It is a ritual maneuver in which the port of Marseille Voss participated on Tuesday. That’s from the annual balance sheet, with key figures and forecasts backing up. If 2020 is the year of the meltdown, as a direct result of the global pandemic, then 2021 is the year of “a form of resilience”, in the words of Executive Board Chairman Hervey Martel, during an organized video press conference. Here are five key facts to extract from this review.
Historic record of fitted containers
The port of Marseille-Voss has returned to growth in 2021. It benefits from an explosion in demand for goods and an intense circulation at sea despite a shortage of raw materials and high prices in the wake of the health crisis. Last year, the port handled 75 million tons of cargo. It has not yet reached the level of 2019, but the rate of progress compared to 2020 is 9%. Marseille Fos broke a historic record with 1.5 million containers handled during 9,000 stops. In terms of sales volume, at 162 million this year, this translates to 11% growth compared to 2020 (which is still 5% lower compared to 2019).
New headquarters in La Juliette
And here’s a PPP (public-private partnership) coming out of the back of its nose. The project, called “Le Far”, was approved by the port’s control authority at the end of November. The goal is to provide the port, by 2025-2026, with a new head office in place of the current one, the Place de la Joliette. An operation with a total value of 107 million euros, on an area of 28,000 square metres, only part of which is intended to accommodate port personnel. “It will allow the city to open up to the port. The investment capacity of the port must be directed above all into projects,” the chairman explains, through a commercial ground floor overlooking the sea, offers Elizabeth Ayrault, chairman of the supervisory board, to explain the choice of the partnership market.
Invitation to tenders for luxury cruises
According to Hervé Martel, the topic of relations between the city and the port is no longer controversial. “We’re already making progress on consultations, especially in the southern part of the eastern basins,” he says. The chairman of the port’s board sees this as evidence of “a call for tenders to use the space that has been liberated by international ferries to accommodate small cruises.” In other words, the luxury cruise terminal project at J4 near Mucem. It was launched at the end of December, and appears on the balance sheet for 2021. With the first deadline in May 2022 for submissions. As for the passenger segment in general, the balance is 1.2 million in 2021, which is still far from the 3 million passengers welcomed in 2019, although cruises resumed in July. “The sector, which has been hit hard by the health crisis, remains uncertain,” notes Chantal Hellmann, a member of the Executive Board.
Docking dock electrification
“The superstructure has been completed,” says Lionel Riviere, director of heritage promotion and innovation at the port, who is delighted that the future Cap Jeannette International Ferry Terminal will be able to “hold up to 600 people at a time.” However, work is ongoing, for a gradual delivery of this summer. No more accurate date was provided. Regarding the electrical equipment for the four berths, the contract for the works was notified in December, for scheduled delivery in the spring of 2023. However, 2021 also saw the completion of the equipment for four berths on the berth of the Corsican ferry sector connecting approximately 1,200 stops per year.
The port invests heavily in green hydrogen
The official announcement begins on Monday, and the annual report presentation of the port echoes it. “This is the largest investment since the establishment of the Industrial Port District,” Herve Martel says with satisfaction. The key to this energy transition project is the direct creation of 165 jobs. In partnership with H2V, an industrial facility to produce green hydrogen will be developed in six phases from 2026 to 2031. Avoid releasing 750,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually into the atmosphere, according to the port’s press release. The site will include six production units with a capacity of 100 megawatts (i.e. 600 megawatts), and will ensure the production of 84,000 tons/year of renewable hydrogen via water electrolysis. Either “the largest unit in France”, according to the port of Marseille-Foss.