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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.