|Marseilles Fos’ post-reform strategy|
|Thursday, 09 April 2009 11:59|
France: The port of Marseilles Fos has approved port strategy and financing to the year 2013, including the transfer of container and dry bulk cargo handling to private operators, a requirement of the French port reform law passed last July.
Management departments drew up the plan after analysis of the port’s strengths and weaknesses in the light of industry trends and following consultations conducted since November between Executive Chairman Jean-Claude Terrier, trade union representatives and the stevedoring companies. The agreed strategy also takes account of recommendations by the supervisory board, which met three times on the subject after being formed in January, and input from the development board.
An overriding mission statement sets out ambitions to combine environmental responsibility with major growth in annual cargo volumes, from last year’s 96 million tonnes to 120 million tonnes by 2013 and 150 million tonnes by 2020.
According to a statement released by the port, five main strategic directions are set out under this umbrella to address the challenge of building container traffic at Fos: to add to the core oil business by increasing throughput of other energy sources; to strengthen the port’s position as a south European hub for dry bulks; to establish a Euro-Mediterranean Ro-Ro hub; and to further develop passenger facilities.
These aims will be supported by three “action policies” involving investment of US$796.86 million; an integrated approach to development that optimises economic, urban and environmental considerations; and the priority development of rail and waterways links with the hinterland.
Meanwhile, as well as the handover of container and dry bulk activity to private operators, several other courses of action are to be adopted in line with the reform law requirements and union agreements signed last October.
The oil and chemicals terminals at Fos and Lavera are considered to be of national interest and will be run by a subsidiary in which the port has a majority stake, the statement said.
Maintenance of equipment will come under a company where the cargo handlers are both shareholders and customers, with the port also holding a stake. The port will remain responsible for passenger trades and those areas of ship repair activity currently carried out by its personnel. In addition, following the closure of the fruit terminal, it is to invite commercial tenders for restoring activity levels in the conventional trades sector.
A three-month period has been set for negotiations with those private operators concerned in the transfer of port personnel and equipment. Under the reform law, the transfer process can take place progressively for up to two years, with a deadline of April 2011. Operators for activities not covered by the transfer negotiations will be selected in a call for tenders to be launched by the port.
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