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Marselle-Fos to invest €20M in cold ironing

Marseille Fos port authority is to spend €20M over the next six years to extend shoreside electrical connections for berthed vessels to every ferry, cruise ship and repair quay within the Marseille eastern harbour

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Already available on the Corsica ferry quays, the network will be expanded in two phases to cover North Africa ferry quays and the ship repair hub by 2022 and the cruise terminal between 2022 and 2025.


The zero-emissions investment - backed by national and regional government – recognises the need to maintain the port’s value to the economy while improving the city’s waterside air quality. GPM de Marseille’s CEO Hervé Martel commented: “We are convinced that ecological transition is the springboard to economic growth. That’s why we are investing heavily to become the Mediterranean’s first 100% electric port by 2025.”


Martel recently joined a regional government delegation that visited Tunisia’s transport minister and gained an undertaking for a techno-economic study into the electrification of quays at La Goulette in the port of Tunis. Such provision in Tunis as well as Marseille is seen as crucial in encouraging the two ferry operators on the route to equip their ships for the facility.

Something to look after - Marseille Vieux Port viewed from the Sofitel
Something to look after - Marseille Vieux Port viewed from the Sofitel

Among further steps to reduce ship emissions, Marseille Fos has introduced speed restrictions of 10 knots in the port approaches and 8 knots within the harbours. The limits apply to all vessels and comply with state and regional government policies that target vehicle and industrial air pollution.


In another initiative, voyage planning specialist Searoutes has unveiled the pilot version of its eco-calculator for measuring the environmental impact of shipments throughout the supply chain. Under the Smart Port Challenge, the Marseille Fos port authority chose the locally-based company to develop a prototype that is also on trial at Antwerp and Rotterdam.


The Shift by Searoutes tool allows shippers to calculate and compare greenhouse gas emissions in relation to routing options, weather forecasts, ship characteristics and intermodal road, rail or river links. Marseille Fos expects the transparency and reliability of the calculations to confirm the value of its inland connections. As a new company, Searoutes has been supported since January this year by CMA CGM’s ZEBOX scheme, a start-up incubator and accelerator for technological innovation.


12 shipping companies have qualified for 2-3% reductions in Marseille Fos port dues as a reward for cutting air emissions below regulatory requirements over the past year. The incentive was introduced in July 2017 after the port joined the World Ports Climate Initiative, whose Environmental Ship Index (ESI) has been adopted by 50 ports handling more than a quarter of the global fleet.


The ESI measures NOx, SOx and CO2 reduction performance for ships at berth on a scale of zero to 100. At Marseille Fos, the scheme applies to containerships and cruise vessels with scores of 35 and above, the ‘cold ironing’ mark for ships using shoreside electrical power instead of onboard diesel generators.


Last year a report by ICEP laid bare the extent of pollution emanating from the Fos industrial zone in the west harbour.

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