Sustainable urban development: Vivapolis is re-inventing the future for cities
Imagine the city for tomorrow. That’s the daily challenge many French companies are ready to meet today, all of them re-grouped under the brand Vivapolis.
French know-how in providing solutions definitely has takers elsewhere in the world. Today, major cities throughout the world are searching for very specific expertise when it comes to developing, renewing and re-inventing themselves. France certainly has the high caliber players -- Bouygues, Vinci, Eiffage, Alstom, Veolia, Egis – to go along with innumerable SME positioned on very technological niche markets that respond to crucial challenges for tomorrow.
Initiated by French public authorities, Vivapolis regroups the wide range of expertise French companies have to offer to meet the needs of cities all around the world. “Simply because it is always easier to focus attention on a name everyone can recognize,” explains Caroline Olivier, Environment Project Manager at Ubifrance. More than 70 French enterprises focused on sustainable cities have risen to the challenge by joining Vivapolis.
Demonstrations of their know-how abound: whether it’s the Grand Paris, Grand Lyon, the Euro-Mediterranean project in Marseille, the Urban Community of Bordeaux, among other initiatives. For all of these sites, there are several issues that need to be faced: mobility, managing energy, pollution…
One common thread shared by all of these urban development projects involves improving the quality of life and social cohesion in these cities to make them more attractive. Several ambitious projects have been started to develop responses. One key example is the Auto-Lib system in Paris to reduce circulation in the city with non-polluting electrical cars. Bordeaux Euratlantique, an extensive construction endeavor, reveals the wide scope of action Vivopolis is capable of. Relying especially on the development of eco-quarters, the project combines energetic efficiency, water recycling and a solar-energy plant.
International markets lining up
Vivapolis is ready for export. It’s already present in Morocco, where public authorities hope to benefit from French know-how to develop a new city of Chrafate in the region of Tanger-Tetouan. “They requested assistance from the French to help them carry out this ambitious project,” adds Caroline Olivier.
The same thing is true for Turkey, with the youngest population in Europe. Turkish authorities expect French companies to help them integrate this youthful population more effectively in a cityscape that is constantly growing.
As for China, its gigantic projects require showing up with turnkey proposals. Over the past 10 years, France has already carried out more than 200 projects in approximately fifty Chinese cities. Another highlight is the French eco-quarter that is going to be built in the Tiexi district in Shenyang. Alstom and its joint-venture, Satée, won a deal amounting to € 75 Million to provide locomotives for 550 wagons on Subway Lines 3 and 4 in Chengdu, the 5th largest city in China.
For Caroline Olivier, “Vivapolis involves a large number of French companies working on sustainable cities,” responding to key issues in urbanization for emerging countries as well as for renewal of major cosmopolitan areas worldwide.
The latest scoop for Vivapolis? France is getting cutting-edge, using state of the art technologies, proposing 3D simulations for these international projects to allow deciders to visualize different possibilities for a quarter or city. These virtual scale models showcase all of Vivapolis’ partners and their specializations. It is now being tested for initiatives in Astana and Santiago in Chile.
Rautatie ja joukkoliikenne
Ubifrance (Ranskan suurlähetystön kaupallinen osasto) ja Liikennevirasto järjestävät keskiviikkona 2.10.2013 klo 9.30 – 15 Helsingissä (Finlandia Talo) ranskalais-suomalaiseen raideliikennesektorin tilaisuuden.
Tapahtuma kerää yhteen poliittisia päättäjiä ja liike-elämän edustajia keskustelemaan sektorin tulevaisuuden haasteista.
Tapahtumaan osallistuu mm.
- Alstom Transport - yksi maailman johtavia junakalustojen ja laitteisto-valmistajia.
- SNCF - Ranskan valtion omistama rautatieliikenneyhtiö.
- Systra - maailman johtava rautatieliikenteen ja julkisen kaupunkiliikenteen sektorin suunnittelu- ja konsultointiyritys.
- Meridiam Infrastructure.
Senior Trade Adviser
Execution of a number of projects in 2012 — including Alstom and EDF’s use of PNA facilities as a construction site and hub for assembling wind turbines — is set to strengthen PNA’s place in cross-Channel trade.
Jean-Michel SÉVIN, CEO of PNA, states, "2012 looks very promising. The revitalisation of the two port locations [Caen-Ouistreham and Cherbourg] is taking shape. Their development outlook appears encouraging, and the ports should be able to consolidate, or even increase their economic impact."
PNA has published its full results for the year 2011 and its forecast for the year 2012.
Passenger-traffic numbers are encouraging
PNA ports experienced a slight increase in passenger traffic in 2011 as a result of sustained traffic flow between France and Ireland; a significant recovery in traffic between Cherbourg and England, especially during the summer season; and, finally, a very good year for cruise activity.
Cruise activity was particularly high in 2011. This was true, specifically, of Cherbourg, which recorded 40 calls by cruise liners and a 50.85% increase in the number of passengers. At close to 100,000, a record-high number of cruise passengers (95,840) passed through the port of Cherbourg.
Moreover, cross-Channel activity between Ireland as well as England and the port of Cherbourg was up by 7.60%. This compensated for the drop in traffic between Caen and the South of England, with a decrease in the use of the Caen-Ouistreham-to-Portsmouth line, which stemmed from a combination of stagnant demand and high-capacity supply in the English Channel and in the North Sea.
After the Dover Strait, however, Caen-Ouistreham remains by far the most important cross-Channel line, with nearly one million passengers passing through the ferry port annually.
Goods traffic shows resilience against a difficult background
Goods traffic, for its part, decreased by 4.80% in 2011 (year on year), which was mainly due to a difficult business environment in terms of cross-Channel relations with the UK.
In 2011, PNA experienced a drop of close to 6.15% in cross-Channel trade volumes: undoubtedly, it has been a difficult period for cross-Channel activity due to the continued weakness of the pound sterling against the euro, made worse by vigorous competition among operators. This fierce competition is reflected in over-supply and particularly low prices, while the recession continues to affect much of Europe.
Within this difficult context, PNA ports — and, in particular, Caen-Ouistreham — have successfully maintained their overall position, with changes in activity closely mirroring those of the entire cross-Channel region.
In 2012, an extension of the cross-Channel terminal at Ouistreham will be completed: this will optimise the port’s logistical organisation and, as a result, make it more attractive to operators.
Regarding conventional goods, traffic at PNA ports actually rose by 2.35% in 2011, with variations between individual ports and the types of traffic flows.
In Caen, an overall decrease in volume of 11.50% can be traced to lower cereals exports, down by approximately 150,000 tonnes (as compared to 2010, which had been an exceptional year). Some types of ’miscellaneous’ traffic, such as molasses (47,560 tonnes of which were trans-shipped via PNA ports in 2011), have become sustainable and can be considered mainstays of the port’s activity.
In Cherbourg, traffic has more than doubled thanks to the bulk terminal, where over 140,000 tonnes of salt and coal transited in 2011, in total.
Looking forward to 2012
A range of factors point towards a positive trend characterizing levels of activity at PNA ports in the year 2012.
Firstly, the all-time records achieved in 2011 by Cherbourg for bulk-, cruise- and Ireland-related activities and traffic highlight the relevance of Cherbourg’s position within these niches.
Second, the stabilised cross-Channel market should also enable all the operators, and the cross-Channel lines that are in place, to regain healthier operating conditions.
Third, PNA, together with its six partners, is opening up new capacity that should benefit the port of Caen, thanks to the Caen-to-Le Havre inter-port container shuttle project.
Finally, the result of the call to tender for the offshore-energy project expected for the spring of 2012 will be a decisive factor for PNA ports. International engineering group Alstom has chosen Cherbourg as its key site for implementing its industrial development programme for offshore wind power, provided that the consortium wins 50% of the call to tender. In all, 500 jobs are at stake, as far as the port is concerned.
Confirming further the potential of the port in the field of renewable marine-based energy, energy group EDF has also chosen Cherbourg as its construction hub for assembling wind turbines ahead of their offshore installation. Additionally, Caen-Ouistreham will provide residential and maintenance facilities for the Courseulles-sur-Mer site.
PNA is set to pursue its development policy by furthering co-operation opportunities with the ports in the river Seine area and with those located in the South of both Ireland and England.
PNA also intends to continue with its ambitious investment programme, which includes a €40m investment in the launch of works for the extension and development of Cherbourg’s 380-metre-long Quai des Flamands. The completion of the modernisation of PNA’s port works will cost €1.7m. PNA will also invest €500,000 in the opening of new access points to the Mielles platform at Cherbourg.
PNA ports represent about 4,000 jobs — of which about 2,000 are direct jobs, 1,800 are indirect jobs, and 200 are jobs that will be generated — and about €180m of added value across the region of Basse-Normandie.
The ports of Caen-Ouistreham and Cherbourg are owned and run by Ports Normands Associés, known in English as the Ports of Normandy Authority (PNA). PNA’s head office is in Caen.
The historic region of Normandy is currently made up of two separate regions: Lower Normandy (Basse-Normandie, in French) and Upper Normandy (Haute-Normandie). The ports of Caen-Ouistreham and Cherbourg are located on the north-west coast of France and face southern England, on the other side of the English Channel. They belong to the western, maritime part of Basse-Normandie.
For further information, please go to: www.pna-ports.fr
ROLLIX’s specialised engineers, working near Nantes (in western France), collaborated closely with the Alstom team to design the slewing ring bearings that will be used for the new offshore-wind turbine. The slewing bearings, which control blade rotation (pitching) and nacelle rotation (yawing), have gone through a highly specific development process.
The components that ROLLIX has engineered were optimised so that they could take up as little space as possible, and yet withstand the loads of the new offshore-wind turbine that features the world’s longest blades, which are 73.5-metres long each.
The pitch and yaw bearings, which feature impressively sized rings of almost 4 metres in diameter, were then assembled on the wind turbine itself in Saint-Nazaire, the large Atlantic port located close to the ROLLIX plant (in the Pays de la Loire region of western France).
The ROLLIX slewing ring bearings are perfect for use in the offshore-wind-energy industry, since they are made of strong and precise components that can withstand the high speeds, high loads and salty environment involved in this segment of the energy sector.
ROLLIX boasts a number of achievements worldwide and is a supplier to major international wind-turbine manufacturers. Bearings made by the specialist French company are found on more than 37,000 wind turbines internationally, representing 52GW in established power, including 1.5GW of offshore energy. From 5kW to over 10MW, ROLLIX supplies all the manufacturers in the wind-turbine field.
ROLLIX designs specific bearings that are suited to a wind turbine’s lifespan. The company’s special sealing system makes for completely tight bearings. It can also provide integrated bearings with an automatic-lubrication system. ROLLIX’s finish by grinding is a state-of-the-art technology, used for the double-row slewing rings.
ROLLIX, part of the Defontaine Group, has been designing and manufacturing special bearings and slewing rings that range from 150mm to 7000mm in diameter, with and without gears, since 1974. The company is one of the key players and a pioneer in France’s wind-turbine sector, within the framework of offshore-development projects.