Aviation article(s)
April 9, 2024

The Administrative Court in Rouen has dismissed a summary motion to suspend work on the river access channel in Le Havre (known as the "cat flap") on March 29.


This allows HAROPA PORT to continue the preparatory work for the embankment to secure and expand river barge access to Port 2000.


In a statement, HAROPA said in the ruling the Administrative Court in Rouen dismissed the motion seeking the suspension of the application of the government's official order of June 19, 2023, authorising the start of work on the channel.


It stated that "at the current stage in proceedings, none of the arguments put forward [by the applicants] is such as to justify serious doubts as to the legality of the contested order. Consequently, their conclusions arguing for suspension of the application of said order must be dismissed, without need for a ruling on the matter of urgency."


The structure involved comprises a 1,800-metre-long river channel protected by an embankment that will provide a direct connection between Port 2000 and the Seine basin, France's largest employment and consumer catchment area.


HAROPA noted that the project enjoys the support of the Normandy regional authority, which is contributing €82.75 million to the central government, with €23.60 million and €11 million in EU funds.


"This investment is of strategic importance for the development of multimodality along the Seine Axis as a whole and the creation of a green corridor for the decarbonisation of our logistics chains," HAROPA said in the announcement.


It noted that the preparatory work for the construction of the embankment commenced at the beginning of this year.


Completion will take nearly two years.


HAROPA noted that this project, by creating direct river access to the terminals at Port 2000 in the Le Havre municipal district, is in line with the national policy for the development of river transportation of goods.


The protected route created between the outer basin of the historical port and that of Port 2000 will allow river barges to enter and exit in all weather and tidal conditions.


The ways and means devoted to executing the planned operations have been chosen to limit the impacts on the natural environment. In addition, the massification of river goods traffic will help reduce CO2 emissions. A monitoring committee has been set up to track the operations and their effects on the environment.


Jean-Benoît Albertini, Prefect for the Normandy Region and the Seine-Maritime département said the "cat flap" is an essential piece of infrastructure for the port of Le Havre.


"It will allow all types of river barge to reach Port 2000's container terminals. By permitting the resumption of work, this court ruling will at last help consolidate Le Havre's place in international logistics chains, making it a natural point of entry for France and Northern Europe, thereby bolstering Europe's foreign trade," he said.

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