The East Port is growing

40% subsidized by the ERDF, the modernization of the island of Réunion’s only commercial port is a new opportunity for this far-flung region.

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On the quays. On the quays.

Context

The island of Réunion is a French overseas territory (DOM) in the Indian Ocean, in a developing part of the world (Madagascar, Comores, Mauritius). Exchange of goods with the outside world is principally carried out by sea (3.5 million tonnes in 2003) and only minimally by air (20,000 tonnes). Réunion port is in the north-west of the island, where the majority of industrial, commercial and logistical businesses are located. It is the island’s only commercial port. It has two sites: the historic West Port, in the town centre of the area of Le Port, and the East Port, created in 1986, alongside the industrial zone near the area of La Possession. Since it can accommodate ships three times larger than the West Port, the East Port deals with 90% of the overall traffic: containers, luxury products, coal, clinker, cement, cereals, vehicles, diverse merchandise and passengers (links with Mauritius and cruises).

Absorbing the increase in traffic and volume

Beginning in September 2004, the modernization of the East Port has four aims:
- To create new capacity for absorbing the traffic expected up to 2015 (at an increase of 50,000 to 100,000 tonnes per year).
- To reduce waiting times and to increase the quality of services.
- To create new bulk storage capacity.
The works are concentrated on: enlarging the zone of manoeuvre for ships and widening the access channel; constructing and equipping a 649 m quay able to accommodate 2 80,000 tonne ships; modernizing the stockpile and its access routes; cleaning up the surrounding area and eliminating waste; providing temporary storage for dredging and excavation output, so that rather than being thrown back into the sea this material, which is becoming scarce on the island, can be used by the construction industry and for public works.

Results

The extension of the port allows the accommodation of ships of a size appropriate to the current and mid-term volume of traffic. It means that positions on the quays can be grouped into terminals, each specialized for a particular type of merchandise and/or handling, thereby offering a better service at a better price. The creation of a coal stockpile and the preparation of new land also provides an opportunity for establishing a power station in the vicinity. The near-completion of the transfer of activities to the east means that the town of Le Port can get on with its urban planning projects (creating a yachting harbour, converting factories into third-sector spaces).

The project has contributed to a 5 to 7% decrease in costs for sea-route importers of solid and liquid bulk goods. The ability to charter “panamax” vessels for clinker (between 50,000 and 80,000 tonnes) helps to sustain local transformation of this product into cement (an activity providing about 30 jobs).
Transfer of luxury products allows handlers at the container terminal to position themselves more favourably with respect to the market. The increase in capacity for the stockpiling of cereals and animal food strengthens the island’s meat network and helps it to continue to compete with the import market (current division being 50% imported meat and 50% locally produced). The transfer of vegetable oils into another part of the port will strengthen this industry by increasing its productivity. Finally, the decrease in usage of certain parts of the port increases the chances of creating a permanent dock for a large cruise liner.

Draft date

01/02/2006