Circular economy, spearhead of Porte de Lille

In terms of both river and rail activity, last year was a historic turning point in the history of Lille’s ports, with almost 200 customers registered and the catch-up effect from the lockdown pushing the numbers up. Like all ports in France and elsewhere, Port de Lille, which remained active throughout the lockdown, quickly recovered from an 8 percent drop in its traffic in terms of tonnage handled in 2020.

This is much more than a rebound, it is a record recorded for Porte de Lille, exceeding 2020 levels by more than 21% and 2019 levels by 11.5%. The previous record, set in 2006 at 8.86 million tonnes, was indeed broken last year. “This is a record for river transport, especially since in 2006 we recorded a lot of road transport. New actions clearly stimulated river transportsays Alain Lefebvre, CEO.

In fact, behind this world record are three records that were broken in fiscal 2021. The river tonnage is more than 2.2 million tons (+12%), and its growth is impressive: in five years, river navigation increased from 521,071 to 2,298,938 tons (+35%), growth is observed in all sections. , from Dunkirk to Arc and Douai.

Over the past five years, container traffic has grown 2.4 times.

The same picture from the railway side (572,321 tons), which recorded an increase of + 40% compared to 2020”,which has already been a good year despite CovidAlain Lefebvre says In total, 20 trains from/to Bordeaux, Toulouse, Avignon and Marseille are filled every week. This is largely due to the container business: over the past five years, the volume of traffic has increased by 2.4 times. In 2021, 310,000 containers passed through various terminals.

Finally, road transport is also growing from 6.2 million tons, but this is only at the 8th well asposition in the history of the ports of Lille, proof that multimodal strategies are being implemented and that road transport is concentrating where mass modes of transport cannot pass and over short distances. Thus, approximately 15,000 tons of CO2 have been saved and the number of trucks has been reduced by 150,000-170,000 units.

Port Santes, nominal version 3

For three years, we have placed more than 30% of traffic in intermodality, this figure is significant for us. We are progressing from year to year and the port of Santes is the first rev3 circular economy hub.”, emphasizes Alain Lefebvre. In addition, it was in Santes that Roquette established its river transport links, not forgetting the transport of Invivo’s grain (290,000 tons, almost half of which by river).

So a real lift for Santes, opened in the 1970s to relieve Lille, which will surpass its Lille counterpart in terms of traffic in 2021: while Lille grew by 7.2%, Santes ahead by 47%, by 2,933,444 tons (compared to 2,670,215 in Lille). “Opportunities should be offered for the creation of companies directly related to the waterway.“, continues the director.

Today, Ports de Lille is working on alternative modes of transport for each of its contracts; 73% of the rev3 companies in the port community are located either in Lille or Santes, eg Baudelet environnement, Les Alchimistes, Esterra… More importantly, out of Ports of Lille’s 200 clients, half are committed to rev3.

International projects and investments

Ports of Lille wants to go further by strengthening the role of the port community, especially internationally: “We need to be more visible abroad by participating in projects involving European ports. But also find technical and organizational solutions with all other ports“The goal of Alain Lefevre.

And the manager call back significant investment between 2019 and 2022 (€60m)to strengthen warehouses and intermodal infrastructure, to be complemented by a new plan of 40 million euros over the next five years. Idea? Update, adapt infrastructure, develop new traffic, invest in equipment, security, handling, etc. In addition, only in Lille we can accommodate trains with a length of 850 meters, which is the maximum in France.

These developments would have been in vain without the improvement of the waterway with the railway.concludes Alain Lefebvre. Thus, an active and targeted policy is part of a global approach to regional economic attractiveness.

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