French Ports Change Management

A new French law has changed the governing body for French ports, re-arranging management structures and changing names, said officials at Port of Marseille. Cruise terminal operations and management in Marseille, however, have not changed.

Laws changing the so-called ‘autonomous’ status of the ports took effect Oct. 10. The Port Autonome de Marseille is now known as Grand Port Maritime de Marseille (GPMM) and governed under a three-tier system of executive, supervisory and development boards.

The new law will not change management at the Marseille Port Cruise Center, which is co-operated by Louis Cruises, Costa Crociere and MSC Cruises. The three lines guaranteed 450 calls per year, and an annual throughput of 1 million passengers by 2011. The three cruise lines also established a “service quality agreement” with the port authority.

The new four-strong executive board in Marseille, with a president to be appointed by the French government, will take primary responsibility for strategic planning.

An emphasis will be placed on infrastructure development, although no immediate plans were fully developed, a port spokeswoman said. The first task is to define strategy over the next five years, including details of the transfer of cargo handling to the private sector as required by the new law, according to port officials in Marseille.

The other two boards will replace the current administrative council of 26 members. The supervisory line-up of 17 members will include five state appointees, three from GPMM, four local authority representatives and five from bodies such as the chamber of commerce.  They will meet four times a year to review the executive’s policy and budget proposals.

In a consultative role on strategy and tariffs, the development board is to meet at least twice a year and will include 40 members – 12 each from port professionals, local authorities and development parties as well as four from port-based companies.

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