French President Emmanuel Macron has appointed Gérard Mestralet, a former CEO of Engie and ex-chairman of Suez, as the first emissary for the logistics integration corridor project between Europe and Asia. Known as the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (Imec), this project aims to stimulate commercial relations between India, the Middle East and Europe by creating an alternative to the new “Chinese Silk Roads”. Several countries and the European Union have already signed an agreement in principle, and the logistics corridor is expected to offer economic growth and a low-carbon transition.
The Imec project will take the form of a rail link and will accelerate trade between India and Europe by 40%. It includes the construction of an electrical cable, pure hydrogen and high-speed data transmission cable. French President Macron hopes to position Marseille as a European “bridgehead” for the project, highlighting the expertise of French companies in transport and energy.
As Mestrallet’s first mission, he will identify ports, railways, and energy infrastructures in order to assess existing flows and predict future ones. The port of Marseille can play a significant role in this project, especially with regards to receiving hydrogen. The mission also includes positioning France as the main entry and exit point in Europe for the future corridor, with a focus on diversifying supply sources while strengthening economic, energy, and health security. French companies are very interested in this project, which Mestrallet will support them in positioning themselves in tenders for it.