Marseilles (AFP)

40 meters high, they stand on the sea walls of the port of Marseille, facing the Mediterranean: five cranes, witnesses of the city's industrial and maritime past, have just been renovated and can now proudly wear their nickname "Elegant".

Commissioned in 1961 to support the development of the activity of the first port in France, the cranes that had not been used for years and whose steel structures had been damaged by the spray underwent a "facelift" for three years.

These impressive steel structures resembling giraffes with their arrows rising in the azure sky like long necks, have been covered with a gray paint while the command cabins have been enhanced in blue.

An investment of more than one million euros, financed by the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region (400,000 euros) and the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille (600,000 euros), were necessary to renovate these iconic industrial tools. which mark motorists as soon as they enter the city via the A55 motorway.

Symbols of Marseille's industrial heritage, the five cranes weighing 72 to 110 tonnes each had already survived the reinforcement in 2001. These lifting devices were capable of lifting a load of six tonnes up to a reach of 22 meters and had been designed on measurement for the Phocaean port.

The leading French port in terms of tonnage of goods (80 million tonnes), Marseille-Fos usually accommodates nearly 10,000 ships per year over an area extending over more than 10,000 hectares.

In 2020, the turnover of the Mediterranean port fell for the first time since 2013 (-14% to 145 million euros) due in particular to the Covid-19 epidemic.

© 2021 AFP