This month, we are taking you to the Port of Nantes Saint-Nazaire, situated on France’s Atlantic Seaboard. With a history dating back to ancient times, the Port of Nantes Saint-Nazaire is definitely to be considered as an established value among European ports. Let’s have a closer look at this port!
ESPO: Can you briefly tell us about the Port of Nantes – Saint Nazaire? What are its main characteristics and challenges?
With 25.3 million tonnes of traffic handled in 2015, Nantes – Saint Nazaire is the leading port on France’s Atlantic Seaboard and the fifth port authority of France. Its port area extends over a 65-kilometre stretch along the Loire Estuary. A very diverse range of port facilities is located on sites spanning the upriver and downriver sections.
The main business of the Port is energy in bulk for local industries: the Total oil refinery of Donges (second in France in terms of throughput), the EDF coal-fired power station in Cordemais and the Elengy LNG terminal in Montoir.
Thanks to these bulk volumes, the Port has managed to develop a comprehensive range of terminals in order to address all the cargo demand, from feedstuff to containerised food products, aeronautics parts and new cars, etc.
ESPO: Last year, the Port of Nantes – Saint Nazaire approved a strategic plan for 2015-2020, with the main goal of becoming a reference port for energy and ecological transition. Could you briefly tell us about this strategic plan? How will this plan be carried out?
Possessing a fossil energy base that represents two thirds of its total traffic volume, Nantes – Saint Nazaire Port is not seeking to implement a breakaway strategy. On the contrary, being conscious of the current challenges and industrial developments, the Port Authority is focussing on a transitional approach. The Total refinery at Donges and EDF’s thermal power station at Cordemais are making significant investments in order to minimize their environmental impact, while Alstom and STX are committing to the marine renewable energy sector. Furthermore, Nantes – Saint Nazaire Port is located on the Loire Estuary, which is characterized by a patchwork of different environments. Natural spaces, some of which are situated within the Port Authority’s area of jurisdiction, present a rich biodiversity and important ecological functionalities.
The strategic plan for 2015-2020 is based on three strategic orientations: "Playing a core role in existing and emerging sectors", "Delivering high-performance port-based industrial facilities" and "Driving a shared policy for the sustainable development of estuarine port areas". These orientations are expressed in the form of 28 operational actions.
ESPO: The LNG terminal in the Port of Nantes – Saint Nazaire is one of the biggest in Europe. How does the Port of Nantes Saint-Nazaire estimate the future potential of LNG?
The LNG terminal is operated on a long-term basis by Elengy, the leading European operator. In 2014, this terminal was the first in the world to succeed in LNG transhipment from one ship to another. Today, the range of operations includes import, export, transhipment and development of delivery of small volumes by truck. This latter activity is the first step in the LNG fuel distribution for ships.
ESPO: To get the goods to the desired destination, a good access between the port and the hinterland is indispensable. Could you briefly tell us how the port is connected with the hinterland?
Most of the cargo is shipped or delivered in a 300 km radius around the Port. This fact means that road transport is the most competitive way for pre and post carriage. Rail is developing well for bulk traffic, especially for grain and seeds. River is used for short distance from Nantes to Montoir for Airbus parts, or from Montoir to EDF Cordemais power plant for thermal coal.
ESPO: Could you describe the added value of the port to the city and the wider region?
A study carried out by INSEE, the French National Institute of Economic and Statistical Information, last year confirmed the major role played by the Port of Nantes − Saint Nazaire in sustainable territorial development. Comprising 500 firms and companies, the Loire Estuary port and industrial complex generates 25 000 jobs.
ESPO: What are the main investment projects for the Port of Nantes – Saint Nazaire for the upcoming years?
Nantes − Saint Nazaire Port’s strategy is accompanied by a significant programme of investment. The port-related component of the 2015-2020 Central Government – Regional Government Planning Agreement, which was signed on 23 February 2015, amounts to 53.7 million euros (M€), co-financed by Central Government, Pays de la Loire Regional Authority, Loire Atlantique Departmental Authority, Saint Nazaire Urban Area District Authority, Nantes Metropolitan District Council and the Nantes − Saint Nazaire Port Authority.
35 M€ are set aside for industrial development projects (the logistics hub dedicated to marine renewable energy in Saint Nazaire, the improvement of Le Carnet site, the increase of the reception capacities at the Montoir de Bretagne liquid cargo berth, etc.).
9.1 M€ will be invested to improve the logistics offer (the development of the Cheviré logistical activity zone, studies for the development of the logistics centre serving the downriver facilities on the Loire Estuary, etc.). Last but not least, 3 M€ will be devoted to the development of the outer harbour in Saint Nazaire.
6.6 M€ are reserved for the maintenance of the port-based industrial tools.
The European Union is also providing financial support for major development projects, like the Montoir de Bretagne general cargo and container terminal extension (3.7 M€) and the work on ro-ro berth N° 3 (3 M€).
ESPO: In 2015, the Port of Nantes – Saint Nazaire received for the first time the Port Environmental Review System (PERS) certification, which is the only port sector specific environmental management standard. Could you briefly describe the port’s environmental policies?
Nantes – Saint Nazaire Port works in partnership with the Region’s other public-sector and private-sector stakeholders to deliver economic and environmental progress for the Loire Estuary. It owns a port area covering 2 700 hectares, including 1 350 hectares of developed port, logistical and industrial zones and 1 000 hectares that are reserved natural spaces.
Located on the Loire Estuary, Nantes – Saint Nazaire Port takes into account the environmental issues related to this area of major importance on France’s Atlantic Seaboard. Over several years, the Port Authority has thereby strived to contribute to the efforts to better understand and to preserve that environment.
At the start of 2015, Lloyd's Register awarded the EcoPorts PERS certificate to the Nantes – Saint Nazaire Port Authority for a period of two years. EcoPorts PERS involves giving recognition for the actions being undertaken notably as regards industrial ecology, the management of sediments and the reduction of noise and other pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Under this framework, our actions of particular significance at the Loire Estuary Port include, among others, the commissioning of a treatment unit to process the wash water from the quays of the multi-bulk terminal, integrated with the sewage treatment plant facilities co-contracted with Saint Nazaire Urban Area District Authority, and the reservation for ecological purposes of a 5-hectare area on the site of the Montoir port facility.
In addition to the triple ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification already obtained, Nantes – Saint Nazaire Port is very pleased to achieve such recognition via a quality label that is specific to the European port sector.
ESPO: This year, ESPO’s annual conference will look into ways of making the logistic chain more efficient. What is Nantes – Saint Nazaire doing to optimise the logistic chain? What are the barriers?
A Port Authority is not directly part of the supply chain of the companies using the infrastructure for the shipment or delivery of their cargos. It has to deliver a global performance in terms of fluidity of its networks and access, both physical and digital. Furthermore, it has to take into account its competitiveness and attractiveness thanks to benchmarking, market knowledge and customer relationship.
ESPO: ESPO is a partner of PORTOPIA, a FP7 project that aims to measure port performance. What is your approach for measuring the port’s performance?
The Port is representing France in the EA&S committee and uses a step by step approach for measuring performance. The first priority is traffic measurement thanks to accurate statistics and their analysis. Another priority is to associate this data with financial and geographical ones in order to give a clear picture to the Port decision makers.
Find out more about the Port of Nantes – Saint Nazaire via: http://www.nantes.port.fr/