Optic 2000

29 Mar 2006

A sacred union made Port 2000, the plural left and the singular right with the assistance of the President of the Republic – who proclaimed in September of 1995 that Port 2000 is “a project of national economic importance and major political interest” – and to the communist Minister of Transportation, the inexhaustible Mr. Gayssot who will not cease to carry budgetary additions on each of his visits to Porte Océane. Only SOS Estuaire and Robin des Bois have grappled with this machine.

The full extent of the risks
Port 2000 will manipulate and stockpile all classes of hazardous materials. The CIM area encompasses 100 meters in the back of the container parks. CIM (Industrial and Maritime Company) has the capacity to stock 5 million tons of oil and is subject to the Seveso directive. To reduce the domino effect between the two installations, in case of industrial accidents, it did not bode well during the initial stages of the project. Then the idea for a slope – measuring 1 to 2 meters long, 60 meters wide at the base, and 17 meters high – was introduced. Experts and third-experts considered it the surest solution concerning the reduction of missile effects and the confinement of toxic and thermal flows. This option would have reduced the availability of container parks by 20%; consequently, this precaution was deemed “unacceptable in regards to the public investment made in other respects to the maritime infrastructure.” The work was surrendered for the profit from two container stacks separated by a corridor measuring 46 meters and functioning as an internal passageway. It was advised that these screen walls be composed of four levels of containers; but the final product consists of only three containers. The structure’s ability to prevent risks is weakened. Example: “Unlike a wall consisting of four containers, a wall of merely three containers does not allow for the containment of zone Z1 (lethal, NDLR) resulting in the escape of chlorinate.” CIM, under pressure from DRIRE (Regional office of Industry, Research, and Environment), dismantled a holding tank of 150,000 tons encrusted in the area of Port 2000. In exchange, CIM negotiated with Port Autonome the prolongation of the concession that expires in 2019.

A good dose of sludge
Similarly, the sludge does its own. The dredging for the maintenance of Port 2000 was evaluated at 1.3 million tons per year. It’s re-examined today at having risen and certain professionals estimate that in actuality the means of dredging that the necessary drought for the biggest of the container ships requires can’t be guaranteed on the entirety of the basin. As of the revealing of the project; Robin des Bois has called attention to the uncertainties on the modifications to the current in the estuary of the Seine and the risks to maritime security. Forty-one million tons of sludge contaminated by metals, PCBs, and hydrocarbons were extracted for the digging of Port 2000 and its access channel. The largest quantity of sludge was immersed opposite of Havre. Today, this contributes to the unhealthy state of the bay of the Seine and the littoral.

The vacuum of Port 2000
In the beginning, it was euphoria and manipulation of the masses: stockades of giant container ships, crowding of containers and scuffles at the entrance gate. At the arrival, more than three years after the announced delays, it’s more morose. A solitary ship-owner committed himself to exploiting two stations alongside the quay on twelve projections – CMA-CGM. Maersk, the first global ship-owner is currently in default and many other candidates have withdrawn. MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) was installed in the internal port. So it’s into a noxious environment that the inauguration of Port 2000 will go. CMA-CGM could, in effect, touch Port 2000 on Thursday: a factitious stopover. No container would be loaded or unloaded on Port 2000, and after cocktails for 2000 people – set in the light of piers, ceremonies, demonstrations, and maybe a detour not programmed by the internal harbor – it will take the route to Southampton again or the Mediterranean as it passenger waybill indicates on the French Asia Line at CMA-CGM.com; a symbolic illustration of the insufficiency of the rail, road, and river routes connecting at Port 2000.

Optic 2000
All the ship-owners agree. Port 2000 is a good idea from the point of view of maritime trade. The problem is that it arrives ten to twenty years too late in an evolutionary context that asserts the traffic/trade/trading of proximity and the diversification of flows. In obtaining more than a billion Euros for the construction of Port 2000 and the super-specialization of containers, Port Autonome of Havre creates real obstacles to the complimentary nature of Norman ports and to their development; the most ironic aspect of the affair, in 2005, traffic at Rouen increased while traffic at Le Havre dropped.


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