Sète: traffic has resumed on the new rail platform of the commercial port.

Traffic has recently resumed. By vertical loading, the trailers are placed on the wagons to be transported by rail to northern Europe. The Region’s environmental policy put into practice.

It is within the framework of a strong desire to adapt to the ecological transition that the entire system of transporting goods is reviewed from – and to – the commercial port of Sète. “We are at the heart of the Port of Sète’s multimodal rail strategy”explained its general manager of the Sud de France port, Olivier Carmes during a press conference given on the new rail transfer platform. There, the truck trailers are loaded onto transport wagons. The convoy is then towed by rail to its destination.

Second phase of development

“We are in the second phase of development of the rail activity on trailers and containers”, explained this Thursday, March 24, Olivier Carmes. A multimodal platform was already in operation on which up to ten thousand trailers per year were transported by rail. “Of the thirty thousand that passed through the port, ten passed by rail. explained Olivier Carmes. The Covid crisis has been there. It caused a sharp slowdown in rail traffic, but at the same time maritime transport increased. “DFDS (a Danish shipping company operating both in freight transport and in NLR passenger transport) has consolidated all of its activities since July 2019 in the port. We have gone from thirty thousand trailers to eighty thousand trailers per year and even two to four calls per week since the beginning of February”continued the director.

A new platform

For the Port, it was necessary to adapt the rail methods very quickly in order to be able to continue business with Ekol (the Turkish carrier, editor’s note) and DFDS. At the request of the Region, the old multimodal platform has been released. A new platform has been built. “We took the opportunity to do better than what existed!”declared the director. It has been in place since October 2021. The nine million euros of investment required were divided between the Port and the Region, Europe and the Recovery Plan. On six hectares, it is now possible to load three half-trains simultaneously. The first wagons of the Ekol loader left Sète on Thursday March 17 for Cologne. Before the resumption of transport to Calais and Paris, the convoy left for Germany. Two departures per week are guaranteed. On nineteen wagons there are thirty-eight places for semi-trailers or containers. Other shippers are interested in the multimodal transfer, including Mars, Ares, Vip and Sunlog transport.

Relaunch of rail traffic from the port of Sète.
Midi Libre – EVA TISSOT

Objective: 40,000 trailers

“The objective for 2025 is to pass forty thousand trailers or containers by rail. It is an achievable objective”declared the director. To further develop its activity, the Port will have to equip itself with a horizontal loading system that can allow the loading of all types of trailers. Currently only prehensible and reinforced trailers and containers can be lifted and placed on the wagons. “To increase the number of units, which is our desire, it is the technology that must adapt”, adds Olivier Carmes. About eight million euros will be invested by the private sector to make this Modalohr adaptation. In the meantime, this Thursday afternoon, the press was invited to observe a load of wagons heading for Cologne.

From Sète to all of Europe

“It is the Region’s desire to have concrete progress on intermodality, todeclared the representative of Carole Dalga, Jean-Luc Gibelin. “The multimodality between sea and rail but also the river are important elements in the development and attractiveness of the Port of Sète. For maritime carriers, being able to link up with rail transport is an important element. This makes it possible, from Sète, to cover almost all of Europe. This eliminates trucks on the roads. As part of the Positive Energy Region, it is a concrete element on energy transition and the reduction of gases. Greenhouse effect”.

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