Participants at the Assises de la Economie de la Mer at Le Havre this week were addressed by Édouard Philippe, Prime Minister of France, who shared his vision of a revitalised French maritime sector. With its ports far from dominant in European and international trade, new thinking, supportive policy and and a clear focus on new energy, in particular, LNG marine fuel, are required, the PM said.
“I will not offend anyone if I say that France does not have a port traffic worthy of its coastline, its internal market and its place in Europe. And I will not surprise anyone if I say that if we do nothing, it will not work out”, Édouard Philippe said. A policy focus and oversight of the port regions of Le Havre, Marseille and Dunkerque is intended to enable competitive status with the likes of Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Changes to tax laws will stimulate investment and intermodal development, thereby optimizing use of port areas.
LNG Marine Fuel
The Prime Minister (PM) paid tribute to Brittany Ferries and to CMA CGM for their leadership in the field of alternative maritime energy. Brittany Ferries has ordered a new ferry powered by LNG that will operate on the company’s busiest route from Portsmouth, UK to Caen in north western France, with a planned arrival in spring 2019. Maritime transport leader CMA CGM Group announced at the recent COP23 meeting in Bonn it’s decision to power nine 22,000 TEU newbuilds with engines using LNG. These will be the largest containerships in the world powered by liquefied natural gas.
“I welcome the lead,” Phillipe adds. “We must make this transition a differentiating element in the marketplace. On transportation and port supply. Because standards evolve very fast. Because public opinion, and so much the better, is more and more sensitive. Because not preparing a predictable evolution is already falling behind. That is why the State will adapt the regulations on this fuel to facilitate the supply of ships in ports.”
The PM informed listeners he has requested the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, to look into revising the terms of amortization of investments concerning the purchase of new ships or modes of propulsion, to facilitate French ports setting up the relevant infrastructure to support LNG-fuelled vessels and establish secure LNG fuel supply.
“So, yes, we have to move. Quick. And not a little. Because without powerful ports, no maritime power. No port industry, no jobs, no future for Le Havre, Marseille, Dunkirk. No France in globalization,” the PM concluded.
Source: Government of France