Normandy -- Gateway to Europe

Dec. 21, 2007
Port facilities will increase threefold with the completion of Le Havre's Port 2000 development.

Normandy has set a bold goal of becoming the gateway for Northwestern Europe, according to Myriam Camara, Logistics Project Manager at Normany Development. One way they plan to achieve this goal is a project called Port 2000, which will expand the cargo hub at the Le Havre port. Currently, the port has four berths of 1,1000 feet long , but it will expand threefold to twelve upon completion of the projects.

The Normandy port complex is the largest in France and the fourth largest in Europe. In addition to Le Havre, the other ports are Rouen and Cherbourg, which has the biggest deep water port at the entrance to the Channel. Other port installations are in Caen and Dieppe.

"Le Havre is a benchmark port," says Ranald Hahn, General Manager at Prologis, "it is a high potential site with many advantages: easy access,diversity of modes of transport, density of activity, significant labor pool, low property costs and tax advantages."

With labor costs 38% lower compared to other Northern European ports and available land sites at 8% to 20% lower than elsewhere, Normandy offers operations costs reduced by an average
of 20% to 30%, according to Normandy Development.

Growing Industrial Base

"The ports need to support the increasing industrial activity here. In addition to the key industries of agribusiness and agro-industry, food and chemicals, cosmetics, medicine and aeronautics are increasing," explains Camara.

Logistic companies have a strong presence in this area to service the automotive, mechanical engineering, oil, electronic and IT industries. Normandy has one the highest concentration of logistics facilities in France after the Paris region. Growing at a rate of 10% per year, the ports' cargo throughput reached 100 million tons (2.13 million TEU) in 2006. The location also places, 250 million consumers within in a two day truck radius and that number equals more than 70% of the EU population. Additionally, the Normandy port complex handles 50% of France's maritime foreign trade.

"One reason for our growth is that we are very cost competitive, especially when you compare us to other much larger ports," said Camara.

The increase in business is coming mainly from Europe says Camara although increasingly U.S. companies such as Chevron, Wal-Mart and Prologics are settling in the region.

The growth in the Normandy Port complex is due to a conscientious effort on the part of the government which is providing the financing for the port expansion. There are private sources of funds as well especially as companies who locate here and are willing to invest in the infrastructure to facilitate their own growth.

Looking at the region via its employment in various industries it is diversified.

Automotive Industry/Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautics/Space -- first regional employer, more than 68,000 jobs

Agribusiness and Agro-industry -- Ranks 1st or 2nd in many industries in France, 330 companies, 35,000 jobs.

Oil and Chemicals -- Number one in France for refining, accounting for 35% of the country's capacity, 235 companies, 20,000 jobs.

Other sectors that hold importance to the area include:

Life Sciences (Drugs, Healthcare, and Cosmetics) -- 2nd highest industrial concentration in France.

Plastic Processing -- Polymer processing for the automotive, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, agribusiness, and others.

Upstream chain -- manufacturing plastics for oil industry (AtoFina and ExxonMobil Chemical).

Materials and their Applications -- Boating and Sailing (Cherbourg, Caen, Le Havre) Aeronautics and Space (Snecma, Aircelle)

Packaging: Plastics, cardboard and glass -- The Bresle Valley-Glass Valley Industrial Cluster, the world's number one manufacturing center of glass bottles for perfumery and cosmetics

Packing and Packaging Engineering, Training department -- 4th largest of its kind in France

Environmental Sciences and Technologies Environment Control

Recycling and Industrial Waste Treatment

Industrial Safety

Normandy is also hopeful that new industries such as biofuels will choose to locate here as well. "Given our historical strength in both chemicals and agriculture, biofuels would be a natural extension, says Camera.

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