New port plan as Seine takes freight strain in Paris

The Local France
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New port plan as Seine takes freight strain in Paris
The River Seine in Paris. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

The River Seine in Paris looks set, once again, to become a major transport route for freight, with a new industrial port to be built on the outskirts of the capital and another to be expanded.


Last year, 21 million tonnes of freight was transported on the river in the Île-de-France region, and regional leaders want to increase that.

The new site, at Achères - at the confluence of the Seine and the Oise - as well as the port of Limay-Porcheville, near Mantes-la-Jolie, will complement that of Gennevilliers, in Hauts-de-Seine, which is struggling to cope with demand.

Swedish furniture giant Ikea has used the ports of Gennevilliers and Bercy since December 2022 as part of a trial to transport goods into the capital, eventually delivering them to customers in a fleet of 12 electric vehicles. It is estimated that its river service will avoid 320,000 road kilometres every year.

It plans to add additional operations in Achères and Limay-Porcheville in the coming years.


Supermarket chain Franprix, meanwhile, has used the river to supply 300 stores in the capital with dry produce - biscuits, preserves, etc - for the past decade, saving an estimated 420,000 road kilometres and 82,600 litres of fuel per year. Franprix also said its river operations have removed 3,600 trucks from the streets of Paris and Ile-de-France, and cut CO2 emissions by 20 percent compared to road transport; while switching over to more environmentally friendly fuels would further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Freight will be transported to and from Achères from 2027, if development - set to start next year - goes as scheduled.

According to French navigation authority Voies navigables de France, river traffic on the Seine could be quadrupled without major development or redevelopment projects, and help cut congestion on the capital’s roads, particularly on the A13.

Not everyone is impressed with the plans, however. Logistics experts worry that Paris is incapable of dealing with the increase in river traffic, while environmental groups have gone to court over the rise in road traffic linked to the Achères port site.


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