Parabellum: Making French ports more competitive




By Oussama LAABIDI, Sûan TEMPLIER, Pascal Mvogo AWANA, 

Carla Teixeira FERNANDES, Ali HAJJI

l’École supérieure de logistique industrielle – ESLI

Paris, France


With increasing volumes of goods, the world economy has never been so dependent on the sea than before. The main concern of developed countries is therefore to guarantee the safety of maritime transport and above all to optimize logistics operations within port sites.

Internationally, many countries such as China have been able to distinguish themselves with increasingly efficient ports. Innovating and improving the logistics organization of seaports has become a real challenge for them. Nevertheless, many authors question the management of ports in France. Some speak of the weakness of French ports in terms of containerization. Thus, France must review its port infrastructures in order to compete with other world powers.

Key Words:  Container Terminal; Automation System; Barcode System; RFID System; Damage Container; Claims; French ports system; Dehumanization; Automated Operation; Gate complex; Transportation system; Competitive ports.


With the back and forth in restrictive measures – not to mention the shocks of the Suez Canal, Yantian and Ningbo – port services have deteriorated, and ship queues off the world’s major container ports have lengthened»1. This is what we can find in the headlines concerning seaports. Harbors and port facilities have never been so stretched to handle the volume within their infrastructure.

As a matter of fact, physical flows by sea have multiplied in the last decades with globalization.  One of the reasons for this craze is the ease of buying products from abroad. In addition, the health crisis that we are facing since late 2019 has only accelerated this mode of consumption, but logistics activities within the ports have been slowed down due to government restrictions. As a result, consumers are increasingly demanding in terms of deadlines, but port sites have had difficulties managing international trade for over a year.

With this changing world, robotization and automation have become techniques used to optimize logistics flows in strategic points such as ports. The Asian continent has the most competitive ports in the world. The quantities handled are largely superior to those of the French ports. This gap observed in France is due to several factors: economic, territorial, or political. Therefore, we can raise the following question:  how to make French ports more competitive?

In order to answer this question, we will first highlight maritime transport internationally and then in France via a literature review. Finally, in a second part, we will show how come the digital innovation is a catalyst for the transformation of French ports.


With globalization, states have accelerated their international exchanges in order to increase their economic growth. The maritime routes as well as the functioning of the world’s ports have been modified in order to handle all the volumes exchanged. This is why it is essential to present this sector in the world before focusing on the activity of French ports.


The majority of the world’s ports are facing increasing challenges in terms of competition and performance. Moreover, the economy relies as much on the internet revolution as it does on the ability of countries to master maritime routes and port interfaces.

Indeed, nowadays, 80% of trade in the world is carried out by maritime transport, so many countries have optimized the logistics organization within their ports. According to the transport geographer Y. ALIX and the economist F. CARLUER, the Asian continent remains the leader in this sector. Indeed, « The Shanghai-Singapore duo handles thirty times more containers than the ports of Le Havre and Marseille», and according to the latter, seven of the ten largest ports in the world are Chinese. The table below shows the ranking of seaports in the world according to container traffic in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). The parenthesis is a reference to the previous ranking (2019). The variation allows us to see the impact of the health crisis on container traffic in the ports.


To read entire article, click here

Editor’s note: This paper was prepared for the course Supply Chain Tools and Project Management in Master’s degree in Secured & Intelligent Logistics – option: Defense and Private-Public ecosystems, l’École supérieure de logistique industrielle – ESLI, Paris campus. Reviewed by Mohamad-Fadl HARAKE, Affiliate Professor at ESLI Paris and Academic Head of the Logistics Programs.

How to cite this paper: Laabidi, O., Templier, S., Awana, P.M., Fernandes, C.T., Hajji, A. (2021). Parabellum: Making French ports more competitive, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue XII, December. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/pmwj112-Dec2021-Laabi-Templier-Awana-Fernandes-Hajji-Making-French-ports-more-competitive.pdf

About the Authors




Oussama Laabidi is a student at ESLI Paris. MSc Industrial Logistics and Purchasing Management (MLAI). After a bachelor’s degree in Economics Science and Management in Morocco where he learned about strategy, management, law, and finance, he moved to France to join ESLI for a bachelor’s degree in Intelligent Secured Logistics. And through those years he enhanced his knowledge in Supply chain and transport, planification and Wearhouse management, before deciding to focus on industrial logistics and manufacturing. He also had the opportunity to develop his professional experiences through 3 years in the automotive industry as production planning manager at BOSCH Automotive Steering and CLAAS Tractor. He can be contacted at: olaabidi@etu.campus-redon-industries.com





Sûan Templier is currently studying for his Master 2 MLAI (Management Logistique Achats Industriels) at the Aivancity School, in France (Paris). He holds a Master 1 Gestion des Opérations Logistiques (at the Institut Universitaire de Technologie d’Aix en Provence), where he studied from 2019 to 2021. Sûan has 9 months of work experience as an assistant operations manager at ID Logistics Group. During this period, he oversaw 3 types of well-defined missions (Analysis, Management, Audit). He was also in charge of the implementation of analysis tools to give feedback to the client.  Main field of study: Supply Chain Logistics. He can be contacted via: stemplier@etu.campus-redon-industries.com


Carla Teixeira FERNANDES



Carla Teixeira Fernandes is a student at ESLI Paris. MSc Industrial Logistics and Purchasing Management MLAI. After a technological University diploma in industrial logistics quality and organization at the university of Cergy-Pontoise, Carla obtained a bachelor’s degree in logistics manager in Paris. She learned how to manage logistics projects in companies and measure the performance of logistics activities. Next, she joined ESLI for a master’s degree in intelligent Secured Logistics. These years in the supply chain allowed Carla to learn more about logistics, planification, transport and all the support functions in a company. She currently works as logistics manager at IKEA, a Swedish company specializing in the design and sale of furniture and decorative items. She can be contacted at: cfernandes-teixeira@etu.campus-redon-industries.com


Pascal Mvogo AWANA



Pascal Mvogo Awana is currently doing his Master 2 manager logistics industrial purchasing secure intelligent logistics program at ESLI Paris. Pascal is also a manager at GEPSA. He can be contacted at  pascalmvogoawana@gmail.com / www.linkedin.com/in/Pascal-MVOGO-AWANA  or at pmvogoawana@etu.campus-redon-industries.com





Ali Hajji is currently doing his Master 2 manager logistics industrial purchasing secure intelligent logistics program at ESLI Paris. Ali is currently working as a transitional manager at SOFRILOG, where he’s in charge of managing teams specializing in lean management. He has a master’s degree in logistic management and has previously worked as a project manager at CHAPLAIN, PSA and Decathlon. He can be contacted at: ahajji@etu.campus-redon-industries.com