Marseille Powers Ahead with Expansion Works

Marseille Powers Ahead with Expansion Works

Two main construction projects at the French port Marseille Fos which will enable it to handle mega-ships are nearing completion.

These works, costing almost €64 million, will cater for mega-ships by enlarging the Passe Nord port entrance from 190 to 240m and recommissioning the No.10 drydock

Marseille Fos port authority is contributing almost half the €32.7 million cost for the works alongside State and regional funding.

In addition, the drydock has been flooded for the first time since work started in January 2014 to enable flotation of a new 9,100 tonne dock gate and three 4,500 tonne caissons that will form the remodelled ends of the sea walls guarding the harbour entrance.

Currently 12m tall, the caissons are being towed to the Passe Nord site one by one in a phase lasting until October, when afloat construction will take them to a height of 22m.

The 15m diameter, 30m long units will then be sunk on to platforms 18m below sea level and injected with up to 10,000 tonnes of concrete. Project completion is scheduled by the end of 2016.

Meanwhile, the renovation of drydock 10, the third largest in the world after Lisbon and Dubai, was mainly inspired by the growing world fleet of mega-cruiseships but will also provide a minimal-deviation repair and maintenance option for giant container, gas and bulk carriers as well as offshore platforms.

The €31.1 million recommissioning initiative – with €14 million funded by the port authority – includes overhaul of the pumps and electrical network in addition to the new gate, which will be fitted out and tested on site before being handed over to operator Chantier Naval Marseille (CNM) in September.

The first customer is expected by the end of the year.

Last year Marseille (excluding Fos) handled more than 170 vessels over 300m long and, in particular, regular calls from cruiseships exceeding 360m such as Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, which called in June this year.

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