“Marseille was historically built around its port but the industrial revolution has since forged barriers. We have to erase this barrier”, said Hugues Parant, the director general of Euroméditerranée, who sees its development closely linked to that of a port.

Logistics and industrial activities have long prevailed in the port of Marseille but today, and now a new vocation more open to the city is being born.

“Digitization brings us new trades”, said Christine Cabau-Woehrel, the general manager of the port of Marseille. Its role is no longer confined to the transport of goods and passengers, it now hosts digital giants like Interxion which is installing two of its largest data centres at the port. A connection point for about ten submarine cable links to the African continent, the Middle East and Asia, Marseille becomes a gateway to the world.

This strategic positioning, which has made it one of the nerve centres of the merchandise trade, is also an attraction to other digital businesses. On the strength of this change, the port now wants to open a little more towards the city and its inhabitants to increase exchanges and better explain its role in the development of the metropolis.

On the occasion of the Smart City forum, the GPMM signed the charter with the Marseille Provence Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Bouches-du-Rhône Department, the Aix-Marseille Provence Metropolis and the cities of Marseille, Port-de-Bouc, Fos-sur-Mer and Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, together with the International Association of Port Cities (AIVP). ”  A Port Centre would be a didactic tool that should help to better understand the city-port dynamics for future generations  ,” says Philippe Matthis, AIVP president and general manager of the port of Brussels. Marseille is the fourteenth port in the world to join this charter after Antwerp, Rotterdam or Vancouver.

The port centre of Fos is located in la Fossette, in the heart of the industrial port area of ​​Fos, and is the former information centre of the Port of Marseille (Cipam), renamed in September 2016 “Port Center Fos 1″.

Under the new plan, management will modernize the building to make it more attractive and improve exchanges with students, entrepreneurs and researchers in the academic world. ”  We have the support of many structures like PIICTO (Plateforme industrielle d’innovation caban tonkin), the union of the chemical industries or Aix-Marseille University to develop new partnerships to support the centre, said Christine Cabau-Woehrel.

A contest with architecture students will be launched to design the face of the future Port Centre of Fos. A second site with the same vocation also exists nearby. The 2XL Pavilion on the container terminal of the same name will also be renovated and will soon be called “Port Center Fos 2”. These two buildings, however, remain very far from the places of life of the inhabitants.

The real challenge of this charter lies in the creation of a port center in Marseille itself, which is being considered.

This future site, symbol of the link between the city and the port, is likely to be devoted to the activities of the eastern basins. It could be used to present information about new businesses such as Interxion and the port’s cruise activities.

The port also works on urban logistics issues with the ambition of to reduce the distances between the landing of the goods and the final consumer. The future Port Center of Marseilles would thus serve as a laboratory to find better practices in terms of logistics tp the last kilometre.

Philippe Matthis, the President of the AIVP, welcomes the signing of this charter and recalls its importance, “It makes it possible to recall the advantage that its ports for the development of metropolises. Seventeen of the twenty-five largest cities in the world are connected to a port. They will play a major role in the development of the largest cities in the world, and Marseille must take full advantage of them.”

As an example, Antwerp has a dedicated port centre, which offers a space dedicated to all businesses, an online tracking tool for goods flows or show-room of projects linking the port and the city. Despite security standards, there are opportunities to further open ports to citizens. If we want to resist real estate pressure, we must lower our borders”, said Philippe Matthis.

PIICTO is the Industrial and Innovation Platform of Caban-Tonkin, and functions as an industrial-port area, a facilitator of innovation, an environment favorable to the experimentation of the energy transition and the industrial changes to come through the in-situ development of pilots and semi demonstrators and a multi-stakeholder association.

Euroméditerranée is an urban renewal project underway in Marseille to create a business district in the district of La Joliette. The project was launched in 1995 with the initiative of Robert Vigouroux, former Mayor of Marseille, and the national government.

Source: Go Met

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