French supermarket giants shifting to river transport

Six giants of the French supermarket and mass retail sector – Auchan, Casino, Carrefour, Conforama, Ikea and Leroy Merlin – have signed a deal to significantly increase river transport along the Rhone-Saone axis. Over the next two years, the six firms will shift around 81,600 tonnes of merchandise from road to river transport. This represents a 50 percent increase in river transport for the six, as well as a cut in CO2 emissions of 1,469 tonnes. Of the six, Auchan and Conforama have been pioneers in the field.

Leandre Boulez, Director General for import-export at Auchan, said: “We have been using river transport since 1995 for imported merchandise arriving at Fos, Le Havre and Anvers. For the past three years, it has accounted for two-thirds of our volume and it is stable. The costs are more or less identical to other modes of transport, and, with good planning, the time taken is scarcely any longer.” The initiative is part of a wider push to develop the Rhone river, which will receive 216 million euros in earmarked government funds through state-regional budgets for 2007-2013.

The port of Marseilles has forged strong links with the port of Lyons, which has become the biggest French port in the interior, with 59,000 containers using the rivier in 2007, up exponentially from 2,000 containers in 2000.

via Les Echos

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