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Research, Planning and Works Engineers and Technicians

Roads, roundabouts, docks, dikes, warehouses, industrial parks, etc.: the port area gathers numerous activities and infrastructures coordinated by professionals specialized in port planning.

Let’s focus on 3 of these professions ranging from upstream business start-up assistance to the execution of civil engineering works “on site”. These professionals operate for one reason: to propose the planning most suited to companies needs.

Planning the organization of the port area: finding the right balance

The port area gathers over 1000 companies ranging from the industrial sector to logistics over 25 000 acres, which is twice the size of Paris. There is a great diversity of companies, each expressing very different needs in terms of services (water, power and gas supply) and servicing (road, rail or inland waterways connections, access to the sea, etc.)

Herve’s mission (planning project manager) is to welcome new companies, anticipate, plan and offer the most relevant areas. “The port is built like a huge network which we commit to develop by offering plug and play proposals to our clients, that is to say customized and integrated solutions specific to their needs” adds Herve. We design and execute planning schemes that integrate specific needs while ensuring the overall consistency of this huge territory showing great potential for growth.


After graduating with a DESS Génie Portuaire et Côtier (Masters in Ports and Coastline Planning), Herve specialized in the planning of business parks before he reached that position. “It is a cross-disciplinary profession in which one benefits from everybody’s experience. I am in contact with experts in all trades: economical, logistical, etc. in order to offer the smartest planning that will meet or clients’ requirements.”

From on site works planning to engineering office

Each day new road infrastructures are being built or undergo renovation. It is Sebastien’s mission (manager in an engineering office specialized in roads and median strips). Once he had passed his DUT Génie civil (civil engineering) he became a research technician and worked for seven years at the port planning office.

The success encountered during that mission owned him a promotion as manager. “My role is to manage a team of research technicians in order to turn drawings or planning research into market projects. We first refine all the technical components of the projects: outline, leveling, etc. Then, after we have proceeded to a sizing study, we define the project structure (number, nature and thickness of the constituent layers of that structure). All these elements, once they have been validated, allow us to design the technical specifications and to establish the market project.

In some specific cases the reliability of planning according to traffic flow absorption capacity is verified thanks to software and with the help of another service from Grand Port Maritime du Havre. That step allows us to simulate the flow of vehicles in real life condition and, depending on the case, leads to project amendment. “Finally, I act as an intermediary for the works teams that will perform operations on site. In this regard this profession demands a lot of thoroughness and good interpersonal skills.

Perform new infrastructures and maintain older ones is the core mission of New Works and Maintenance

Planning the port area also means planning maritime infrastructures! Before any new construction (dike, dock, etc.) professionals check the project feasibility and perform presizing studies. For instance, specifications are established according to precise elements: dimensions, quality criteria and imposed constraints, remuneration mode, etc. Once that expertise has been accomplished the works are performed by a company selected by call for tender. “I am responsible for the proper writing of the works agreement and for the monitoring of execution until the works are completed. My mission is, for instance, to check that a major work has been properly executed according to specifications in order to obtain quality infrastructures at a fair price which meet the client’s requirements”, adds Christian, the manager of the New Works, Maintenance and Monitoring department.  “I deal both with the construction of new works but also with the maintenance of the estate to keep it in good conditions”.

Le Havre port infrastructures total 40 km of docks and 20 km of dikes and are therefore the subject of expert research in order to be repaired and maintained. To be able to practice this profession Christian graduated as a civil engineer. His skills expanded thanks to much professional experience over twenty years, especially on civil engineering sites or lately during the construction of Port 2000.

Source: multiple Internet sources, specialized literature, testimonials (Pratic-Export, Pôle-emploi cards, Wikipedia, Onisep, CNRTL, Umep à la Page…)