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Port news from Marseilles Fos

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A view of the Port of Marseilles

A view of the Port of Marseilles

Container and cruise sectors cheer Marseilles Fos after Q1 oil dip    

Despite growth in deepsea containers and other key trades, total cargo throughput at leading French port Marseilles Fos fell 9% to 20 million tonnes to the end of March – a 2MT drop on the first quarter last year reflecting lower oil volumes.  Meanwhile passenger traffic rose by 26% thanks to a 152% increase from the cruise sector.     

General cargo slipped 1% to 4.2MT, which included 2.6MT in container tonnage.  In unit terms, box traffic rose 2% to 265, 516 teu on the back of 4% growth at the Fos deepsea terminals.  Ro-ro throughput was down 7% on 0.93MT due to a drop in exports to Corsica.  Conventional cargo fell a point to 0.68MT, with a 7% increase in steel product exports just failing to balance a decline in imports from Italy.

In similar vein, dry bulks lagged 1% on 3MT despite imports of raw materials for the steel industry rising 4% to almost 2MT.  The sector also saw bulk foodstuffs improve 19% to 0.28MT, but these gains were not enough to compensate for lower scrap iron exports and fertiliser imports.

Most significantly, however, a quarterly deficit of 13% left the oil-led liquid bulks sector on 12.8MT, with crude oil and petroleum products also 13% down on 12.1MT – almost 2MT less than the first three months last year.  Crude imports for national refineries rose 15% to 6.6MT but slumped 64% to 0.69MT for pipeline deliveries to Germany and Switzerland.  The envisaged 2013 refining capacity at sites supplied from Fos suggests that crude imports will contract at between 10-15% over the full year.  Meanwhile refined products and LNG each dropped 24% for the quarter to 2.9MT and 1.2MT respectively, while LPG was 13% worse on 0.66MT.  Other liquid bulks -chemicals and agro-products – also went into reverse with a 15% fall to 0.74MT.

Passenger throughput totalled 263, 700 – up by 26% and 54, 000 on last year.  This was driven by cruise numbers soaring 152% to 110, 000 due to weekly calls by mega-vessels carrying 3, 200 passengers against an average of 2, 600 in 2012.  Ferry carryings fell 8% to 153, 000 after a marked drop on international services – with Algeria 17% down on 31, 000 and Tunisia 19% worse at 22, 000 – but Corsica was just 2% lower on 98, 000.

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