Marseille Fos posts first-half growth in all cargo sectors
First-half throughput at leading French port Marseille Fos rose in all main cargo categories to total 40.5 million tonnes – a 6% increase on the first six months last year.
Container traffic was up 8% in unit terms to 627, 383 teu after strong performances in both harbour areas. The deepsea Fos terminals added 7% for 506, 826 teu while the largely intra-Mediterranean flows through Marseille grew 9% to 120, 557 teu. Box tonnage of 6MT saw general cargo rise 2% to almost 9.1MT, including 1.88 MT (+2%) from ro-ro and 1.2MT (-14%) from conventional trades.
A continuing fall in crude oil prices led liquid bulks to a 7% improvement on 24.12MT. Crude oil and petroleum products accounted for 22.36MT (+7%), with crude imports up 19% at 13.5MT to meet refinery demand – although refined products were 11% down on 5.58MT after imports fell due to local output. LPG was 17% better with 1.17MT and LNG reduced a 24% Q1 dip by 19 points for 1.99MT. Meanwhile MTBE imports recovered to lift liquid chemicals and agro-products by 7% to 1.76MT.
Dry bulks came back from a slow start to the year to register an 8% six-month increase on 7.3MT. Imports of steel industry raw materials rose 4% to 5MT, driven by production forecasts at the ArcelorMittal plant. Agro-bulks slipped 12% to 0.47MT after a poor cereals season but other bulks soared 31% to 1.8MT. This was due to new cast iron and lime traffic at the Caronte terminal and a new timber trade at the Carfos facility, where two new cranes arrived in June to normalise operations after some nine months of structural problems with existing equipment.
Passenger throughput was down 3% on 948, 000 after ferry numbers dropped 9% to 352, 000 – North Africa carryings improved 5% but Corsica figures fell by 13%. Cruise numbers ahead of the peak July-October season rose 1% to 597, 000 passengers, with the home port total of 216, 000 passengers helped by the arrival of the world’s largest cruiseship, Allure of the Seas, in May.
Following a call in February for expressions of interest, the Marseille Fos port authority has chosen the City of Marseille to open a visitor attraction on the second storey of the former J1 warehouse, which houses the international ferry terminal on the lower floors. The initial concession, due to open next summer, is for two years pending a port-urban development offering public amenities on and around the site. Discussions on this are due to start in early 2016. Meanwhile plans are being finalised for the interim scheme, which will promote the city’s cultural and maritime heritage.
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