Click’n book!

As the year 2022 gets under way, no kisses under the mistletoe, but heartfelt best wishes and grand resolutions. Health, love, success… Let’s raise a glass to the New Year!

What does this year hold in store for us? How are we going to be living during the next twelve months? Free, vaccinated, confined? Despite this wave of uncertainty, one thing already seems to be a given: over the past two years, digitalised operations have become more numerous and more widespread to avoid proximity -and therefore contamination- but also to make our lives more simple! History has taken a new turn.

After having migrated to a new information system, Marfret is looking to bring its e-booking service online during the course of 2022, in order to make transporting your goods easier while ensuring complete control and total transparency of operations and the supply chain.

An additional feature for you, our customers, who will be able to make bookings online directly on Marfret’s website, in a personal space called “My Space”. You will soon be able to take advantage of features as intuitive as on any online store, including the option of storing documents (VGM…), saving your transaction history and receive our newsletter.

This new means of booking space will thus complement the existing channel provided to clients for several years now via the INTTRA community portal.

This development will in no way alter the close relationship we enjoy with our clients, something that has been part of Marfret’s DNA since its founding in 1951. It will merely be an additional option in the range of services provided by our company.

Of course, you will still be able to count on the availability and efficiency of all our teams in every one of the geographic zones we serve. Our staff members work daily to ensure cargoes are delivered whatever the circumstances, including weather hazards, despite the problems caused by the pandemic and strikes.

Indeed, I would like to pay tribute to, and express my thanks for, the dedication shown by the men and women staff members at Marfret, both on land and at sea, with a special mention for our support services, who have shown great innovation and adaptability during the pandemic to ensure that our sales teams continue to provide you with the best possible service. Huge praise is due also to our agents, who defend the company’s colours across the globe.

Marfret has weathered many storms and will always be by your side. A wonderful New Year to you, your families and your loved ones.

Guillaume Vidil

Marfret all sails aloft

A wind of innovation is blowing through Marfret. As part of our commitment to energy transition, we have fitted one of our ships with 21st-century sails. Four aluminium sails, in fact, will provide power to the Marfret Niolon as it is borne by the trade winds on the MPV service.

Using the force of the wind -a clean, free and infinite source of energy- for assistance was the subject of a months-long study, which led to Marfret equipping the Marfret Niolon with four wing-shaped sails, which are expected to provide fuel savings of between 10 and 15%. “We firmly believe in the future of containerisation and energy and that’s what led us to opt for the technology developed by the Dutch firm eConowind.” Indeed, the wing-sails are easy to deploy and, since they are stored in a 40’ container. “All the ingenuity of the container, the foundation in many ways of our business, has here been applied to a system to assist the ship’s propulsion,” points out Guillaume Vidil. Containerisation also allows great adaptability, as the wings can easily be transferred from one ship to another to suit the needs of our shipping lines.

Inside, the control system and hydraulics deploy the sails and retract them on entering port. The quartermaster on the bridge decides when to raise or lower the sails, depending on the weather conditions encountered during the voyage.

Marfret intends extending the system to its entire roro fleet, combining it with coupled reversible alternators, providing hybrid wind and electric power. “We are committed to making our energy transition happen and to develop our position as a company apart from the rest,” insists Vidil. As the world begins to grasp the challenges laid down by global warming, Marfret intends playing its part in the collective effort.

Photo: The Marfret Niolon fitted with four aluminium sails that will provide fuel savings of 10-15%.     

New horizons open up for a restructured SOMAP

A collective sigh of relief is being heard at SOMAP. After 18 months of uncertainty under administration, the Rouen-based handling company, and Marfret subsidiary, can look forward to a new future, with secure jobs. The Rouen Commercial Court has ruled in favour of -and unanimously applauded- the restructuring plan drawn up in-house and supported by the Marfret Group. A new era is opening up for SOMAP and the TCMD container and general cargo terminal, both sea terminal and logistics and multimodal hub for the Seine Valley.

Starting first quarter 2022, customers will have at their disposal a modern and competitive 140,000 m2 terminal with automated access. SOMAP and AMS continue to provide handling services but shore-side activities will be entrusted to a new entity, Rouen Conteneurs Terminal (RCT), born of the pooling of the aforesaid companies’ material and human resources. 

As at major ports elsewhere, hauliers will have access to the terminal via a booking system, which will streamline traffic flows. The latest generation of the Oscar Terminal Operating System, in operation all over the world, will enable operations to be automated, thus optimising the TCMD’s management.

The three-stage restructuring plan, introduced to make SOMAP viable, has been designed to scale the company to current container volumes and make it more modern.

The first stage consisted of an analysis of tooling and equipment requirements. The second important decision to be taken was to work towards closer collaboration between Marfret and Kuhn, which owns AMS, to create a shore-side organisation based on synergies.

“We have set up a management company, RCT, whose sole clients are SOMAP and AMS; RCT leases the equipment and receives the dockers assigned to shore-side handling operations and shunting within the port area,” explains SOMAP director Louis Bonnefon. Lastly, a reduction of nine SOMAP staff was made possible through a voluntary redundancy plan with accompanying social measures and a reorientation premium. SOMAP today employs 35 staff.

Sea terminal and multimodal hub

SOMAP’s future is looking much brighter today, with its port handling services for ships of up to 4500TEU in capacity and a multimodal hub on the Seine route for both import and export cargoes. “We are providing support for Le Havre’s business by positioning Rouen as a distribution hub for France,” adds Bonnefon, “thanks to the space at our disposal, easy terminal access and the massification solutions provided by our Fluviofeeder service to and from Le Havre.” Indeed, the Arina feeder calls at three Le Havre terminals (TDF, TN and Quai des Amériques) before leaving on its twice-weekly service to Rouen. The river service is continued upstream by the Marfret Seine, which operates weekly between the Paris region and Rouen, arriving on Wednesdays. 

In 2021, and for the first time since 2016, SOMAP handled three port calls by ships on the regular French Guiana/NEFGUI service, plus three other port calls, arranged on behalf of HAROPA, to reposition empty containers and relieve the Le Havre terminals suffering from endemic congestion caused by the hectic global logistics situation. 

2022 will see the completion of SOMAP and the TCMD’s restructuring, with an improved service offering and a strategic positioning along the Seine route as part of HAROPA.