Strong 2018 financial results set Le Havre up to invest in development programme

Strong 2018 financial results set Le Havre up to invest in development programme

The Port of Le Havre recorded strong financial results in 2018, putting it in a good position to carry out its ambitious €600m (US$677.8m) investment programme which includes the completion of Port 2000.

The increase in turnover to €195m (US$220.4m) is a result of the effectiveness of the pricing policy that has been set up, particularly with regard to the new public property policy adopted by the Port of Normandy.

Cash flow from operations has tripled in the last five years and exceeded the target set by the Port of Normandy’s strategic project at €55m (US$62.1m).

Cash flow-to-dept ratio (an indication of the number of years needed to repay debt) has also improved at three years in 2018 compared to 13 years in 2013.

Development of berths 11 and 12 of Port 2000 has been presented to the supervisory board for a decision in June 2019, made more attractive as traffic grew 2% year-on-year in 2018.

The large investment programme also includes river access to Port 2000 with work expected to begin in 2021 and the start of operations scheduled in 2023, as well as the development of a wind farm project.

Emmanuéle Perron, chair of the Port of Le Havre supervisory board, said: “I am pleased with the results achieved both in terms of traffic and financial matters…

“The good figures mean we can ‘make it’, that is to say, continue the operations undertaken in recent years and initiate new ones.”

Hinterland full container traffic at the port has been growing steadily for 10 years against a background marked by weak “containerisable” French foreign trade with countries outside of the EU (third countries).

This growth is attributed mainly to exports, in particular to North America (+54%) but also to Africa (+49%), South East Asia (+48%) and Central America (+38%).

At 50%, exports count for more of Haropa’s market share in France’s foreign trade with third countries than imports which is consistent with Le Havre’s position as “the last call for exports”.

Le Havre is chosen as a port of call as the last port for exports 3.5 times more than the first port for imports by transoceanic services.

The renewal of the offer of alliances on the main east-west trades has led to the resumption of imports since 2017.

Hervé Martel, the former managing director of the Port of Le Havre, has been appointed the head of the Seaport of Marseille as of April 15 2019.

On the growth in traffic, Martel said: “The sharp increase in traffic since 2017 corresponds to services operated by the three major shipping alliances which have confirmed their confidence in the port of Le Havre.

“Their activity today represents 76% of our import flows and 54% of our export flows.”

Additionally, despite its delay, the Port of Le Havre has taken action to prepare for the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU with the common goal to accommodate and streamline traffic.

The port has doubled round trips by BAI 3 days a week, which started on March 30 2019, and Le Havre has taken every measure to be ready.

Perron added: “Our port is in good health today and ready to meet the challenges to ensure our development.”