Port news from Marseille Fos
Marseille Fos repeats Q1 cargo result
Leading French port Marseille Fos handled 20.17 million tonnes of cargo from January to March in a near identical repeat of last year’s first-quarter result.
General cargo rose 1% to 4.49MT led by container growth at Fos, which gained 3% for 263, 038 teu. However, total box volumes slipped 3% to 304, 664 teu – and by 1% to 2.93MT in tonnage terms – after a difficult start to the year at Marseille, where container traffic fell 27% to 41, 626 teu. Added to conventional trades dropping 8% on 0.56MT, general cargo activity at Marseille ended 3% down despite ro-ro traffic rising 13% to 1MT. Ro-ro throughput included 45, 688 trailers – up by 12% – and 51, 492 import/export vehicles, a 35% increase.
Marseille welcomed two developments in March. CMA CGM launched a new intra-Mediterranean container service, while Korean vessel Morning Caroline from Eukor Car Carriers made the first call at the Med Europe terminal on a monthly rotation linking the US, the Middle East and Singapore.
Liquid bulks were stable on 12.36MT, driven by oil and gas throughput of 11.51MT. Crude imports rose 3% to 7.45MT – with refineries continuing to take advantage of low barrel prices – and included 144, 000T delivered in March from Kharg Island after the lifting of economic sanctions against Iran. Refined products fell 21% to 2.19MT, reflecting a drop in both imports and exports. In contrast, LNG soared 57% to 1.18MT with strong import/export recoveries due to lower demand in Asia coupled with rising demand in Europe. LPG exports also rose but overall throughput was 6% down on 0.68MT. Liquid chemicals and agro-products gained 2% for 0.86MT, helped by strong exports of MTBE, benzene and vinyl chloride and a 41% rise in imports of castor and sunflower oils.
Dry bulks dipped 3% to 3.3MT, mainly because a slump in steel industry activity saw imports of raw materials down by 8% on 2.2MT. Despite a rise in cereals exports, agro-bulks felt the loss of sugar imports after last year’s closure of a sugar refinery and fell 4% to 0.18MT. Other bulks improved 8% for 0.96MT, notably due to higher imports of peat and fertiliser.
Passenger throughput started the year at half-pace, down 13% on a total of 269, 000. Cruise numbers fell 16% to 150, 000 – with 41 calls as against 48 in Q1 last year – including 55, 000 home port passengers. Ferry carryings on the North Africa and more seasonal Corsica services fell 8% to 119, 000.