A highly diverse niche
Conventional trade is an important foundation of Ports of Normandy’s activity. Every year, around 1 million tonnes of extremely diverse, essentially niche cargo passes through our ports: dry bulk (quarry materials, grain, scrap metal), liquid bulk (molasses, petroleum products), heavy-lift or cumbersome units (wind turbines, transformers, boats, etc.) or hazardous goods (class 1, class 7).
To handle such traffic, we have developed highly specific expertise and a quality infrastructure: draught of up to 14 m, heavy-lift quays of up to 50 T/m², over 200 hectares of hardstanding, a wide range of facilities, over 60,000 m² of buildings, more than 20 dock cranes with a capacity of up to 120 T, silos, dryers, pipe, class 1 terminal, etc.
Ports of Normandy is also an industrial base with land reserves to accommodate new industrial sectors alongside the existing ones (automotive, agri-foods, MRE, parapetroleum, shipbuilding and others).
Commerce in Caen-Ouistreham
Bordering a 15-km canal linking Caen to the sea, the commercial port comprises 4 terminals: New dock/Calix, Hérouville, Blainville and Ranville, handling over 500,000 T of goods per year. It is accessible via a lock open 16 hours a day, on average, enabling ships with a beam of up to 27.4 m (approximately 30,000 T) to dock at the terminals.
Port traffic focuses on the food and agri-food business (grain, fertiliser, cattle feed) while diversifying into niche areas such as the import/export of biomass, bentonite and molasses. Port traffic focuses on the food and agri-food business (grain, fertiliser, cattle feed) while diversifying into niche areas such as the import/export of biomass, bentonite and molasses.
The commercial port has a 2,000-m long quay, 164 ha of land area under concession including 30 ha with potential for development, and specific facilities including 15 ha of buildings including bulk depots, liquid terminals, grain silos, a lumber drying kiln, etc.
Commerce in Cherbourg
Accessible 24/7 with no locks to negotiate or limits in terms of draught or vertical clearance, and a depth of at least 13 m alongside guaranteed all year round. The port has a 360-m quay (5 T/m²), ideally suited to handling sundry merchandise and bulk, and 2 other quays (220 m and 100 m) more specifically designed for heavy-lift cargo (capacity up to 50 T/m²). Finally, the port offers 80 ha of hardstanding with no specific normative constraints and with low-compressibility soil that is ideally suited for storing heavy or cumbersome cargo, as well as a class 1 storage yard. A dual-carriageway road and a rail spur serve the port.
Commerce in Dieppe
Primarily structured around the Bassin de Paris with a quay length of 1,800 m and a depth of up to 9 m, and along Quai Gaston Lalitte in the outer harbour, the port of Dieppe can cope with high volumes of dry bulk and package traffic to serve a dynamic regional economy, thanks to high-performance handling equipment: 3 mobile dock cranes (40, 60 and 120 T) and 2 telescopic cranes (45 and 80 T). Onshore wind turbine components, offshore sand and gravel, rapeseed and heavy-lift packages are the most profitable sectors of the port’s trade.
This bridge is an essential link between the east and west halves of Greater Caen. It is used every day by 18,000 vehicles, 7% of which are heavy goods vehicles. However, it no longer has the technical capacity to accommodate the traffic that is currently using it. It is showing signs of fatigue and vehicles over 7.5 tonnes have now been banned from using it. Breakdowns are constantly reoccurring, causing major traffic disruption. It is therefore no longer reasonable to maintain a bridge that suffers from random interruptions of service which disrupt both road and canal traffic.
The bridge will therefore be replaced with a new one. This new structure will be the main link between the new residential and commercial development La Presqu’Ile Hérouvillaise and the historic town. It aims to accommodate all the various users (pedestrians, cyclists, drivers) in complete safety while ensuring the proper management of ships using the canal.
In terms of maritime use, the new bridge is going to be similar to the existing one. In other words, it will be a swing bridge operated by Ports of Normandy’s remote control system for all such structures. It will provide a navigation channel that is 40 metres wide and can accommodate all types of vessel likely to pass through the locks at Ouistreham. The clearance gauge under the bridge will be between 4.10 m and 5.50 m so that leisure craft for activities such as rowing, or future river shuttles can pass under without the bridge needing to be opened.
Ports of Normandy chose very early on to invest massively in adapting its infrastructures to the needs expressed by the offshore bottom-fixed wind turbine industry. In the Port of Cherbourg we extended the port by 39 ha so that industrial operators could use 100 ha of hardstanding devoted to marine renewable energies and a heavy-lift quay able to accommodate up to 50 tonnes per m². Today, Cherbourg is home to numerous industrial operators which are involved in the manufacture of bottom-fixed wind turbines for Saint-Brieuc, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp as well as the LMWP factory which makes blades for the Haliade X-14MW.
Ever the pioneer, Ports of Normandy intends to continue the adaptation of its infrastructure so that it can meet the needs of the floating wind turbine sector. Calls for tenders are emerging and the industry is beginning to express its needs for manufacturing floating platforms (which can measure up to 100 m²), launching them and installing the wind turbines on them. The major part of tomorrow’s wind turbine market will be floating turbines. For Ports of Normandy this means exploiting the existing investments and consolidating them so they can satisfy the new needs. Surveys will be undertaken to prepare the ground for these investments.
The hardstanding in Dieppe outer harbour (8.8 ha) is home to the cross-Channel terminal, Gaston Lalitte quay (heavy cargo) and an area dedicated to the business of extracting aggregates from the sea. Ports of Normandy intends to extend this hardstanding in order to meet the needs of the cross-Channel business and allow the Port of Dieppe to attract new maritime traffic.
Brexit, which is already in place, and especially the forthcoming Entry-Exit system (EES) require inspections which mean that the cross-Channel area will have to be enlarged by 3 ha if we are to guarantee an unhindered flow.
As for the area that accommodates the sea aggregates business, its enlargement by 3 ha will benefit the future wind turbine maintenance facility for the Dieppe-Le Tréport wind farm and improve the circulation of heavy cargo.
Lastly, by enlarging the outer harbour by 13 ha, the Port of Dieppe is adapting to the increasing size of commercial vessels which will, sooner or later, no longer be able to enter the Paris Dock. It is therefore reasonable to anticipate and plan for an area that such vessels can access directly and easily within the coming decade.
The project includes a phase of technical, environmental, legal and economic studies. This phase began in 2022 and should be complete by late 2024. The purpose of the studies is to confirm the operation’s feasibility. If confirmation is forthcoming, the works could get underway in 2025/2026.