Interview / "Marinas are a structuring tool for Morbihan"

Michel Le Bras, director of the Compagnie des Ports du Morbihan, talks with BoatIndustry about the company's mission and its recent development in Vannes and Auray.

The Compagnie des Ports du Morbihan is today the leading operator of marinas in France, with 14 marinas on the department's coastline. 22.2 million in 2016. After the integration of the ports of Vannes and Saint-Goustan in the commune of Auray in 2017, BoatIndustry wished to take stock with Michel Le Bras, director of the company, on the role of the company and its future projects.

You have just integrated the ports of Vannes and Auray into the Compagnie des Ports du Morbihan. Is this a request from the communes? How does this fit in with the company's mission?

Michel Le Bras: The request comes from elected representatives, who remain the decision-makers for their ports. Communities are now concentrating on their core business, which may be schools or roads. The management of a port, which has more than one commercial activity, is a different business. Municipalities such as Vannes or Auray, which want to develop their offer, are now wondering whether it is up to them to invest. When they entrust us with the management, we take charge of the investment and they benefit from the dynamics of the Compagnie des Ports du Morbihan. Since 2013, we have become a local public company, which has enabled us, by merging the aspects of port management and investment, to give new impetus to the former SAGEMOR. We benefit from the willingness of the Morbihan department to invest in infrastructure that it considers to be very structuring.

Port of Saint-Goustan in Auray

How does this work in practice for the integration of new ports?

Michel Le Bras: In general, the applicant city enters the capital of the Compagnie des Ports du Morbihan. She sends us a program document, a sort of specification of her request. We respond as in a call for tenders, without having a competitor. In the end, it's always the elected officials who vote. Our role is to manage the port well. The staff of the municipal boards who wish to do so, join the company. We now have 150 full-time equivalents over the year, with a rise from 120 in January to 250 in August.

What are the planned investments in Vannes and Auray?

Michel Le Bras: 4 to 5 million over 2 to 3 years in the port of Vannes, initially for dredging and then for changing the pontoons.

In Auray, where the town hall wishes to revitalise the port, 500 to 600 keuros will allow the installation of pontoons.

Port of Vannes

Does the Compagnie des Ports du Morbihan have, despite its name, a vocation to develop outside the department?

Michel Le Bras: We are sometimes solicited outside the department and carry out consulting and engineering missions within the framework of the Passeport Escale network. As the majority shareholder is the department of Morbihan, we do not intend to manage ports outside the department, but we are considering the possibility of developing intellectual services outside Morbihan.

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