Cargo ports are not the usual landing point for sub sea cables, but Marseille-Fos is building cable landing infrastructure as it seeks to become a gateway for information flows.
The port of Marseille-Fos has announced it plans to build a new subsea cable landing infrastructure to provide a “plug & play interface for subsea cables coming from all over the world to the Marseille area”.
This is an unusual move as most subsea cables do not come ashore at commercial seaports. In fact one of the main criteria for sub sea cable landing points is an absence of maritime traffic. On the US east coat Virginia Beach is a major landing point, while in Singapore cables come ashore at Changi, near the airport. Many of the Trans Pacific cables between California and Asia make landfall in the US at Dockweiler beach, again adjacent to an airport (LAX).
In a statement Marseille Fos said it “benefits from a favourable seabed for this type of infrastructure. Connecting submarine cables through the Port of Marseille also makes sense given the current location of carrier-neutral data centres, both within and near the port area.” It plans to have the first phase of its dedicated cable infrastructure in place by Q3 2019, which can support up to six cables. It is also promising a “one-stop shop system within the French administration” to facilitate the permitting process.
Interxion, a provider of data centre services in Europe, welcomed the announcement. “Interxion welcomes this initiative from the Port of Marseille Fos, especially as two of Interxion’s data centres – MRS2 and MRS3 – are located within the port’s area,” said Fabrice Coquio, Managing Director of Interxion France. “We share a common goal with the Port of Marseille Fos which is to foster Marseille’s attractiveness for international, national and local investors, help the whole territory to grow and reinforce the role of the city as a global-scale digital hub.”