French transport and logistics company Groupe Charles Andre (GCA) has extended its operations at the port of Marseille Fos with the opening of a 34,000m2 warehouse in Fos Distriport. The warehouse features 6,000m2 dedicated to packaged dangerous goods – the first such facility within the port’s logistics parks – as well as space for 200 containers.
GCA has run an import/export car terminal at Fos since 2014 through its automotive subsidiary TEA. Marketing of the new $21 million warehouse was launched last November. Clients have been secured for each of the dangerous goods slots and other occupancy is already at more than 70 percent of capacity, including 8,000m2 taken by a market leader in irrigation systems.
The warehouse has been designed to provide 15 percent more storage space than comparably-sized conventional buildings. Safety features include anti-blast fencing and a ‘triple security’ system to prevent spreading of hazardous products. Security staff among the 50 personnel are supported by alarm, detection and video surveillance equipment.
GCA operates a similar warehouse at Barcelona under an expansion plan offering a network of logistics platforms at major European trade crossroads. The Marseille Fos port authority welcomed the development as a sign of confidence in its own ‘southern gateway to Europe’ strategy.
A further 60,000m2 of warehousing at Fos Distriport has been scheduled following a promissory agreement between the Marseille Fos port authority and Lyon-based property developer Wlife. The opening is due in late 2018 subject to regulatory approval.
Wlife is planning the project as a ‘mirror’ site for the multimodal logistics platform it is currently constructing in the Loire-sur-Rhone region. The company will then be able to offer turnkey logistics facilities at the two extremes of the port’s Rhone-Mediterranean natural hinterland axis.
Last year 125,000m2 of new warehousing was added to the two logistics parks at Fos. Distriport now has 375,000m2 in use and space for an additional 200,000m2 including the Wlife proposal. Meanwhile the 364,000m2 capacity La Feuillane zone now has 149,000m2 of warehouses in operation.
Renovation work costing $34 million to reopen the giant Drydock 10 at Marseille as a megaship repair base was completed in early April with refurbishment of the pumping station. The port authority is now conducting tests throughout the month before handing possession to designated operator Chantier Naval de Marseille (CNdM), which expects to announce a debut contract before summer.
At 465 meters long and 85 meters wide, the drydock is the world’s third biggest and was opened in 1975 to specialize in VLCC repairs. It was mothballed in 2000 when the market shifted east but has been restored to serve the largest ships afloat with minimal deviation – notably cruise vessels more than 360m long that regularly call at Marseille, the leading cruise port of France. In addition the facility will be targeted at gas carriers, bulkers, containerships and the offshore sector.
With funding support from national and regional authorities, the project also included the construction of a new dock gate, equipment overhauls and renewal of the electricity supply network.
Last year Costa Cruises underlined Marseille’s key repair location by taking a one-third stake in CNdM, which already operates drydocks 8 and 9 at the port after being formed for the purpose in 2010 by Genoa-based repair and conversion specialist San Georgio del Porto.
Twin role for Marseille Fos in Monaco offshore extension scheme
The port of Marseille Fos is involved in a $2.1 billion offshore urban extension project at near-neighbor Monaco after being chosen as the construction site for vital prefabricated units and as the departure point for exports of landfill aggregates.
Public works company Bouygues Construction has selected Marseille ahead of other candidates as the base to build 18 massive reinforced concrete caissons worth $154 million. They will form a protective belt around the six hectare development, which will provide space-starved Monaco with apartments and shops on land reclaimed from the sea.
Work on the caissons is due to start in September for completion in March 2019. Bouygues will occupy 22,000m2 landside and 79,600m2 on water in Marseille – the port’s eastern harbor area – where it said the space, 22.5m depth of water and presence of the Lafarge concrete plant offered ideal conditions.
In an additional element of the award, the dry bulk terminal in Fos - the western harbor area - will handle 1.56 million metric tons of aggregates being sent to Monaco as infill material.
Marseille Fos CEO Christine Cabau Woehrel commented, “This is a remarkable opportunity for the port that demonstrates our industrial vocation and also the complementary efficiency of our eastern and western harbor operations for the benefit of industrial clients.”