February 12 - The port system grouping together Le Havre, Rouen and Paris - HAROPA - has recorded a six percent rise in sea traffic, and the number of containers handled in 2013.

HAROPA's rise in traffic marks the best North European growth, claims the company.

A rise of 8 percent was recorded in container traffic, compared with an overall growth of 0.2 percent across the whole Northern Range market, it adds.

HAROPA recorded a rise of 24 percent in dry bulks, along with a 26 percent growth in coal handled, and just a 1 percent rise in liquid bulks, with crude oil handling up 6 percent.

There was a traffic drop at HAROPA's ro-ro terminal, which the port system puts down to a drop in the production of vehicles manufactured in Spain, along with a generally unfavourable automobile market.

Earlier in January 2014, HAROPA widened its network by signing a partnership in Caen with Ports Normands Associes, so that its offer now extends from the heart of France to the sea, via the Seine Valley, Paris, Rouen, Le Havre and the Normandy region, from the north to Brittany.

2014 also sees a new team inaugurated at HAROPA, with Herve Martel stepping up from his position as executive director of HAROPA-Port du Havre to president of the port system; Philippe Deiss, executive director of the Grand Port Maritime de Rouen and Alexis Rouque, executive director of Ports de Paris, becoming vice presidents of the system; and Antoine Berbain appointed to HAROPA's deputy executive director.

Martel is optimistic about 2014: "We will help setting up in our ports, we will open the largest multimodal terminal in France and we will improve service quality in several sectors owing to our cooperation and joint work with private operators, dockworkers and customers."