Strong Start for Marseilles-Fos

Thursday, February 28, 2008
January cargo throughput at Marseilles-Fos reached 8.52 million tons for a 6 percent rise on January 2007, one of last year’s busiest months at the leading French port. The increase was driven by a return to growth in the oil and dry bulk sectors following a drop over the previous 12 months.

Oil volumes rose 7% to 5.7MT – one of the best performances for two years – after crude imports improved 13% to 3.9MT. Local refineries took 2.9MT (+11%) while the balance marked a 17% increase in pipeline deliveries to Germany and Switzerland, with German demand up by 30%.

Compared with last January, refined oil products were down 9% at 1MT and LNG traffic fell 12% to 0.36MT, but these totals still beat the monthly average for 2007. Meanwhile LPG throughput soared 28% to 0.3MT. Dry bulk traffic benefited from the re-opening of a local steelworks after a lengthy renovation shutdown, gaining 16% to 1.24MT. General cargo totaled 1.34MT, down two points on the exceptional start to last year. Within this sector, container throughput was down 4% in both tonnage and unit terms at 0.77MT and 77,000 teu, although imports of almost 0.3MT on east-west trades via Fos were the highest since last September. Other general cargo included 0.31MT in ro-ro trades (-5%) and 0.26MT in conventional traffic, a 9% rise prompted by imports of steel products. Passenger throughput was 22% down on 61,000. Apart from 200 passengers on the port’s first-ever January cruise call, the total was shared between Corsica and North Africa ferry carryings, which fell by 5% and 34% respectively, with services to Algeria notably affected by low-cost airline competition.

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