Construction has begun on the long-awaited Port 2000, a $600 million expansion of Le Havre's container facilities in its first phase, which, on completion, will provide 12 quayside berths with a total length of 2.5 miles for post-Panamax vessels.
The new container terminal will enable the Port of Le Havre
to keep pace with its rapid growth in container traffic, which topped 50 percent over the past five years, according to Lacave. "Our goal is to double Le Havre container volumes again to 3 million TEUs by 2007 -- not only for the French market but for a 900-mile radius of Europe reaching into Germany, Austria, Switzerland
, Italy and Spain," he said.
The cost of $600 million is for Phase I of the project, including construction of a new ship access channel, a new 3.7-mile long breakwater, the first six berths of the terminal and inland connections. The berths will have a depth of nearly 48 ft., with an average operating width of over 1,640 ft., and more than 86 acres of ground space. Maritime construction is slated to begin January 2002. The first four berths should be operational by mid-2004, followed by completion of the fifth and sixth in 2006.
Among the new facilities to be built in the Port 2000 project are direct rail lines extending the full length of the container terminal. Complete trains will be assembled at the ocean berths and dispatched via canal to a new rail terminal that connects directly to the French national rail system. A new control station for trucks will be built, as well as a dedicated river terminal inside the present port for tugs and barges. A road-train service will transport containers between the river and ocean terminals.
Existing container facilities are also being improved to handle traffic anticipated prior to opening of the first new berths of Port 2000. Investment in port facilities amounts to an additional $157 million (FF 1.1 billion).
The Port of Le Havre is the fourth largest port in northern Europe, and one of the few ports that can receive the largest containerships of 6,000 TEUs or more, fully loaded and at any tide.