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.