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Deep sea port expansion

Located south of Narbonne, Port-La Nouvelle is a Mediterranean commercial port which operates a tonnage of around 2 million tonnes each year.

The port handles a wide range of commodities (liquid bulk, dry bulk and conventional goods), mainly raw materials and semi-finished products: refined petroleum products, biofuels, industrial and edible liquid, cereals, Agri-food products, dry bulk, general cargoes and heavy lifts.

Recognized for its reliability, the Port of Commerce is now entering an important phase of development. A new deep-sea infrastructure (water depth of 16 m) is currently under construction.

The need for a new deep-sea port is to operate larger vessels, increase handling and storage areas, develop specialized terminals and offer optimized logistics. The new infrastructure will help to welcome new activities, in particular the emerging industries linked to the offshore wind power, the maintenance of offshore wind farms, the production of green hydrogen and the storage of renewable energies.

An offshore wind turbine construction and assembly site has been set up with 200 m of heavy lift quay (15 t per m²). The port aims to become a major platform serving the emerging floating windmill industry. The port will also welcome a green hydrogen production plant and intends to actively participate in the use of new and green energies. Likewise, the port is involved in promoting the rail mode to ensure the low carbon print distribution of goods within its hinterland in France and Europe.

New terminals will be created (liquid and dry bulk) as well as an industrial zone. The port will increase from 60 to 230 hectares by enhancing the land resources of its administrative boundaries and building two docks within a newly created outer harbour. The water depth will be rising from 8.60 m to 16 m. It will allow the operation of ocean-going vessels up to 60-80,000 deadweight tonnes.

The area dedicated to the floating offshore wind turbine industry will be delivered during 2021 and first operations will start in 2022.

The first dry bulk terminals and the first berth for large tankers will be operational in 2025-2026. A second phase of construction will then be launched to complete these primary infrastructures.

Port-La Nouvelle thus intends to amplify its role within the Mediterranean Rim while caring about the ecosystems and being a regional hub of the energy transition.

The sketch below shows the first part of the constrution proposing a new outer harbour and initial facilities to operate ocean-going vessels either in liquid bulk or dry bulk. A second step will follow.

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The following modeling presents an option for final configuration of the future port. In this configuration, the port will include :

– 1 liquid bulk terminal (25 ha min) + 4 berths for tankers.
– 1st dry bulk & breakbulk terminal (13 ha).
– 2nd dry bulk & breakbulk terminal (35 ha).
– 2,000 m of new quays.
– 1 x heavy lift terminal (15 t/m2) and a construction site for floating windmills.
– 2 x roro ramps.
– 1 industrial area (60 ha).
– 1 Rail Port terminal.

As regards as the Port management and ownership :

– The Port is owned by the Regional Council of Occitanie / Pyrenees-Mediterranee, representing the second largest region in France (twice the surface of Ireland). The Region is very committed to the development of transport infrastructures, the blue economy (220 km of coastline) and the renewable energies. In 2023, two offshore wind farms will be in operation off the cities of Gruissan and Leucate. The Occitanie has also set up its own Parliament of the Sea, which allows the regional maritime community to cooperate on various projects and join forces.

– The daily management of the Port is entrusted to a Public-Private-Partnership (called SEMOP) through a 40-year concession which began on May 1st, 2021. The SEMOP is a very innovative management structure for a Commercial Port in France. It brings together the Regional Council and the public Banque des Territoires with a Consortium of private investors and operators. The Consortium includes the companies DEME CONCESSION (construction of infrastructure, dredging and port concessions), EUROPORTS GROUP BV (terminal operators in Europe and Asia), QAIR INNOVATION (supplier of renewable energies), EPICO, EPICO CO INVEST PLATFORM (financial infrastructure funds) and the CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY of AUDE (economic development of the territory and its companies). The reputation of these companies within the maritime industry and the balanced governance of SEMOP (public 49% – private 51%) guarantee the solidity of the new model.

With a deep-sea infrastructure, brand new terminal facilities, rail distribution capacity to Europe and innovatvie management, the future port of Port-La Nouvelle intends to develop excellent practice while developing the activities and the regional blue economy. Also, the future organisation will focus on ecological transition, with its commitment to develop a modern and environmentally-friendly infrastructure.

Shippers and industrial accounts ready to propose projects are invited to contact our Commercial Department.

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