“Ah, when there is a personality, immediately there are people, huh? The room, located on the fifth floor of the Silo, a former hangar in the port of Marseille converted into a theater, is full of journalists. Everyone knows that this press conference is special to say the least. Admittedly, the traditional annual report of the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille (GPMM) is held face-to-face, after years of distance due to the coronavirus epidemic. Above all, the new chairman of the port supervisory board will hold his first press conference there. And it is none other than the former Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner, parachuted after his defeat in the legislative elections last June, who occupies the position.
Sitting alongside the chairman of the port’s executive board, Hervé Martel, the former deputy of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence knows he is expected at the turn. And from its introduction, sets the tone, not to say clashes, faithful to its legendary banter. “I finally understood when I arrived here why I finally wanted to be president of the great maritime port of Marseille, launches Christophe Castaner. I’ve always dreamed of going on stage at the Silo. And hell! Here I am. And there’s something I’m sure you didn’t do, and I did when I got here. I looked at the programming of the Silo. Last week it was Izia. Full house. For those who don’t have in mind, Izia is My heart, Too fast… All these successes! We still have a little room for improvement. And I looked at the schedule for next week. There are Swan Lake. I don’t know if we’ll be able to stick to it directly…” And to address Hervé Martel: “On the other hand, on February 3, we both have to be there. I noted in the programming A magical couple. So, I don’t know what it is, but it prepares us for this stage appearance! »
“We will judge him by deeds”
For Christophe Castaner, the time to jump into the deep end has indeed come. After a press conference on Tuesday morning, the new chairman of the port supervisory board appointed last December addressed the port staff this afternoon, before speaking to institutional representatives this evening. So, while waiting for these strategic appointments, it is clear that the new president wants to give the image of a man who masters the technical aspects and the challenges of the files carried by the port. “You saw, I worked a bit, huh? “, laughs Christophe Castaner while the light of the cameras goes out.
It must be said that the parachuting of the former minister at the head of the port of the Marseille city was coldly welcomed by the unions. The latter filed a strike notice shortly after this announcement. Two days before its election, the CGT of dockworkers in the western basins of the port of Marseille-Fos even organized a press conference to demand emergency investments, listing a series of proposals. “Either our project is resumed and we develop the western basins of the port, or we will get angry”, had then launched Christophe Claret, CGT general secretary of dockworkers in the Gulf of Fos. And to warn, as for the appointment of Christophe Castaner: “We will judge him by deeds”.
“There are concerns”
“What the CGT dockers or even in its national memorandum the CGT maritime at the national level carries is perfectly consistent with our vision of the port of Marseilles, affirms Christophe Castaner. We need to invest massively in these areas. When we look at the volume of investments that will be made in the Fos area, between the private and the public, we are on amounts that are much higher than the figure mentioned by the CGT. Have we reassured them? The answer is no. It would be very presumptuous. We can carry a vision, but they have been living it for generations, with habits, and in particular the omnipresence of hydrocarbons. And there are concerns. »
And to launch: “We are in a model that is ending, including on the economy of the port. The oil rent, which has made it possible to finance many other activities in the port, is in question today, because there is no longer any oil rent. “. Contacted, neither the representatives of the CGT des dockers de Fos nor those of the GPMM responded to our requests.