3D Paris par Vectuel

Location of the Port of La Bourdonnais (Image created by Vectuel).

Within the CCP21 project, the Port of Paris aimed at building the necessary infrastructure to implement an innovative delivery mode in the heart of Paris. The Port of La Bourdonnais which is located at the very foot of the Eiffel Tower was adapted to accommodate the manoeuvres of a reach stacker to tranship containers. And, because of its privileged and unique location, this platform was also conceived to combine transhipment activities and leisure activities, as it remains accessible to walkers and tourists, outside operating hours (until late morning).

Daily, 26 containers (450 pallets) are transported by barge from the port of Bonneuil-sur-Marne to the port of la Bourdonnais in the heart of Paris. The barge travels 20 km on the Marne and the Seine and crosses two locks before arriving in the centre of Paris, near the Eiffel Tower. There, it is unloaded and the containers are loaded onto the Norbert Dentressangle delivery trucks.

The choice of inland waterway transport (IWT) makes it possible to save hundreds of thousands of km travelled each year by road delivery trucks. Indeed, each container transported by IWT represents a saving of about 10 000 km road per year. Eventually, 48 containers will be delivered daily, which represents a reduction of 450,000 kilometres each year, i.e. 343 the distance between Paris and Marseille route! This also represents a 37% reduction of CO2 emissions, i.e. a decrease from 628 to 394 tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is one the gases that cause global warming.

Reach stacker unloading containers on a specially design reinforced platform on the port of La Bourdonnais (Image from Port of Paris).

Reach stacker unloading containers on a specially design reinforced platform on the port of La Bourdonnais (Image from Port of Paris).

Several constraints had to be tackled. Being located in very   touristic   setting,   the   quay   was designed to be multipurpose, i.e. it had to be dedicated to port activities but should also be usable by the public outside port activity times (5 – 11.30 am). This raised security concerns and innovative solutions were found to avoid any equipment on the quay once it is made accessible to pedestrians. Only a reach stacker is being used and it is stored in a secured space in the afternoon and at night.

Extra care was taken because the existing quay dating from Napoleon’s times is regarded as a historical monument and could not be replaced or modified. Therefore, a special platform was added on top of the quay, to support the manoeuvres of the reach stacker handling the containers.

The project was made possible by Franprix (Casino group) and supplies Franprix stores in downtown Paris, which are identified by the logo “your store supplied by the Seine” stamped on their windows. Franprix customers also make this initiative possible, by purchasing products shipped to the heart of Paris by innovative means of delivery.

This innovation is also the result of a partnership strategy between the Port of Paris and the private sector. Previously, IWT stopped in Ile-de-France. Trucks used by the group Norbert Dentressangle (major player in the transport and logistics in Europe) that leave the port of la Bourdonnais meet the highest standards in terms of environment and noise pollution.

This innovative project was made possible thanks to the active cooperation of the Port of Paris, VNF (French Waterway Manager), SCAT (IWT Cooperative), TDS (Terminals on the Seine river) and Paris Terminal, which are companies specialised in port handling that make it possible to take less than four hours to load barges in the port of Bonneuil-sur-Marne, transport them on the Seine and unload them in Paris.

On the longer term, it is foreseen that more containers will commute to Paris daily and that the last mile delivery will make use of electric vehicles. On a year basis, it is expected that 3874 trucks will be avoided and that CO2 emissions will be reduced with 37%. A proof that a blue waterway can also be green!