Containers and crude drive Q1 increase at Marseille Fos
A record month for containers and a revival in crude oil imports boosted first quarter throughput at leading French port Marseille Fos to 20.1 million tonnes – up by 1.3MT or 6.9% on January-March last year.
Box traffic rose 8% to 312, 820 teu after growth of 9% at the deepsea Fos terminals and 5% at the largely intra-Mediterranean Marseille facility. The performance was marked by a 15% increase in March, when the port handled an all-time high of almost 116, 000 teu. The container volumes drove general cargo to a three-point improvement on 4.4MT, which included 0.87MT from ro-ro (+5%) and 0.61MT in conventional trades (-11%).
The oil-led liquid bulks sector jumped 12% to 12.27MT. Crude oil and petroleum products saw a 13% increase on11.42MT, notably because crude imports soared 28% to 7.22MT as refineries took advantage of falling prices. LPG gained 21% for 0.73MT, although LNG fell 24% to 0.75MT and refined products were 5% down on 2.72MT. Elsewhere in the sector, liquid chemicals and agro-products slipped 3% to some 0.86MT due to lower imports of biofuels and MTBE.
Dry bulks totalled 3.43MT, down 4% compared with a particularly strong first quarter in 2014. The fall stemmed from a 4% drop to 2.4MT in imports of raw materials for the steel industry, but this trade recovered from a slow start to the year with a 41% month-on-month increase in March to 0.98MT.
Passenger throughput was down 4% to 308, 000 due to an unaccustomed blip in cruise numbers, which fell 11% to 178, 000. However, this reflected a market-driven change in the schedule of port calls, which now focuses on the summer season, and the deficit is set to be wiped out over the full year. Meanwhile Corsica and North Africa ferry carryings rose 8% to 130, 000, although the market remains difficult.
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