The Port Center of tomorrow – Jean-Baptiste Gastinne
Vice-president of CODAH and President of the Le Havre Port Center association Jean-Baptiste Gastinne gives us an insight on the future of this facility dedicated to the understanding and the dissemination of port culture.
What is the role of Le Havre Port Center today ?
It is important to remind that the Port Center – which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year – is supported by a consortium of partners including CODAH, HAROPA – Port of Le Havre, the City of Le Havre, UMEP, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Estuary. It was created to provide locals with an opportunity to discover – or rediscover – the port of Le Havre and better understand the economic, social, and environmental issues it faces. It is essential to show how an industrial and port area intertwines with its urban and natural environment, and it is also crucial to highlight and explain how the economic and logistic system works, and show the diversity of associated professions. There is a genuine risk of distance and misunderstanding between the inhabitants and the port. The Port Center is here to address this issue.
How does the Port Center address this issue ?
The job is almost done ! Approximately 10,000 people visit the Port Center each year – peaking at 25,000 visitors in 2017 on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the City of Le Havre – and we expect to soon reach 20,000 visitors per year. Today, school groups account for most of the visits, but I believe in our ability to contribute to a better understanding and acceptability of the major territorial transformation projects the area needs to respond to current and future challenges. This is something we have to work on.
The Smart Port City project you support includes the « modernisation » of the Port Center. Can you tell us more about it ?
The Smart Port City project is due to be finalised next spring, with a € 45 million subsidy at stake to promote the area as a port city. The next step is part of this framework. Our partners will contribute to the development of the Port Center of tomorrow, by making it more attractive – and perhaps larger too – through the use of cutting-edge tools to reinforce its leisure aspect. There is still room for improvement on this.