Marine Log

April 7, 2006

UNB leases Marseilles dry docks

France's Port of Marseilles Authority has approved an agreement to lease the port's main ship repair facilties, dry docks 8 and 9, to Spain's Union Naval Barcelona.

Under the 18-year deal, which runs to the end of 2024, the PMA will receive an annual rent of around Euros 2.1 million.

The dry docks are respectively 350 meters and 250 meters long and have been upgraded at a cost of Euros 10 million over the past five years.

UNB is expected to focus its marketing campaign on two of the port's key business sectors, cruiseships and gas carriers.

The port authority invited tenders for the lease last November after previous tenant CMR went into receivership. UNB submitted the only bid, prompting two months of negotiation after the port's January board meeting ruled that minimum financial criteria had not been met.

According to the PMA, the resulting agreement will enable it to restructure the accounts of its repair activities and end years of heavy losses. Parallel to the deal, the port's repair support department is being reorganiized to reduce operating costs and optimize the level of service.