Containers, Cruises Boost Marseilles Fos
Container throughput at leading French port Marseilles Fos reached 876,711 teu for the period January to September, an increase of 6% on the first nine months last year.
The performance - driven by a 9% rise at the Fos 2XL deep sea terminals - was two points better than the trend at other French ports. The port authority said this underlined continuing confidence from shippers in the port’s strategic location as a southern gateway to European markets.
Container tonnage contributed 8.5 million tonnes to the general cargo total of 13.3MT, with the balance coming from 2.8MT of ro-ro traffic – down 7% - and just over 2MT in conventional trades (+2%).
Overall cargo throughput improved from a 6% drop to the end of June to finish the nine months 3% down on 58.8MT. The decrease of 1.9MT compared with last year was attributable to the continuing market changes in oil trades, which left liquid bulks 6% worse at 35.5MT.
The liquid bulks total included 32.6MT in oil and oil products. This was 7% down for the period but bettered the 13% first-half decline thanks to refined products rising 20% to 9.4MT. Crude imports for national refineries fell 13% to 16.7MT, crude for pipeline delivery to southern Europe was down 7% on 1.9MT, LNG slid 28% to 3.2MT and LPG lost 2% with 1.4MT. Elsewhere in the sector, liquid chemicals and agro-products rose 8% to 2.8MT.
Dry bulks edged up 1% to almost 10MT. Raw materials for the steel industry were stable on 7.1MT after slipping in September, but this was compensated the same month by increases of 35-54% in coal, lime and cereals volumes.
Passenger throughput fell 10% to 1.922 million despite cruise traffic continuing to soar. September alone saw 64 cruise calls – up from 51 calls in September 2013 – which boosted cruise numbers by 7% to 951,000 for the nine months. Ferry carryings fell 22% to 971,000, with 1.4% growth on North Africa services but a 32% drop in Corsica volumes following a summer dispute at operator SNCM.
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