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New records for Marseilles Fos container and cruise volumes

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Port of Marseilles

Port of Marseilles

The container and cruise sectors set new records at leading French port Marseille Fos in 2014 in a year when total cargo throughput slipped to 78.45 million tonnes – down 2% on 2013 – due to an ongoing decline in oil volumes stemming from the restructuring of Europe’s refinery industry.

Box traffic rose 7% to 1, 174, 000 teu, beating the previous record of 1, 097, 740 teu in 2013.  Some 90% of the trade went through the two deepsea Fos 2XL terminals, where volumes rose 10% in contrast to a 5% fall in the largely shortsea throughput handled in Marseille.

Container tonnage was up 5% to 11.27MT, leading general cargo to a 3% increase on 17.74MT – the port’s biggest area of growth last year.  Steel products saw conventional trades improve 6% to 2.77MT, but ro-ro cargo was down 5% on 3.7MT following industrial disputes at financially-troubled ferry operator SNCM.

Dry bulks increased 2% for 13.45MT, driven by a 6% rise to 9.7MT in imports of steel industry raw materials.  Agro-bulks were stable on 0.95MT, but other bulks fell 8% to 2.79MT.  Liquid bulks gained 8% on 3.7MT, dominated by a 7% rise in petrochemicals to 3.63MT.

Oil and gas volumes fell 5% to 43.56MT in a trend that has seen volumes down by more than 15MT since 2011.   Crude imports for domestic refineries were 8% lower on 22.47MT and crude for pipeline supply to Germany and Switzerland dipped 4% to 2.6MT.  Refined products contributed 28% of the sector’s volumes after rising 8% to 12.04MT.  LPG was down 6% on 2MT, while LNG slumped 22% to4.43MT against strong price competition from Russia – although shipments began to recover later in the year as the differential narrowed.

Passenger throughput was marked by a 12% surge in cruise numbers to 1.3 million – up by 136, 300 on the previous record set in 2013 – from a total of 493 calls.  However, overall passenger volumes fell 6% to 2.46 million after Corsica and North Africa ferry carryings finished 20% down on 1.16 million.  The Corsica total of 680, 000 passengers represented a 30% drop.

New agency to promote modal shift

The Medlink Ports partnership of Marseille Fos, Sete and nine Rhone-Saone river ports have strengthened their cooperation with inland waterways authority Voies Navigables de France and the Compagnie Nationale du Rhone by forming the Medlink Ports Development Agency to further promote modal shift from saturated road links.

The new association aims to widen the partnership to shippers, hauliers, suppliers and professional bodies through four key objectives – enhancing the river logistics chain by sharing best port practices; establishing Medlink Ports as an internationally recognised brand offering multimodal solutions; winning new traffic by providing a free advisory service to shippers; and working closely with State and regional authorities to develop a public policy favouring waterways and intermodal options.

Last year Medlink Ports traffic totalled 8.5 million tonnes, including container volumes of 91, 500 teu.                 

Press enquiries: Paul Ellis, Direct Public Relations, UK +44 (0)1923 260960

Port images: see Presse/Phototheque at www.marseille-port.fr (French language version)

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