Claude Valion, Exclusive Interview for Rosemont Art Advisory

Monaco Freeport: a strong asset for the Principality of Monaco
A freeport or free trade area is a highly specialized and secure logistic hub, under the control of the customs services, where high-value goods imported from third countries are stored, even in the long term, under a suspension of duty regime customs and VAT pending their final destination. It is intended primarily for professionals in sectors such as  art and fine jewellery, museums, art galleries or auction houses.
In recent years, several countries have successfully developed the concept of free port that existed mainly in Switzerland, for example Singapore, Hong Kong and Luxembourg.
In the exceptional context of artistic and cultural dynamics offered by the Principality, security and expertise of the financial center of Monaco, the princely government has created in the Principality a place of storage of very high quality.
The management of this warehouse has been entrusted to the Operations and Management Company of Warehouses of Monaco (S.E.G.E.M.)

Rosemont Art Advisory met Claude Valion, delegate chairman of S.E.G.E.M. for our monthly newsletter.

Dear Mr. Valion,
Thank you for telling us what year the Monaco Freeport was founded and what motivation was behind the founding idea?
The Company of Operation and Management of Warehouses of Monaco (S.E.G.E.M.), S.A.M. 100% financed by the State, was created in 2012 at the initiative of the princely government with 2 objectives:
  • Help promote the Principality as an artistic destination. This mission is fulfilled. Our storage tool is powerful to help large art fairs and exhibitions, art exhibitions or fine jewellery as well as auction sales that have developed in recent years in Monaco.
  • Generate economic activity. It's the case. Twenty professions now constitute, with us, an economic cluster: packaging, carriers, freight forwarders, experts, restaurants, galleries, art dealers, curators, insurance companies, banks ... The goal is not to serve as a storage place for passive collectors.

The structure is intended for what typology of customers and products? What is the range of services offered?
We welcome works of art, collectibles and antiques, jewellery and fine jewellery, as well as individual gems and sealed diamonds.
Monaco Freeport has become a strategic pillar of the art logistics sector shaped by the highest standards and standards of quality and safety.
Our premises are highly secure, consisting of boxes of different sizes (20 to 90 m2), all equipped with advanced technologies in terms of comfort and security and directly connected to the Public Security of Monaco.
Monaco Freeport is based on three pillars:
  • its rigor: a systematic control and the identification of each commodity and its owner is carried out by the customs during the placement in warehouse.
  • Its confidentiality: during the procedures for the transport of the works, the documents mention only the name of the operator who is obligatorily an authorized customs transporter in Monaco.
  • Its possibilities of temporary exits of the goods: for exhibitions, auctions, restoration and expertise.

During your management the Freeport of Monaco is very successful. Are there possibilities of extension?
Monaco Freeport is full since 2014 which has led us to make many extensions to meet the demands of Monaco's clientele.
We are working with the princely government to propose, from 2022, a storage structure of excellence in Monaco.

How do you see the future dialogue and the opening of Monaco's Freeport to a future artistic cluster? Can you imagine in the Freeport of Monaco a showroom exclusively designed by an artist from Monaco / International, an impressive work made on one of the walls of the Freeport?
I would like to but space is scarce in Monaco is the area of ​​our premises is fully dedicated to storage space!
Moreover discretion is essential in terms of security ...

How do you see the future of the art market in Monaco? What is your favorite museum and what exhibit have you seen recently?
Since 2012, the S.E.G.E.M. participated in the spectacular artistic development in the Principality.
Monaco Freeport is a good tool for this and will continue to help the resumption of prestigious auctions in Monaco.
The exhibits offered by the NMNM are in every respect remarkable and those at the  Grimaldi Forum, like the Cultural Affairs Department, organizes in Monaco artistic events of a very high standard.
I also have a coup de coeur  for the Francis Bacon Foundation in Monaco, which devotes its study and research activities to one of the most enigmatic figurative artist of the 20th century, Francis Bacon, who lived in Monaco.
Thank you.