Le Havre is modernizing through its port

The port of Le Havre has become, since its creation in 1530 by François the 1st, France’s premier port for container traffic. It ranks eleventh in Europe and fiftieth in the world. It’s a major economic asset for France and a merchandise transport hub that feeds the Parisian basin via the Seine. It’s for this reason that it’s connected to the country’s major highways.

What’s a Smart Port City?

The digital transformation of the economy and the desire to integrate the many advances allowing for new technologies have pushed local authorities to embark upon the concept of the Smart Port City. The Tribune awarded the project the “Smart City Initiative Award – Medium-Sized City” at the end of 2018. Luc Lemonnier, President of the CODAH (COmmauteé De l’Agglomeration Havrais or Community of the Greater Le Havre Area), declared on this occasion: “Le Havre is a formidable area of innovation at an international crossroads, a situation which we must take advantage of. That’s what we’re doing with the Smart Port City. We’re considering a new interface between the city and the port. Our wish is to make our territory more intelligent, thus making it more attractive and providing it with the latest opportunities for employment in tomorrow’s industries, and to build a “smart city” with tools to make our residents’ lives easier with connected public services that are accessible online and are higher performing.

Behind the announcement, there’s a true economic challenge, since creating a Smart Corridor beyond Le Havre’s only port could bring about an endowment from a fund of €500 million, allocated to the 10 finalists of the Innovative Territory with High Ambitions program“.

How do you become a Smart Port City?

  • Make the Port Center a place for immersive experiences to better understand the challenges of a global trading port
  • House it in a technology center, with startups involved in logistics, cyber-security and flow management via Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
  • Set up a Mobi Smart Port in order to plan and optimize routing, transportation and its impact, not only in the port itself, but also in the region.
  • Launch a Smart Cruise concept to develop new services for all users (sailors, cruise passengers, residents, etc.)

Toward the digitization of port activities

Managing resources and traffic flow as well as integrating them with an ecological and responsible approach are the major challenges for the Smart Port City. Territories can no longer ignore that their future growth, if not their survival, depends largely on their capacity to attract the most innovative companies as well as their employees. For a city like Le Havre, whose economy is dependent on its port, it’s imperative and forward thinking to become a Smart City.

Joined by the Université de Normandie and a pool of institutional, industrial and scientific partners, the community of Le Havre Seine-Métropole hopes to put itself on the national map as far as innovative territories. The entire region is coming together to remain on the radar screens of the digital economy.

To read: How did Nice become France’s first Smart City?