Shipyard MB92 La Ciotat inaugurates 4,300t shiplift


Superyacht refit shipyard MB92 La Ciotat has inaugurated its new 4,300t Atlas shiplift at its facility in the south of France.

The new platform, representing a total investment of €47.5m, is expected to boost business for the shipyard with knock-on benefits for local employment, either directly or indirectly with local subcontractors. The new lift has already accommodated eight superyachts since its commissioning at the end of September.

Speaking during the inauguration, Jean-Marc Bolinger, CEO of MB92 Group, described the event as historic for the shipyard and the local area. “It’s the beginning of a new era and we are excited to be a part of the continuing development of the site so that it can secure its position as the world’s leading centre for superyacht refit,” said Bolinger.

MB92’s business at La Ciotat is estimated to account for more than 900 full-time employees by 2024, with 737 direct and indirect employees for the shipyard and 168 employees for local commerce. That will represent a 50% increase compared with 2021.

The shiplift platform was christened by Martine Vassal, president of Métropole Aix-Marseille-Provence and included representatives from the shipyard and local institutions.

Ben Mennem, CEO of MB92 La Ciotat said the business is rooted in the local community with deep ties to the sea and a strong maritime heritage. “The shipyard plays a central role in developing career opportunities for young talent and works alongside educational establishments to strengthen this link with our traditions and raise the technicity and professionalism of the local workforce,” said Mennem.

The shiplift was built in partnership with French construction company Matière and the US heavy load handling specialist Bardex Corporation. The Bardex lifting system, which includes 20 chain jacks, features a hydraulic ram and chain assembly. The lift will be able to achieve water to yard transfer times in less than 180 minutes and handle up to six yachts simultaneously.

Construction of the lift was completed after nine months of engineering work on site. The lifting platform alone measures 100m in length (equivalent to a football pitch) and is 20m wide.

Meanwhile, Martine Vassal pictured (centre) joins other guests attending the event in the shiplift control room.