Current situation of intermodal transport & shortsea shipping in France

More than 37 % of the total intra-EU exchange of goods (in tonne-km) goes through the EU’s ports (Eurostat 2014).  With three different coastlines and numerous ports, France has significant potential for short sea shipping.  Share of short sea shipping in total ports activities in France is about 70 % (in tonnes).

1. Market observation

North Sea / Cross-Channel Very dynamic area: numerous container, Ro-Ro and Ferry lines and services.

– On the Strait: especially Calais-Dover link with three operators (My Ferry Link, DFDS and P&O Ferries) and 60 departures/day both ways.

– Western Channel: Brittany Ferries particularly active with its services, e.g. Caen-Portsmouth

carte-nord-europe Atlantic Sea: Several new regular Shortsea services launched and upgraded.

– Montoir-Vigo service operated by Suardiaz which deploys 3 vessels (one more since January) on this line

– Atlantic Arc: new services by Brittany Ferries

– Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port: hub for motorways of the sea and shortsea lines. Ex: Milk Run Med service: France-Tunisia-Italy-Spain, extended to Tanger Med Carte-BAI-2 Mediterranean Sea: Main part / most important share of European Shortsea shipping.

– In France: very dynamic with increasing number of services with North Africa and East Med

– Ex: Marseille-Maghreb, Sète-Morocco, Toulon-Turkey, etc.

– DFDS: France-Maghreb service recently extended to Turkey, Iberian Peninsula

– Others French operators: Corsica Ferries, La Méridionale, SNCM

Some French operators are active in all these areas and beyond; the main one being CMA CGM group

cma 2. New emissions regulations

  •  SOx, NOx, CO2, particles
  •  Ships to be compliant with all new regulations
  • Fleet renewal : retrofiting and newbuilding

Consequences: increase in operational costs and risk of modal shift to the road.

In connection with new sulphur emission regulation in SECA -English Channel, North Sea & Baltic Sea- (since January 1st, 2015), shipowners have to adapt their fleets and reshape their services:
– DFDS has closed route between Le Havre and Portsmouth
– Brittany Ferries installs scrubbers on its vessels as a first step
– 2 LNG terminals in France (3 soon): Nantes, Marseille-Fos and Dunkerque (soon) to cope with the Alternative Fuels infrastructure Directive 2014/94/EU (Clean Power for Transport) which is to come into force.

BP2S / SPC France is active in promoting LNG (solution) as a fuel for shortsea vessels: Working groups and workshops with stakeholders re. Sulphur Directive, Coordination with Transport Minister task force & dissemination

3. Others actions and initiatives in France for Shortsea & Intermodality development:

Single Window & reporting formalities for ships
Directive 2010/65/EU -which aims to simplify and harmonise the administrative procedures applied to maritime transport by establishing a standard electronic transmission of information and by rationalising reporting formalities for ships arriving in and ships departing from European Union (EU) ports- is now adopted.
Transposition in France law is in process.

French actions for Intra-EU Intermodality: Consultations & dissemination

  •  “Combined Transport” Directive 92/106/EC re. Intermodal Transport
  •  “Weight & dimensions” Directive 96/53/EC re. Eurocontainer 45’PW
  •  Concrete Proposal to CEN for 45’PW Unit standardization

Amendment of Directive 96/53 on weight and dimensions authorizes now transport of the container 45’PW on EU roads.

Implementation of economic instruments -in favor of the demand of transport- to incentive shortsea shipping, e.g. Ecobonus at European level for encouraging modal shift (shifting long-distance transport away from roads) and intermodality- now on the agenda of French Ministry.
Project submitted by French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese Ministries of transport for the Call 2014 of the CEF -Connecting Europe Facilities- Transport program.

SPC France / BP2S promotes tools and support effective solutions for Shortsea and intermodality development: E-Manifest, Blue Belt, Single Transport Document, Ecobonus, Eurocontainer 45’PW, etc.

Author: BP2S / SPC France

The SPC France (Shortsea Promotion Centre) is an association gathering public authorities, professional organisations and transport companies of all sectors (shippers, freight forwarders, road hauliers, ports, ship owners, shipping agents, etc.) aiming at promoting Shortsea Shipping and intermodality in Europe and Mediterranean.
Its main activity is providing easy access to information via its website and blog updated daily, a weekly newsletter and a monthly news bulletin, plus theme-based and summary data sheets, etc.
The SPC France also organises meetings, workshops and conferences for its members.

On intermodality, SPC France identifies freight that can be switched from road to a logistics system with a sea leg, and takes part in feasibility studies (economy, bottlenecks and good practices), etc. The SPC France is also a forum for networking and support for initiatives promoting shortsea shipping and intermodal logistics in France and in Europe.
It also provides guidance for its members in seeking national and European funding.