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Haropa focuses on recovery of box trade at French ports hit by strikes

HAROPA, the union of the French ports of Paris, Rouen and Le Havre, has unveiled the second phase of its stimulus package that aims to recover lost container traffic as a result of the union's industrial action in December and January

11 March 2020 - 19:00

HAROPA, the union of the French ports of Paris, Rouen and Le Havre, has unveiled the second phase of its stimulus package that aims to recover lost container traffic as a result of the union's industrial action in December and January.

With French President Emmanuel Macron deciding to push through his controversial pension reforms, despite significant industrial unrest, there appears to be a general mood of recuperation from all stakeholders at Le Havre, reported UK's The Loadstar.



The port plus stevedores, unions, mooring and tug operators and several other stakeholders, signed the second part of a programme that aims to create a 'recovery shock'.



The group has agreed to share the extra costs of import container storage costs, corresponding to 100,000 containers per day, between the port, terminal operators and with the port authority.



Moreover, pilots, tugs and mooring services will grant a 10 per cent discount to any new services calling at Le Havre between April 1 and December 31.



'By collectively adopting these exceptional measures, we want to send a clear, direct message: together we are reaffirming the will of the port of Le Havre to serve all our customers beyond the cyclical fluctuations and thus restore confidence, allowing us to quickly regain our development dynamics,' said Haropa chief executive Baptiste Maurand.



Ocean carriers skipped 200 port calls at Le Havre in December and January, due to uncertainty during industrial action, redirecting French imports and exports via Antwerp.



One analyst told The Loadstar that Le Havre could have lost 200-250,000 TEU. 'It will take some time for the carriers to regain confidence in Le Havre,' he said.



'Once a line and its customers get used to routing through another port it is difficult to persuade them to come back. The concessions will help, of course, but unless the threat of new industrial action is completely taken off the table, I can't see it making much difference,' he said.



The first part of Haropa's stimulus plan consists of a 'one-off commercial rebate' on port fees for containerships calling at Le Havre in January and February, along with a two-year tariff discount for new services.



Rocked by the industrial unrest, the number of containers handled by Haropa last year dropped by 3.5 per cent against 2018, to 2.9 million TEU.


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