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Le Havre (Municipality, Seine-Maritime, France): Port Authority

Port autonome du Havre

Last modified: 2004-12-22 by
Keywords: havre (le) | port authority | port autonome | ship (white) | stars: 12 (yellow) |
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[Flag of Le Havre Port Authority]by Ivan Sache

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Presentation of the port of Le Havre

Le Havre is currently the first port (by traffic) in France and the fifth in Europe. Energy ranks first, with importations of crude oil and coal, and transfer of refined products and gazeous hydrocarbures. Main bulk goods are grains, industrial products and chemicals. There is also a very important activity of container transfer. Passenger traffic is mostly represented by ferries operated by P&O between Portsmouth and Le Havre.

The number of commerce ships landing each year in Le Havre is about 7,000, involving 250 scheduled lines with more than 500 ports all over the world. The port has developed specialized terminals and recently a new port for container ships, the largest in France and one of the largest in Europe. The project Port 2000 shall allow landing of all kind of ships regardless the tide and without waiting time.

The François I lock (écluse François I) is one of the biggest locks in the world (length, 400 m; width, 67 m; depth, 24 m). 250,000-ton ships can cross it and sail from the tidal basins into the constant level basins and canals such as the canal du Havre.

A big industrial zone (1,500 ha) was set up along the canal du Havre. Big companies such as Renault and Hispano-Suiza (mechanic industries), Elf, Atochem, Goodyear and Air Liquide (petrochemistry) and Lafarge (cement) have built factories and warehouses in this industrial zone.

In 1995, the inauguration of the bridge of Normandy favoured the activity of the port by opening a quick route towards west. Compared with the traditional, crowdy route via the bridge of Tancarville, 70 km were spared.

A separate oil terminal was built in 1972 in Antifer, 22 km north of Le Havre. The port, built in deep water (25 m) was expected to receive supertankers (550,000 tons), but its economical interest was and is still disputed.

The organisation of the ports and the management of the traffic are explained in details, with nice screen simulations, in the Espace maritime et portuaire des docks Vauban, a museum set up in the XIXth century docks of Le Havre. Since the entrance of the port is located near the center of the city (as opposed to Marseilles, for instance), the impressive traffic of huge container ships surrounded by a flotill of "bees" can be easily spotted from the promenade of Le Havre.


Ivan Sache, 15 October 2003

Flag of the Port Authority of Le Havre

The port of Le Havre is managed by a State agency called Port autonome du Havre (Port Authority of Le Havre). The flag of the Port Authority flies in front of the main building of the Port Authority and in other places in the port. It is made of a white logo on a blue field.

The logo is made of a ship 'crossing' a H letter with curved vertical arms. The superstructure of the ship is made of the two letters p and a, so that the full logo can be 'read': port autonome du Havre. The logo can also represent a big ship crossing the François I lock. A ring of twelve European yellow stars is placed over the logo.

Ivan Sache, 15 October 2003