Sector of Excellence: Blue Economy

The naval and maritime economy in the Sud region: working together for a sustainable Mediterranean!

Due to its expansive coastline and its central position in relation to France, Europe, and the world, the region has long been a leading maritime territory. This seafaring history means there is exceptional maritime and marine expertise and a solid economic foundation for the naval industry. These factors place the country and the region at the forefront of the global maritime sector. Today, the Blue Economy aims to:

  • support marine-related economic activities that are sustainable and meet market needs to benefit the men and women of our territories.
  • develop cutting-edge technologies and new applications so that the regional maritime sector maintains its competitive edge.
  • make our region a benchmark for sustainable and harmonious economic development to strengthen our position on the international markets.


The Blue Economy is one of eight regional sectors of excellence that are part of the Operations of Interest to the Region (O.I.R.) strategic sector program. The Blue Economy program is structured around four main areas of development:

  • repair, refit, construction, deconstruction: strengthening regional leadership on the international market by continuing to outperform global growth.
  • underwater activities: become one of the world’s top two locations for the development of underwater technologies.
  • smart port: using the cutting-edge technology being implemented at the Port of Marseille Fos as a roadmap to transform the entire territory into a world leader in smart ports.
  • water sports: maintain the region’s position as a national and Mediterranean leader in water sports tourism.


These missions are focused on a selection of priority markets: defense, safety, and security • yachting • water sports • underwater robotics • floating offshore wind turbines • maritime transport • port logistics

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The sector in a few key numbers

Key statistics about the region’s Blue Economy: the sector that is creating a sustainable Mediterranean!

French port:

naval base
for the French military: Toulon

66 000
boat slips

135 ports
for fishing and pleasure boats

French market:
€83 billion

124 000
jobs in the regional sector,
nearly 30% of the French industry and 6% of regional employment

Global market:
$1.5 trillion

Innovations in the field of the economy of the sea

The competitiveness clusters and hubs operating in the Sud region’s Blue Economy feature world-renowned expertise and are key motors for growth and innovation. Thanks to their networks in the region, across France, and around the world, they will be able to assist you with your project and ensure it meets all its goals.

The objective of the Pôle Mer Méditerranée competitiveness cluster is to sustainably develop the maritime and coastal economy in the Mediterranean basin and around the world by promoting innovative projects and supporting the development of companies. In the Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, the cluster brings together scientific and economic stakeholders that are concerned with maritime and coastal development as well as questions of security and sustainability.

Pôle Mer Méditerranée

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Riviera Yachting Network is working to enhance the market offer and global appeal of the territory in terms of its expertise and savoir-faire for the refit, repair, and reception of yachts. The network aims to reinforce the Sud region’s position as a world leader in these activities while embracing a shared commitment: to offer the world’s best expertise and service to the global yachting community.

Riviera Yachting

The Capenergies competitiveness cluster is focused on developing and deploying energy systems that can provide concrete alternatives to fossil fuels. Capenergies works in a range of energy domains: energy demand management, solar, wind, hydraulic, marine & geothermal energies, biomass & bioenergies, hydrogen & energy storage, coupling & integration of energy systems, nuclear fission, and nuclear fusion.



The Union des Ports de Plaisance (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur & Monaco) is the organization that represents the region’s marina managers in their dealings with the French national government, local authorities, and various public institutions. The union supports managers of ports, harbors, and dry stack facilities that serve pleasure boats, regardless of the administrative status of the manager, the port, or the dry stack facility.

Union des Ports de Plaisance Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur et Monaco

The Institut Français de la Mer (French Institute of the Sea) is an association that works to promote marine issues and make people appreciate the sea while also pursuing the broader mission of raising awareness about the fundamental role of the oceans in all aspects of human life and the planet’s cycles. It also promotes the sustainable development of France’s maritime activities.

Institut Français de la Mer (


The UIMM Alpes-Méditerranée is an employers’ organization that fosters an environment favorable to the competitiveness of the metalworking industries by mobilizing the network and deploying its services and resources. The UIMM constitutes a network of companies of all sizes and from all sectors, and this professional diversity gives it its strength.

UIMM Alpes-Méditerranée

The Fédération des Industries Nautiques (Nautical Industries Federation) aims to represent, promote, and protect the French nautical industry in France and internationally. The federation represents more than 5000 companies, and its members, which are grouped into 11 different specialties in the nautical sector, account for more than 80% of the profession’s turnover.

Fédération des Industries Nautiques


GICAN (the French Marine Industry Group) is a professional union that unites more than 200 industrial companies and organizations in the French maritime sector. It brings together shipyards, systems manufacturers, equipment suppliers, subcontractors, engineering companies, naval architects, and other civil shipbuilding companies.


The Cluster Logistique is involved in regional, national, and European collaborative actions and projects regarding such issues as urban logistics, land use planning, territorial attractiveness, geo-economic changes, CSR, and ICT.

paca logistique

TVT (Toulon Var Technologies) is a major player when it comes to fostering innovation and providing support for ambitious companies in the Var region. Ready to help companies, start-ups, and innovative entrepreneurs, TVT supports innovation in all its dimensions: products, services, new technologies, applications, and organizational approaches.

TVT Innovation

The diverse range of stakeholders involved in the Blue Economy strategic sector are contributing to the emergence of large-scale projects across the region. Examples of some of the emblematic projects in the Blue Economy sector:


The System Factory cluster supports industrial activities that create synergies with the Blue Economy. It focuses on operational centers, data centers, design and integration tools, test platforms with real maritime or aerial environments, and services for the development of complex systems. The project is composed of a platform with software and system expertise and is led by TVT Innovation in cooperation with the Pôle Mer Méditerranée cluster and the SAFE cluster.

System Factory

PIICTO : is a Mediterranean industrial platform dedicated to excellence and innovation for the energy transition, the circular economy, and green industry. The platform has a particular focus on leveraging energy synergies and the mutualization of services and materials in an industrial-port context.


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Provence Grand Large is a pilot project to install three floating offshore wind turbines to produce green energy off the coast of Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône (deeper water and stronger, more stable winds). This project aims to establish the technical and economic feasibility of the wind energy project by means of a proof of concept on an industrial scale.

Provence Grand Large

Port Vauban is Europe’s leading environmentally friendly marina and features an elite level of services. The port is focused on high value-added services and is equipped with the latest and most innovative technologies. The Vauban project aims for optimal safety while integrating the notions of eco-responsibility, all within an exceptional natural setting.

Marina Port Vauban Antibes

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LaCiotatShipyards logo

La Ciotat Shipyards is a site that is specialized in the reception of large vessels (average size: 57m). It is the leading yachting shipyard by the length of its quays (1600m, ahead of Barcelona) and its dry dock capacity of 65 000m² (the largest superyacht platform in the world). It also has the largest dry dock dedicated to yachting: 200m/60m. In total, there are 33 companies on the site representing 700 permanent jobs and more than €120 million in cumulative turnover.

Maritime site of excellence in the Mediterranean – La Ciotat Shipyards

The Mega Yacht Platform is an ambitious new project dedicated to the maintenance of yachts over 90 meters in length. It will have a total of 50 000m² of dedicated space at the Port of Marseille Fos and represents an investment of €71 million. The first yacht will be welcomed in 2022. This project is supported by the Port of Marseille Fos and Monaco Marine.

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The iconic sites

In addition to the wealth of competitiveness clusters, hubs, and large-scale projects in the Sud region, other important stakeholders foster development and innovation in the Blue Economy:

The Mediterranean Institute of Risk, Environment, and Sustainable Development (IMREDD) works with the business community to build research partnerships, encourage technology transfers, create initial and continuous training programs, and develop expertise and innovation in companies to boost economic development and job creation across the territory.



Part of the Technopôle de la Mer hub in the heart of the Toulon metro area, the System Factory is a network of small and medium-sized businesses that have joined forces with Naval Group to develop and promote innovation.

System Factory

The Port of Marseille Fos is France’s leading port and a natural gateway to Europe. It is strategically positioned as the southern alternative to the ports of northern Europe for access to French and European markets. The Port of Marseille-Fos extends over 70 km of coastline and more than 10 400 hectares of land, and it groups together 24 different maritime activities, including containers, logistics platforms, cars, conventional shipping, solid and liquid bulk shipping, hydrocarbons, ferries, cruiseships, and ship repair.

Marseille Port

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The Ports of Toulon, which are managed by the Var Chamber of Commerce and Industry, represent the #1 French port serving Corsica, the #1 European military port, and the #1 naval defense base on the Mediterranean. The ports have a pan-Mediterranean reach and have been a leader in two of their target markets for several years:

  • the transport of passengers with their vehicles to island destinations (Corsica, Sardinia, and the Balearic Islands with Corsica Ferries).
  • Ro-Ro freight to Western Europe.

Ports de Toulon

A network of essential stakeholders in the Sud region

This map shows a selection of the organizations, projects, platforms, business parks, and institutions that are essential for the Blue Economy sector in the Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.

carte eco mer

Major companies in the Blue Economy

A complete research and innovation ecosystem dedicated to the marine sector

The region’s Blue Economy features a diverse array of companies, from start-ups to SMEs to global leaders. You can find potential partners among these industrial and maritime leaders: Bourbon, CMA CGM, CX Comex, Cybernetix, DGA, ECA Group, EDF, Envisan, ENGIE, Ifremer, Monaco Marine, Netech, Naval Group, Siemens Gamesa, Subsea Tech, Technip, Thales Alenia Space, NepTech…

Among the many top SMEs and start-ups from the territory, you will find the Bardot Group, CNIM, Comex, Daher, Eolfi, Ideol, LyondellBasell, Mgi, Traxens…

The Blue Economy, in their words!


“By inaugurating new facilities here, we are launching a new phase of development for our business and for the city of Marseille. Thanks to our determination and the vision of the port and local authorities, we have revived the ship repair sector in Marseille.”

Ferdinando Garré, President of San Giorgio del Porto, Genoa-Italy – 2017

“La Ciotat is the leading shipyard in the Mediterranean for the repair and refitting of superyachts and mega yachts.”

Michel Ducros, President, Monaco Marine, 2018, La Ciotat


The major recurring events related to the Blue Economy in the Sud region

The Sud region either hosts or supports a wide range of trade shows and events to support and develop the Blue Economy. A few examples of the events:

Building on the success and scope of the first edition, the Méditerranée du Futur conference on the future of the Mediterranean basin is concrete proof of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region’s ambition to be the French driver for Euro-Mediterranean cooperation.
Date: TBA (generally at the end of the year)
Location: Marseille

Méditerranée du Futur

Visuel Mediterrannee du Futur acte IV

FOWT: The Floating Offshore Wind Turbines (FOWT) trade show is the world’s largest event dedicated to offshore wind energy. The objective of FOWT is to advance the industry and accelerate its integration into the renewable energy mix. The event generates constructive discussions and partnerships between the different stakeholders in this emerging industry.
Dates: 16, 17 & 18 November 2021
Location: Saint-Malo, Brittany



Le Cannes Yatching Festival: 1As the first trade show of the season, the Cannes Yachting Festival is Europe’s leading in-water boating event. The major players in the yachting and pleasure boating industry come to Cannes to launch the commercial season by showcasing their new models. In total, there are more than 600 boats ranging from 5 to 55 meters on display, both in the water and on land, including the world premiere of 120 boats.
Date: September
Place: Cannes

Cannes Yatching Festival

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Euromaritime is the Euro-Mediterranean trade fair for blue growth.
Date: 1 to 3 February 2022
Location: Marseille


logo Euromaritime

Blue Med Days is an event with Euro-Mediterranean conferences on sustainable maritime and coastal development. The objective is to explore solutions for the future.
Date: 7 & 8 July 2021
Location: La Seyne-sur-Mer

Blue Med Days

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Selection of documentation about the sector

A wide variety of support documents are available to provide information and help promote this sector. We propose a selection of the most informative documents so you can discover the richness of the Blue Economy ecosystem:

Sector Brochure

A general summary of the sector that is appropriate for any type of event. Four pages, in French and in English.


An economic overview of the Blue Economy strategic sector (key figures, business networks, major contractors and companies, main assets of the territory …). Document of more than 60 pages, in French


Comparison of the regional sector with other French or international regions of comparable size and/or comparable sector of activity. Document of nearly 50 pages, in French


Presentation of the Blue Economy strategic sector. Document of nearly 35 pages, in French and English.

Visit Program

Listing of the major projects, platforms, clusters, and iconic sites connected to this sector. This document illustrates some of the most important places in this sector and provides you with a comprehensive overview that will give you a clearer idea of some of the region’s assets. Document of nearly 30 pages, in French and English.

Innovation Podcast

Subject: Blue Economy


  • Patrick BARAONA, Pôle Mer Méditerranée, till 2020
  • Nicolas GAMBINI, Notilo Plus
  • Vincent ALCANIZ, Pytheas Technology
  • Matthieu SOMEKH, ZeBox