The prospects for the Fos industrial port zone: industrial ecology and energy transitione

Hervé Moine, Responsible for Planning and Territory activities, Environment and Redevelopment Department, Grand Port Maritime de Marseille
Jérôme Giraud, Head of Project and Business Line Development Department, Grand Port Maritime de Marseille

Download the paper – Pdf file (5 Mo)

General presentation of projects and the city-port charter

Régine Vinson, Head of City Port Relationships Mission, Development Department, Grand Port Maritime de Marseille

Download the paper – Pdf file (3 Mo)


Ve-mar_bandeau-galerieGo to all the photos

Complementary information

The “Galerie France 5”, a French TV emission of Laurence Piquet (Duration 1h15), with a reportage of Thomas Briat : “Un musée pour la Méditerranée – Le Mucem”, with the participation of Rudy Ricciotti.

Go to the video – Available until October 26th 2013


A port at the service of its region

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A very intense programme awaited the participants in the Study Trip organised by AIVP. The quality of the speakers, the discussions and the detailed replies which the participants heard, enabled them to discover many aspects of projects and strategies which are still being defined, activities in progress or redevelopments which are already operational. The reduction in oil-carrier traffic appears irreversible. The Port of Marseilles is looking to the future: added value, synergies, sharing, and eliminating carbon emissions are the pillars of a new strategy. At the same time, as Marseilles takes on the role of a metropolis, the port will soon have an institutional partner on the scale of the region it serves. Consistency of vision and action can become reality.

Report on a trip which was highly enriching for everyone!

An ambitiously redesigned industrial strategy

The first part of the programme allowed the participants to get an idea of the new challenges of the Fos port facilities and to discover in situ the LNG terminal, the container terminal and their extension projects.

They will particularly remember the port’s willingness to fully assume its new functions as public developer of the territory and “facilitator” – especially in taking up the challenge of energy transition and making it a source of new opportunities for growth. The whole difficulty of this ambition lies in a profound change of model – both for the port itself and the companies installed there: how to progress from the 1970s model of an industrial port where companies came and installed themselves without any real regard for their environment, or for what the next-door factory was making, to a new and more sustainable industrial model based on industrial ecology and resource-sharing.

The current context of a crisis in refining, the end of an economic model based on the illusion of infinite resources, and France’s political will to commit to energy transition are all factors which help to accelerate a process launched by the port in 2004, and which is now reaching maturity. The many possible interactions between the companies in the port zone, and between the different energy sources available, have been modelled by the port with the support of researchers from the Alès mining school. This model, nothing short of an economic ecosystem, has proved to be a valuable decision-making tool for a new understanding of the region which will allow synergies to be developed and new industries identified, by exploiting the energy mix available: onshore and offshore wind power, CO2 capture, and even the exploitation of a deposit of hot water deep underground (60°C at   -1,000 m) as big as Lake Geneva.

In future, according to Hervé Moine, the Planning and Territory Manager, and Jérôme Giraud, Head of the Projects and Industries Development Department of the Port of Marseilles, the execution of this new model for developing profitable new activities to create jobs and value will depend on one key word: “decompartmentalisation”. Decompartmentalisation between industries, decompartmentalisation between the providers of port and logistical services, decompartmentalisation on the territorial scale between the different administrative bodies (9 cooperation agreements between districts on port territory) and decompartmentalisation between the different components of the energy mix which needs to be achieved to make the whole system work. Hervé Moine and Jérôme Giraud also stress that if the port, in its role as public developer, does not complete this mission, private operators will end up inventing B-to-B cooperation which would be considerably less profitable for the region.

Continuing the visits programme, the participants went to see the Sogaris logistical platform as part of the concept of “service to the region”. This logistics infrastructure group has been a member of AIVP since 2006. Its logistical platform has facilities both in the heart of the city and just next to the port, making it an essential strength for users by reinforcing their economic effectiveness, speed of reaction and organisational flexibility. The platform also offers faster and greener logistics over the last kilometre, with certain clients using electrical distribution vehicles. The port territory as a whole benefits. What is more, photovoltaic energy production on the roof covers all the platform’s electricity needs.

City-port co-development and vertical diversification

AIVP members have had regular opportunities to follow the evolution of the port-city relationship at Marseilles, especially since the creation by the State in 1995 of the “Etablissement public Euroméditerranée” which, measured by its perimeter, runs the biggest redevelopment operation in France. Our Study Trip occurred at a particularly interesting moment for learning about this operation: the port and city authorities have just recently signed a City-Port Charter. This confirms the global mission of the Fos port installations and defines new contours for the Marseilles waterfront around docks reassured of the port’s role in the Mediterranean. The Charter says: “The Marseilles docks will remain the port for intra-mediterranean tug and container traffic, with sustained growth. Multi-faceted and adaptable, the port of Marseilles also perfectly meets the needs of Mediterranean passenger (…) and cargo operators.

The 10 kilometres of the Marseilles waterfront have been redeveloped to meet this objective both as spaces and in their functions: there is a northern sector devoted to yachting and tourism; a central sector for cargo and passenger traffic to the rest of the Mediterranean, and for ship repairs; and a southern sector conceived as an urban and port display window. The participants were able to visit several large installations.

The first of these was the redevelopment of the Arenc Silo, opened in 2011. Designed by Eric Castaldi and carried out jointly with the Carta studio, it symbolises the will of the city-port to integrate and diversify. The operation not only safeguarded and gave new life to an exceptional element of port heritage at the service of the local population, but its port function was maintained as the quays continue in use. Today the Silo contains offices and a superb multi-purpose events hall, which can be adapted for between 1,600 and 2,300 seats thanks to its modular design and has exceptional acoustics, considering that it is set in the heart of a business area with heavy traffic.

The visit to the Terrasses du Port site with Sandra Chalinet, Project Director for the operator Hammerson, allowed the participants to understand the contours of this commercial space, which also combines port and city functions: 23,000 m² for a passenger terminal on level 0 (ground level) and 52,000 m² for business and leisure on levels 1 and 2. On level 2 there is an exterior promenade with views over the Marseilles roads and port activities. The installation is completed by a 3,000 m² roof terrace for events. Opening is planned for May 2014, and 90% of the shop premises are already for sale. This new commercial block in the city-centre, coupled to current projects in the neighbouring La Joliette docks, increase the attractiveness of the whole sector. The only question is whether other districts of the city will suffer as a result.

The projects for Hangar J1, next to Terrasses du Port, further reinforce the scheme for reopening the waterfront. During the “Marseille Provence, European Capital of Culture 2013” celebration, “J1” was partly redeveloped to house exhibitions in a 6,000 m² space. The participants were able to visit the high quality exhibition devoted to Le Corbusier. In the long term, J1 will be used for more modest exhibitions which will be renewed on a frequent basis. The Port also plans to move its company headquarters to a part of level 1. A call for suggestions is being held for the complete rehabilitation of this hangar, which has enormous potential. Level 0 and the basins on either side will house yachting activities: port-city diversity first and foremost!

At the other end of this sector, recently opened for the cultural activities of summer 2013, the daring shapes of Villa Méditerranée – designed by Stéfano Boéri – and especially the much publicised “MUCEM”, with its spectacular concrete network envelope, form the dominant feature, uniting the port to the historic districts of Marseilles and the St John Fort, which is now open to the public. Talking to the AIVP group, Rudy Ricciotti, the project architect, said that he wanted the place to enjoy “great spatial porosity“. From the start he stipulated that the walkways, terrace and ramps which go round the outside of the building should be open for free public access. Apart from the architectural virtuosity with which Rudy Ricciotti pays homage to the skill of the engineers, the MUCEM building is “a territory, and its ramps a place for a stroll” to observe and understand the port-city territory of Marseilles; an ideal finishing point for the AIVP Study Trip.


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