Developments for renewables and larger vessels at Ouistreham
Significant developments are taking place at the northern French port of Ouistreham that are aimed at allowing access for larger vessels as well as creating 30 to 40 additional waiting spaces in the water for pleasure boats and facilitating safety and emergency operations.
The plans for expansion also include reclaiming land on the eastern pier and providing facilities to accommodate maintenance activities for the future offshore wind facility at Courseulles-sur-Mer.
These works will involve both the enlargement of the eastern pier, the redevelopment of the maritime facilities for the fishing, pleasure boating, towing and safety and emergency services, as well as constructing new guide walls for the western lock. These guide walls are a physical guidance system positioned upstream and downstream of the western lock and their purpose is to secure the entry and exit to the lock, reduce weather hazards at the entry to the port and, lastly, offer access to the port to larger vessels.
Currently the maximum authorised width in the lock is limited to 24 metres with exemptions possible up to 26 metres, whereas the lock is 225 m in long, 28.45 m wide and 9.2 m deep. The guide walls will enable the maximum authorised width to be increased to 26 metres without any exceptions. An economic study has suggested that this lock improvement will allow 1,000 additional vessels will be able to access the port which in turn could increase cargo activity by approximately 100,000 tonnes per year.
The cost of the new guide walls is estimated to be €10 million and the cost of redeveloping the outer port is estimated at €6 million. Work has already started on the lock guides and repairs to the middle gates of the lock costing €1.2 million have been completed. Various works are being carried out at the bulk terminal in the inner port to improve facilities there.
The re-development of the East Pier will see its width expand and new facilities provided for the mooring of port and wind farm support vessels. Included in this development is a new port control building and shore facilities for the lifeboat and other port vessels such as tugs.
Despite the rather unclear picture caused by Brexit, ferry companies operating at the port plan expansion with Irish Ferries planning to acquire a new ship to replace the Epsilon and Brittany Ferries planning to replace their Normandy. The port authority, the PNA is ready to adapt its infrastructure to the size of these new ships, if required. The concession holders, for their part, are also involved, as Caen-Normandy CCI, which is the regional development organisation, is going to invest €1.5 M in the ferry terminal at Ouistreham.
By Dag Pike
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