HAROPA starts work on shore power connections at Le Havre cruise terminal

The construction of electricity supply connections to ships at berth has officially begun at the Le Havre cruise terminal, France.

Image credit: VINCI

Led by HAROPA PORT, the 5th largest port complex in Northern Europe, the strategic project aims to reduce emissions from cruise activity by electrifying cruise docks. By 2026, the port wants to electrify all cruise docks and achieve “zero fumes” Le Havre port calls.

A consortium comprised of subsidiaries from VINCI Energies and VINCI Construction has been hired to implement a high-voltage power supply system at the port’s Pointe de Floride terminal.

The project involves supplying a turnkey electricity conversion substation connected to the public grid to power the cruise ships’ batteries. It also includes the modification of a technical hangar and associated civil engineering works.

A purpose-designed mobile connection rig will be built to handle the port’s tidal range – which is among the widest worldwide – and to cover the full length of the berths in order to power ships no matter their size.

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Each electrical supply outlet at the Florida Point is designed to deliver up to 13MW, with a combined maximum capacity of 30MW across all three quays simultaneously, equivalent to the power required to supply 5,000 homes. The implementation is expected to annually reduce CO₂ emissions by 15,000 to 20,000 tonnes.

This initiative holds numerous benefits, such as improved air quality, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, lower fossil fuel consumption, and the mitigation of vibration and noise pollution.

What is more, there is growing pressure on ports to cut their carbon footprint from the regulatory side as well. Namely, from January 1, 2030 container and passenger ships greater than or equal to 5,000 gross tonnage (GT) will have to plug into shore power in main EU ports in the trans-European transport network under the FuelEU Maritime regulation.

Image credit HAROPA PORT

“HAROPA PORT is giving a new dimension to its ambitious environmental goals by starting work on electrical grid connections for cruise ships on their dedicated quays. This is an innovation that will allow cruise vessels to connect to a source of electrical power during their calls at Le Havre. HAROPA PORT is proud to be among the first European ports to be able to offer this service to cruise ships, and it represents major progress in the decarbonization of port activities,” Stéphane RAISON, HAROPA PORT CEO, said.

Before the start of the construction work, the connection to the public grid provided by ENEDIS required the creation of a three-kilometre underground network comprising three 20kV cables and the installation of an additional 40MVA EHV/HV transformer at the distribution substation for increased capacity. This grid connection required an investment of €5.6m.

Hangar 13 on Florida Point will be modified to provide an available area of 1,200 sq. m. to accommodate high-voltage distribution equipment and conversion systems to adapt the network operated by ENEDIS to the specific needs of ships. An underground cable network will be laid, connecting to carriages fitted with articulated arms that will take five power outlets, each weighing 15kg, to the ships, irrespective of their precise location on the three cruise terminal quays.

The first section, the Pierre Callet berth, will be handed over in spring 2025, according to VINCI. Roger Meunier and Joannès Couvert quays will provide the same reception facilities, by the end of 2025 and early in 2026 respectively.

An investment of €32m has been earmarked for this project, which benefits from government support of €13.6m under the “France Relance” economic stimulus plan and €900,000 from the coal and steel research fund.

Key stakeholders involved include the Prefectures for the Normandy Region, the Seine-Maritime département, Le Havre city hall, the Le Havre Seine Métropole urban and district federation, Le Havre Croisières public interest grouping (GIP), Normandy’s regional government, ENEDIS, and VINCI Energies – Actemium.