The European Commission has cleared a French extension project for the Mediterranean port of Port-La-Nouvelle.
The project involves the construction of dikes and a platform for the handling of heavy parcels, jointly financed by the Occitanie region, the department of Aude and the agglomeration of Greater Narbonne.
The Commission has concluded that the financing of the dikes, amounting to approximately EUR158 million, does not constitute state aid because this infrastructure will not only benefit the economic activities of the port but will protect the entire coastline against hazards climate and tides. As for the wharf, it will initially be used for the construction and maintenance of two pilot farms.
The construction of the wharf thus contributes to French and European objectives in terms of renewable energy production. It will also promote job creation in the Narbonne basin, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in France.
State aid of approximately EUR53 million granted to the project does not go beyond what is necessary to achieve these objectives.
In addition, because of the local nature of the heavy parcels market, which is characterised by proximity between the port of landing and the consignee, the volumes handled by Port-La-Nouvelle will remain very modest. The Commission has therefore concluded that the project will not lead to an undue distortion of competition in the internal market.
Port-la-Nouvelle is a coastal town in the Aude region of Occitania, located about 20 km south of Narbonne.