Ports of Normandy puts an emphasis on renewables

PNA is working on developing the MRE sector in Cherbourg PNA is working on developing the MRE sector in Cherbourg

The Ports of Normandy Authority (PNA) is looking to scale up its operations with the construction of two blade and marine turbine plants in Cherbourg and a growing ship repair business in 2018.

After three successive years of progression at an average of almost 5% per year, passenger traffic was slightly down (-2.61%) for which PNA because of the continued effects of Brexit and the weak British pound.

So, in 2018, the challenge for the authority will be to continue efforts to diversify conventional traffic and thus reduce the dependence on the weaker markets for passenger and grain traffic.

MRE focus

One of the ways PNA is looking at doing this by developing the Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) sector in Cherbourg.

PNA is focusing on what it calls niche activities and one of these is the wood industry in Caen. The port is now processing pellets about 10,000 tonnes per year so a new attapulgite traffic has been introduced.

Construction of the LM Windpower blade plant began in February 2017 while construction of the Open Hydro Naval Energies marine turbine plant began in March 2017. They will be completed during the first quarter of 2018.

Meanwhile, the construction of the maintenance base at Ouistreham remains suspended at the end of appeals. This base is part of a wider project to develop the outer port which combines multiple functionalities and uses linked to commercial, fishing and pleasure vessels and future offshore wind energy activities.

Ship repair

PNA is also looking at ways it can bolster the ship repair sector in the region.

The authority manages three dry docking tools at the port of Cherbourg for units up to 4,000 tonnes. In 2017, 125 dry dockings were carried out, which is identical to the activity in 2016.

The authority put out a call for expression of interest (EOI) in January 2018 to commercialise seven property and land plots in Cherbourg to help expand ship repair activities.

In addition, Channel Maintenance Cherbourg said it will be launching a number of commercial initiatives to help expand the market.

By Anne-Marie Causer

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