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Joint interview with Luc Lemonnier and Hervé Martel

Joint interview with Luc Lemonnier and Hervé Martel 1

Joint interview with Luc Lemonnier – Mayor of Le Havre, President of the Le Havre urban community – and Hervé Martel, Chief Executive of HAROPA – Port of Le Havre and Vice-president of HAROPA.

Mr Lemonnier, can you give us your definition of a smart city ?

A smart city is a connected city using digital tools to improve the interactions with citizens and stimulate innovations from users, public services, and companies. The innovations have to make public policies more effective, and facilitate the everyday lives of users and companies. Receiving real-time information and being able to process data enables us to be more efficient, to innovate, to create new services, and to reduce energy costs… This is what our fellow citizens expect from a modern city.

What are the main assets of the urban community and the city of Le Havre in order to become a Smart City?

LL. : The urban community of Le Havre is a land of innovation : for several years, we have developed major projects to facilitate the everyday lives of the inhabitants, such as the implementation of an automated water meter reading system, the Hariane platform, or the energy efficiency market, for example. There are also many innovative industrial companies and SMEs settled in the area. Finally, the Cité du Numérique will open late 2019. It is designed to reinforce the links between public and private stakeholders and increase expertise.

CODAH is at the very heart of Le Havre’s application to the Territoire d’Innovation de Grande Ambition (Land of Innovation with Great Ambition, TIGA) project carried out by PIA3. Can you tell us a bit more on you and your partners’ ambition for the Smart Port City project ?

LL. : With the Smart Port City project – carried out by the urban community, HAROPA – Port of Le Havre, the University of Le Havre – Normandie, Synerzip – LH, UMEP, and other economic and scientific partners – we are entering a new phase of the development of the city and port based on innovation. Together, we are designing a major investment plan aiming to make in-depth changes to the city and port. To achieve this ambition, we are working on providing the area with audacious tools, such as : the Port Center of the future – a place dedicated to the port heritage of the city designed to make the inhabitants proud to live in a port area and also contribute to the interest shown by tourists for the city through industrial tourism – or the Halle Technologique – a real-scale logistics laboratory for companies and researchers. Finally, the Cité Numérique will encourage the exchanges between the University of Le Havre – Normandie stakeholders and their counterparts from the business world. The Cité Numérique will serve as a business incubator for entrepreneurship projects supported by CODAH.   

Mr Martel, how would you define a connected port ?

HM : A port is naturally « smart » or « connected » because all participants of the supply chain have an interest in working together to obtain better results. To a certain extent, Le Havre has been a « smart » port since 1983, when the port community decided collectively to dematerialise its processes. This resulted in the development of the Port Community System by SOGET, whose third generation – S-ONE – is considered today as a world reference. Today, the challenge is to be even « smarter » and to push this historic dematerialisation project even further by adding value to our assets and provide new services to our client. To be smart is also a state of mind driving us towards collective action : data sharing, gateways between information systems, single-window system, integration of collective innovation services and actions. But we must not limit ourselves to technical aspects : a smart port is first and foremost a more efficient and more sustainable port which is an integral part of the area. 

How would you rate HAROPA – Port of Le Havre compared to its French and Northern European competitors ?

HM : The information systems used by the Port of Le Havre such as S-WING and TIMAD, or S-ONE by SOGET, and the single-window system used by French Customs have led France to rank top on World Bank Group’s Doing Business rankings in terms of cross-border trading. The fact that HAROPA was rewarded with the « Best Seaport in Europe » award for the sixth time – despite competition from the ports of Antwerp, Hamburg, and Barcelona – is further proof that the smart and innovative dimension of the Port of Le Havre is fully acknowledged by our Asian clients.

By definition, a port is a place dedicated to the physical exchange of goods. What role can digitalisation have in the supply chain ?

HM : The handling of goods and the processing of information have always been closely related. Today, the difference is that digitalisation is an integral part of supply chains in industrial and port areas. Even more with new technologies or approaches – such as the internet of objects, artificial intelligence, blockchains, big data, 5G – to which all our clients try to adapt. It is therefore crucial to be able to provide new services adapted to this new evolution and offer a better coordination of all participants of the supply chain in order to obtain more efficient and more predictable results – with increasingly fluid work conditions – while taking into account the preservation of the environment. Port stakeholders are well aware that after the « shipping container revolution », they now have to face the challenges of global digitalisation, and that the « data revolution » will fuel a new economy. le