port of Le Havre to extend Americas Quay

by Canadian Shipper

Construction will begin in November on an extension of the Americas Quay at the Port of Le Havre following recent approval of the project by the French Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Housing.

The 1,640-foot (500-meter) Americas Quay will be extended a full 558 feet (170 meters) at its western end to allow the simultaneous docking of two container vessels of the 5th generation (capacity of 6,000 TEUs or more). The extension will be operational by the third quarter of 2002 at a cost of $13.5 million (FF 100 million).

“The Americas Quay project is a key element of our development plan aimed at meeting the needs of shippers during construction of Port 2000,” said Jean-Marc Lacave, Executive Director of the Port of Le Havre. The port will soon break ground on Port 2000, a new container facility just south of Le Havre’s present terminals, the first berths of which will be operational between 2004 and 2006.

Part of the project to extend the Americas Quay will include building of new back-up areas. Four new post-Panamax cranes entered service at the Americas and Atlantic terminals this spring.

The Port of Le Havre is the fourth largest port in Northern Europe and one of the few ports that can receive container vessels of 6,000 TEUs and more, fully loaded at any tide. Container traffic at Le Havre has grown 51 percent over a period of five years, setting a new record in 2000 with 13.8 million tons or 1,464,901 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units.

The Port of Le Havre Authority has also recently appointed the companies that will be responsible for Phase I construction of Port 2000, a giant new container facility south of the present terminals.

The announcement was made by Executive Director Jean-Marc Lacave who approved two public sector contracts, which together account for $343 million of the total budget. According to Lacave, the European Commission has agreed to provide $36 million (FF 250 million) toward the budget, and the European Investment Bank will loan $132 million (FF 920 million).

“The announcement by the Prefecture of the Upper Normandy Region that the European Commission and the European Investment Bank are providing major support for our project demonstrates the importance of Port 2000 for the whole of European logistics and for the economic viability of our region,” said Lacave. “In fact,” he added, “the funding is the largest ever allocated to a port infrastructure project by the European Union.”

Construction of the Port 2000 breakwater and dredging of the channel will be handled by a group including GTM Construction, Campenon Bernard, Dumez GTM and Dredging International, a member of the Belgium-based DEME group. The project will be led by GTM Construction, a subsidiary of the French VINCI group, the world’s leading construction firm. Estimated cost of the operation is more than $229 million (FF 1.6 billion).

The second contract, estimated at over $114 million (FF 800 million), was awarded to Soletanche Bachy for construction of the first four berths. Soletanche Bachy has completed similar maritime projects in Dunkirk and Guatemala.

Costs for Phase I construction of Port 2000 are estimated at $486 million (FF 3.4 billion). Private investment, chiefly from warehouse handlers and logistics companies, is projected to reach around US $214 million (FF 1.5 billion).
Ground breaking is slated for November, once the site has been cleared of debris, including several World War II era bombs that have been successfully detonated.

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