« Le Havre can become an exemplary area »
Joint interview with Jean-Baptiste GASTINNE – Mayor of Le Havre and President of Le Havre Seine Métropole – and Baptiste Maurand – Chief Executive of HAROPA – Port of Le Havre – on the high stakes of this major structuring project for the area.
To you, how important is the Le Havre Smart Port City project for the area ?
JEAN-BAPTISTE GASTINNE: Le Havre Seine Métropole has an exceptional innovation potential thanks to its unique location. It is crucial to fulfill this potential to remain competitive.
With Le Havre Smart Port City, our ambition is to secure the position of the area as the innovation laboratory of the Valley of the Seine. It is only through innovation that we will be able to address the challenges of digital, energy, and environmental transitions.
This investment scheme will enable us to develop new tools to support projects addressing the future challenges facing port cities.
BAPTISTE MAURAND: By calling for proposals, the Government asked large French cities : « what is your major ambition ? ». Our answer was : « the development of the port and its environment ». It shows that the city and the port envision their future together.
This project marks a new milestone in the partnership between the city and the port. We are talking about a major urban transformation project based on the development of the port which has to benefit all citizens.
What do you think of the mobilisation around this project and of the involvement of an increasingly large number of partners ?
JBG : I am very pleased we have been able to gather so many stakeholders around this application. Under the leadership of major partners such as Le Havre Seine Métropole, HAROPA – Port of Le Havre, the Region of Normandy, the University of Le Havre – Normandie, and Synerzip – LH, we have been able to gather dozens of companies around this project, sometimes putting their own interests aside to support our application to this great competition.
This shows our capacity to unite for the best interest of the area. We will all benefit from working together.
BM : At first, this project was carried out by the urban community and the port. They were then joined by companies from the industrial and port zone and the University. Today, the project is supported by major international corporations realising that the area has all the assets required to design a new business model. We are adamant that the port can become a genuine testing ground for experimentation.
How can Le Havre Smart Port City contribute to the transformation of the area over the next decade ?
JBG : With Le Havre Smart Port City, we are rethinking the interface between the city and the port. It will help the area become more attractive thanks to the implementation of modern tools designed for the jobs and industries of the future. We are genuinely building a « smart city », with the implementation of more efficient interconnected online services to facilitate the everyday lives of the inhabitants.
By doing this, we will reinforce the local digital environment and provide training for new professions to attract industrial, logistics, and touristic investments – with an expected substantial growth in activities related to cruise tourism, for example.
BM : I will use the Data Services smart platform project as an example. With the development of services designed initially for port companies, services that are useful to all citizens will also emerge.
In the near future, start-ups will be able to process the data collected to provide new services for businesses and individuals. Beyond that, Le Havre can become an exemplary area in numerous fields, such as environment, or in terms of 5G coverage – which will probably be available for port and industrial applications first, before being spread to all citizens. 0000000000