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"The virus did not win against the ports", says Bernard Valero, Avitem's general manager




Bernard Valero welcomes the resilience of Mediterranean ports (Photo: screenshot/F.Dubessy)
Bernard Valero welcomes the resilience of Mediterranean ports (Photo: screenshot/F.Dubessy)
MEDITERRANEAN. "The virus has not won against ports and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean. It has won against the airports, the borders and the victims, but maritime activity has been able to continue to serve a double resilience: that of the cities and that of the national and territorial economies by continuing to supply them", Bernard Valero stressed on Friday 6 November 2020.

The Director General of Avitem (Agency for Sustainable Mediterranean Cities and Territories) spoke at the end of the webinar devoted to the theme "the port at the heart of the crisis, vulnerability or resilience? "* The subjects addressed - supply, securing flows (relocations and port spaces) and cooperation between port platforms - enabled the French, Moroccan, Italian and Spanish experts to take stock of the way in which the ports have reacted to Covid-19.

The new port stabilising centrality

The balance sheet seems to be rather positive in the Mediterranean. "The virus has been an accelerating factor in the reflection on the ports," Bernard Valero notes. He notes, for example, the changes in the ports of Genoa, with a process of redefinition of its space reserved for events and tourism to serve the health chain, and Barcelona, which now plans to diversify its traffic and the uses of its port. All of them have had to innovate in terms of interconnections to secure supplies and find alternatives to air freight transport.

The positioning of the urban port as a new stabilising and reassuring centrality in a context of sustained and repeated crisis was welcomed by Avitem. All the more so in this period of global crisis which has "revealed the risks linked to an over-dependence on a single production site for so-called 'strategic' products, creating a major risk of supply disruption", as underlined by the public interest group based in Marseille.

"The virus will have had the virtue of making us think about how to get out of it. It is better to do it together than randomly and individually," concludes the Avitem's managing director.


*This webinar was part of a series of conferences starting in May 2019 on the city-port relationship initiated by AVITEM in conjunction with the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille, the MedPorts association, the Institut Supérieur d'Economie Maritime (ISEMAR) of Nantes-Saint Nazaire and supported by the Delegation for External Action of Territorial Communities of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. The video of this webinar will soon be available on our website to (re)see all the presentations.

Frédéric Dubessy


Friday, November 6th 2020



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