DP World-owned P&O Ports has won a three-year management contract to operate the container terminal in the Port de Sète in the south of France, and is exploring container handling development.
Under the agreement, the deal can be converted to a long-term concession in the future, which would likely be required for P&O Ports to invest in the port’s container handling capacity.
The contract will see P&O Ports operating a container yard with a draft up to 14,5m with 457 metres of quay and an adjacent 2 hectares land.
The container terminal is expected to commence operations in October 2017, although a decision on whether to develop additional hectares of land for the container activity will likely be taken in the future.
Port de Sete is a deep draft port, handling frozen, chilled, general and breakbulk cargo, containers, ro-ro services and livestock alongside cruise and ferry terminals, a marina, cement handling facilities and an agro-industrial complex.
Located in the heart of the Occitanie region, Port de Sète is an ideal entry point to the Region Auvergne-Rhône with direct inland waterway communications. It is also well positioned to serve nearby urban centres including Toulouse, Montpellier and Clermont-Ferrand.
It forms part of the network of feeder routes in Italy, Spain and France with access to major hubs throughout the Mediterranean, the road and rail network of southern France and major businesses located in the region.
“Port De Sète has great potential and is ready to become another gateway port for France. In the early stages it will continue to primarily cater for feeder services in the eastern Mediterranean, the Maghreb region and North Africa,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of Ports Customs and Freezones Corporation (PCFC) in Dubai.
“Once development takes place with the backing of our regional partners we expect to see more multinational shippers use its services with other international destinations added over time.”
Jean Claude Gayssot, president of the Port de Sète said: “ We are pleased to be working with P&O Ports, who is independent and a source of great opportunity with a well-know brand having a worldwide reputation in the shipping sector whose global operations, with DP World network make them an attractive and reliable partner.”