Area 3 The integration of river ports in their urban area

What is unusual about the four studied metropolises compared with other large French cities is that they have a river port: how can this be integrated within the logistical plans of these cities and within the urban fabric?

Task 10: What links exist between urban logistical sprawl, land and property prices, road transport and river ports?

Road transport is the dominant mode today because it is the mode which best suits the realities of the market: rapidity, flexibility, small consignments with just-in-time delivery and price. The rise of the car, the popularity of detached housing and land pressure have resulted in increasing urban sprawl which means that it is increasingly difficult to define precisely the limits of urban areas, and the French statistical office (INSEE) is constantly refining its models. The same applies to the logistical organizations of conurbations: land pressure, the success of trucks and the development of motorway networks result in urban logistical sprawl. Conversely, river ports, like railway hubs incidentally, are characterized by much more restricted positions along the river, which means that initial and final road haulage legs are necessary. Urban logistical sprawl is a powerful trend which at first sight is unfavourable to river ports which are restricted to a limited geographical location.

First of all, we shall set out to demonstrate that in the recent past there has been a simultaneous increase in urbanization, the motorway network, logistical sites and land and property prices in urban areas, and in counterpoint to this in the river ports. More broadly, we will set out to demonstrate how, since the Industrial Revolution, river ports have integrated within a number of successive logistical cycles, their location within the urban area playing a varying role according to the nature of these "logistical moments". During what periods in the country's industrial and economic history have river ports played an important or secondary role in supplying their urban area, as a complement to, or independently of, the other warehouse zones in the urban area and why? In relation to each of the "logistical moments" that have been identified, what is the spatial organization of the city and the transport system which corresponds to it? How can we characterize the current period for river ports in relation to previous cycles, in particular establishing the link between urban logistical sprawl, land and property prices and the development of road transport at a time when the demand is for political decisions that promote sustainable development?

Task 11: What type of governance?

To what extent are river transport and the ports in these urban areas considered when a transport policy is laid down? Is the port considered to be an asset or a handicap, a tool or an obstacle for metropolitan development? What are the most appropriate administrative and/or functional levels for developing logistical plans for urban areas whose supply depends on a large number of transport chains, each of which links several different levels, from international to local? Governance must also consider the entire population. What links exist between the public and the river ports in the broader framework of supplying the metropolises? How are river ports, which are logistical "enclaves" within the urban fabric, perceived by residents? How do people in major cities perceive river transport and more particularly the port?

The aim of this work will be to specify the most appropriate modes of governance for
integrating river ports within the logistical plans for the urban areas.