Swissterminal is to take over operations of three French inland ports – Ottmarsheim, Huningue-Village-Neuf and Ile Napoléon.
The Switzerland-based integrated logistics operator won an international tender to operate the three Alsatian ports. Swissterminal International AG will form a new wholly owned subsidiary, Alsaceterminal.
Alsaceteam, a newly established joint venture with the French seaports of Le Havre and Marseille-Fos, serves as the legal and supporting structure behind Swissterminal’s new activities in France. As part of this public-private partnership, Alsaceteam will take 39% equity in Euro Rhine Ports, the successor of the former publicly owned port company Ports de Mulhouse Rhin.
Euro Rhine Ports is the new concessionaire of the ports of Ottmarsheim, Huningue-Village-Neuf and Ile Napoléon. The majority shareholder of Euro Rhine Ports is the Syndicat Mixte des Ports du Sud-Alsace, which is composed of five public partners: Grand-Est region, Mulhouse Alsace Agglomération (M2A), Saint-Louis Agglomération (SLA), Voies Navigables France (VNF) and the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie (CCI). Operator of three Alsatian ports is Alsaceterminal.
Swissterminal said its move would improve transport connections within Europe for the forwarding industry on the border triangle region. In future, new rail connections will closely link this important economic region for numerous industries, such as chemicals, metals, food processing and construction, to the two main French seaports of Le Havre and Marseille-Fos. At the same time, the firm added, inland shipping to the largest North Range ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp will be strengthened.
The current bulk-goods port in Huningue-Village-Neuf, located on the River Rhine and about 35 km southeast of Mulhouse, will be developed into a trimodal transhipment centre (rail/barge/truck) for container traffic with Switzerland by 2025.
Ottmarsheim, located on the River Rhine 15 km northeast of Mulhouse, is the largest of the three ports and covers over 132-ha. The annual capacity of this modern trimodal container terminal (rail/barge/truck) with a direct rail connection is currently approximately 200,000 TEU, but can be expanded according to market requirements.
The third port site in the Ile Napoléon industrial zone is just outside Mulhouse city limits on the Rhine-Rhône Canal. It will continue to serve for conventional cargo handling of bulk goods and fuels.
Alsaceterminal will integrate the current employees in the three locations. Lionel Husser will serve as CEO of Alsaceterminal, following a 10-year career managing the container terminals at the Port Autonome de Strasbourg and four years as General Deputy Manager of the Alsatian subsidiary of Group Charles Andre (GCA).
Roman Mayer, chairman of the Board of Directors at Swissterminal, commented: “We are delighted to have won the tender for operating the ports of Huningue-Village-Neuf, Ile Napoléon and Ottmarsheim. Much to our disappointment, we will not be able to expand our activities in the Port of Switzerland (Schweizerische Rheinhäfen).
“However, with Euro Rhine Ports and the port operation by Alsaceterminal, we now have the solution and are able to grow our terminal network.
“In these three new ports, we provide our customers access to additional space for logistics growth as well as increased storage and handling capacities. Compared with the small Kleinhueningen terminal in Basel, the possibilities for development are endless.
“Our goal is to significantly increase the utilisation and efficiency of the three Alsatian ports to offer the industry additional opportunities and to meet future market needs. The Huningue-Village-Neuf, Ile Napoléon and Ottmarsheim sites will be integrated into the existing network of Swissterminal and our partner DP World and tremendously improve transport connections in this part of Europe.”