Swissterminal Acquires 3 Alsatian Ports

(Europe) Inland Ports Trio to Boost Intermodal Links

Logistics service provider Swissterminal Group said it has acquired three French inland ports, expanding its cargo handling capacity.

The deal will see Swissterminal take over operations of inland ports Ottmarsheim, Huningue-Village-Neuf and Ile Napoléon, following an international tender to operate the three Alsatian ports.

“We are delighted to have won the tender for operating the ports of Huningue-Village-Neuf, Ile Napoléon and Ottmarsheim … In these three new ports, we provide our customers access to additional space for logistics growth, as well as increased storage and handling capacities. Compared to the small Kleinhueningen terminal in Basel, the possibilities for development are endless,” said Roman Mayer, chairman of Swissterminal.

With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, much of the global logistics sector faced major upheaval with traffic to and from inland ports often changing drastically to accommodate bottlenecks and congestion elsewhere, and the group aims to capitalize on this shift with its new venture.

Improved Transport Connections

The firm said it will establish a new joint venture with the French seaports of Le Havre and Marseille-Fos, named Alsaceteam. This venture will support the ports via a public-private partnership, with Alsaceteam taking 39 percent equity in Euro Rhine Ports, which will act as the new concessionaire of the ports of Ottmarsheim, Huningue-Village-Neuf and Ile Napoléon.

The port of Huningue-Village-Neuf, located on the Rhine river about 35 kilometers southeast of Mulhouse, is already established as a bulk goods handling site, and will be developed into a trimodal transshipment center with Switzerland by 2025.

“With this move, Swissterminal and its partners will improve transport connections within Europe for the forwarding industry on the border triangle region. In future, new rail connections will closely link this important economic region for numerous industries such as e.g. chemicals, metals, food processing and construction to the two main French seaports of Le Havre and Marseille-Fos,” a spokesperson for Swissterminal said.

Swissterminal will also establish new subsidiary company Alsaceterminal to manage its interests at the new sites and strengthen inland shipping to the largest North Range ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp.

Basel Opposition

The expansion follows the group’s unsuccessful application to expand its existing site, Schweizerische Rheinhäfen, having faced stiff local opposition.

The logistics company had hoped to develop its Swiss Rhine ports in Basel into a much larger environmentally friendly, trimodal rail-road-water transshipment hub, but faced numerous complaints, objections and lawsuits.

“Much to our disappointment, we will not be able to expand our activities in the Port of Switzerland (Schweizerische Rheinhäfen). However, with Euro Rhine Ports and the port operation by Alsaceterminal, we now have the solution and are able to grow our terminal network,” Mayer added.
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