A long launch process
The dry port project, located at Chef de Baie, within the fishing port of La Rochelle, is the fruit of a long process. Sica Atlantique, handling operator in the port of La Rochelle and the municipal management board in charge of managing the port of Les Minimes have joined forces within the company Dockside Services to carry the operation and respond to the call for projects launched in January 2013 by the CCI of La Rochelle. This consultation was in fact the result of years of lobbying by operators who had identified the need for berths in the rocky pertuis and the unoccupied wasteland of Chef de Baie, ideally located, easy to access and close to navigation sites.
Dockside Services had to wait again after being awarded the prize in September 2014. The identification of a protected natural species on the site and problems of pollution and soil remediation delayed the start of the project. In September 2017, the authorities issued permission to move the sensitive species, opening the door for work to begin.
Commissioning for summer 2018
Remediation work on the site and relocation of the protected plant, carried out by the CCI of La Rochelle, should begin in December 2017. This will be followed by the development of the dry port by Dockside Services, starting in spring 2018, for a period of 3 months. The project envisages 4 zones:
- 1 slipway with waiting pontoons along an existing spike in the harbour of Chef de Baie
- 1 field equipped with racks for the storage of 450 boats under 9 m long, on shelves. A second phase of work will increase the capacity of the dry port to 800 vessels
- 1 technical area for the provision of boats for owners or professionals wishing to carry out work there. Interested technical companies will be able to establish themselves there.
- 1 village welcoming various services such as the harbour master's office, a club house, a boat-school, a shipchandler or the sale of boat.
If final seat reservations do not start until March 2018, pre-registration is open on the Dockside Services website. They will allow the manager to calibrate the number of racks needed for opening. The marketing of the commercial spaces in the village and on the technical zone has started. 1300 m▓ out of the 2100 m▓ available are already allocated. Loys de Tarragon, marketing manager of Dockside Services, is satisfied with the first returns. "Of the 450 subscribers to the Dockside Services site, many have completed a firm newsletter since the launch of pre-booking at the Grand Pavois 2017. The feedback is good when we haven't done a communication campaign yet."
Bringing the Rockies back to the fishing port
A marina in the middle of the fishing port obviously raises questions of cohabitation. Rather than a handicap, Dockside Services, supported by the agglomeration of La Rochelle, sees an advantage there. "Our objective is to get the people of La Rochelle back to the fishing port, a link that no longer exists since the trawlers left the town centre. For this, a seafood shop should open in the village with the port operators. The city is also planning a local fishing history museum to bring in tourists." Dockside Services wants to be a new center of nautical life in La Rochelle!