Interview on the Marseille-Fos Port Community Quality Charter
Adopted last February, the Marseille-Fos Port Community Quality Charter gathered the signatures of every member of the UMF around operational focuses aiming to strengthen quality, security and environmental policies.
On this occasion, we met Stéphane Salvetat, president of LAM World, and Alain Maliverney, Rhône regional executive of LOGI PORTS SHUTTLE.
UMF: Mr Salvetat, could you briefly introduce your company?
Stéphane Salvetat: LAM is a “group of transportation companies” that provides a full array of logistics and maritime transport services. By offering operational solutions, we help our clients in furthering the process of their activites, while respecting social values.
UMF: What were your objectives for 2018?
Stéphane Salvetat: Our objectives were to raise our use of soft transportation (rail or river) from 20% to 30%. We are proud to announce that we have reached 32%.
UMF: One year later, where do you stand vis-à-vis the objectives of the quality charter?
Stéphane Salvetat: The objectives are fulfilled. We are very satisfied with reaching all of them, which required organisation and rigour.
UMF: Can you estimate the breakdown of the 32% between barge and rail?
Stéphane Salvetat: Unfortunately yes. We are now still doing 95% of them through railway transportation.
UMF: What policy must the Port of Marseille adopt in order to institute a real waterway strategy?
Stéphane Salvetat: I have been saying this for years: we really need a dynamic strategy in order to combine efficiency and ecology. Among other things, it would help compensating potential hazards, like the one we underwent in 2017. This event persuaded us to stay on railroad.
To this end, we must rebuild relationships with the carriers of that segment and recreate an ecosystem, notably on the Rhône corridor.
Our will, today, is to rebalance rail transport and barge before the end of 2019/2020, and thus raise the modal shift.
UMF: What do you think are the divergence issues between river and rail?
Stéphane Salvetat: Rail features less mishaps. Hence logistics are more stable. But the current knowledge of dam workers in forecasting floods of the Rhône enables good anticipation of travel conditions. They can turn out to be huge assets.
To achieve this transition, habits must be changed: we have to know the needs of barges, and to involve sales representatives in customer acquisition, particularly the little customers who are too often neglected. Even the 30-to-40-containers traffics should use waterway. It has to become natural.
UMF: Do you ascertain that the main road of Marseille-Fos traffics will go through a modal shift?
Stéphane Salvetat: I am certain of it. I really think the first users of a mode of transport will be winners ten years later.
UMF: Your objectives for the coming year regarding quality charter?
Stéphane Salvetat : Our objective would be to progress and reach 40%.
UMF: Could you remind us your objectives?
Alain MALIVERNEY: The objective we had set was to make the internally assessed quality of our service visible. But we also want to work on the flexibility and reliability of the port of Lyon, one of our long-standing river partners, of which we are shareholders.
However, the problem of river stops in French maritime ports remains, because there is no “window” system.
UMF: Does this hinder waterway development?
Alain MALIVERNEY: Waterway transportation has no more downsides ou upsides than other modes. It is a tool for shipowners, freight forwarders, carriers, loaders, to optimise their supply chain.
Hence there is no factual basis to conclusively dissuade from choosing waterway.
One of the downsides of waterway transportation, which is time (36 hours of shipping FOS / LYON), becomes an upside as soon as we think in terms of free floating stock, security of transported goods, and acquisition of new parking allowances on interior platforms.
It is therefore essential to see the will of the ports and of the State regarding our modal shift. In which perspective must we look at the traffic? For example, in a global way by including every maritime and continental options available now.
UMF: Do you think that major ports lack of ambition? The port of Marseille-Fos especially, regarding modal shift, compared to the North ports where a 40% modal shift was applied for handlers? Do you think we should set objectives as ambitious as those in the operating agreements with handlers here in Marseille?
Alain MALIVERNEY: Today, objectives exist at the State-level but are not or poorly applied at regional and local levels. As a matter of fact, nothing today can compel handlers to do a modal shift, since none of them are transportation ordering customers. The port of Rotterdam has set State objectives that are nowhere to be seen in France. But in those fields, they work on other business segments in France, where there are no performance obligations. THIS IS THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM! Now, do we have enough power? Do we even want to try? Do the authorites wish to go further? I am not certain: although words are very much said, acts hardly follow…
UMF: Do you think computers can help you streamline the supply chain and facilitate the modal shift? For instance, a CI5 tool?
Alain MALIVERNEY: Undoubtedly, a CI5 tool can significantly contribute. We only must be careful that each profession does not build its own system; or if they were, they would have to be well interconnected. We already work wth CCS to provide our experience to the development of new tracking modules for instance, or dematerialisation of land transport documentation.
UMF: So you advocate for independent systems, but shared by every stakeholder?
Alain MALIVERNEY: Exactly. CI5 is already a good start.
UMF: The Sogestran group celebrated its 70th anniversary last year. What is your ambition for the next 70 years?
Alain MALIVERNEY: It is still an striving group. Involved in maritime and waterway transport, service to firms, multimodal for bulk liquids, gases, solids, heavy packages, urban distribution… A research office, internal river unit designer that works on the equipment and motorisation of tomorrow in order to reduce environmental impacts.
Lastly, if I may add: in 2018, waterway constituted 84.300 TEU on the Rhône Saône waterway axis, of wich LOGI PORTS SHUTTLE contributes 48.000 TEU. LOGI PORTS SHUTTLE allowed for a 7.841 tons reduction of CO2 in the Rhône valley!
All this would have never been possible without our customers who trust us on a daily basis, so thanks to them!
Interview by Charles Misseghers and Emma Julien, April 2019
Find the figures for the first quarter of 2019 at Logi Ports Shuttle