The Artemis Group is to invest €151m of public funds into the French town of Antibes after winning the tender to manage both Vauban and Gallice ports.

Artemis was one of five consortiums or businesses that expressed an interest in bidding for the new management contract that came into force earlier this year.

The Artemis Group comprises three public entities – the Nice Côte d'Azur Chamber of Commerce (CCI), which has 51%, Caisse des Dépôts with 39% and Caisse d'Epargne Côte d'Azur with 10%.

This grouping of public entities brings together technical expertise and financial capacity. CCI is already involved in the operation of four marinas with 2,600 berths – in Cannes, Nice, Golfe-Juan and Villefranche-sur-Mer.

With Port Gallice having 486 berths and the two Antibes facilities – Port Vauban and the International Yacht Club Association quay – with 1,642 berths up to 170m (558ft), CCI’s total is now up to nearly 4,000.

Caisse des Dépôts and Caisse d'Epargne Côte d'Azur are both publically owned financial businesses.

The Artemis concession runs for 25 years from 2017 at the two Antibes facilities and 15 years for Port Gallice from 2018. In addition to the €151m investment at Antibes and Port Gallice, Artemis will pay the City of Antibes €18m a year.

Under the Vauban 21 plan, Artemis will work on specific projects through the 2018-2027 period, although the €135m will be spent over the full 25 years of the concession.

The specific contracts include:

  • The development of an upgraded port managed tool working in conjunction with partners from the Sophia Antipolis science park. This new tool is intended to support improved collection and delivery of information to yacht owners. This will allow a competitive public-based service to be offered.
  • As part of a major training initiative, a Yachting Campus is to be established in Port Vauban. A new building is planned for 2020. The CCI already provides courses in the boating sector and it will also work with the locally based crew training organisation Bluewater.
  • These two projects will also be shared with the Gallice 21 plan
  • The shipyard area will be reconfigured by 2021 so that it will be able to handle yachts up to 350 tonnes. Currently Monaco Marine in Antibes is able to cater for yachts of 200 tonnes or up to 40m (131ft).
  • Plans to more closely integrate the city with the port

A key objective of the Vauban 21 plan is to strengthen the position of Antibes as being Europe’s largest yachting centre by tonnage terms to make it the European yachting capital.

In terms of tonnage, the recent announcement by OneOcean Port Vell that it has sold a 160m (525ft) berth suggests that Dilbar, the world’s largest superyacht by volume, is possibly moving its base from Antibes to Barcelona.

IBI understands that the owner of Dilbar participated in one of the unsuccessful bids for the Antibes port management contract. OneOcean was also one of the bidders not chosen for the contract.