An ecological flow of alcohol
Biofuels don’t only power transport vehicles – they themselves also have to be transported. So Sogepp, a Gennevilliers-based French storage firm for liquid goods, has developed an intermediate hub on the Seine with storage capacities to help shift low-emission fuels from the coast to the Paris basin. Volumes are expected to increase soon, namely from 12,000 to 20,000 t a year.
A supply chain designed for biofuels is picking up speed on the river Seine axis. Just recently an ethanol-laden barge operated by the inland shipping line Société de Gestion et de Transports fluviaux (Sogestran) was unloaded in the port of Gennevilliers. The ethanol had previously been transferred from an ocean-going vessel to an inland barge in the port of Le Havre on the Channel coast.
The storage firm Société de Gestion de Produits Pétroliers (Sogepp), which relies on multimodal, low-emission solutions to transport energy products, is the force behind this. Until now, such shipments were transported mainly by road.
12,000 t planned for 2023
The executive management teams in charge of the project expect the widespread future use of ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, to play a key role in the decarbonisation of industrial and transport activities. Sogepp operates a river terminal and a storage facility for liquid energy products on a site covering around 6 ha in the Gennevilliers port area. The enterprise commissioned Haropa Port to develop a riverine transport solution to and from the inland port of Gennevilliers.
The goal is to develop seamless traffic flows between the seaports of Normandy and the Paris region. It has plans to deliver approximately 12,000 t in 2022, and 20,000 t over the coming years. The infrastructure of the terminal was in place by June last year. The permits and the handling equipment for the loading and unloading of liquid energy products at the river followed in late 2022 and have now passed their baptism of fire.
Many players on board
Building the facility required investments of around EUR 3.75 million. This ecological inland navigation project was also supported by Voies navigables de France (VnF), the authority in charge of managing most of France’s extensive inland waterways network, as well as other public sector entities.