Marseilles Fos Reports Mixed First Half

By Eric Haun
Monday, July 28, 2014
Photo: Marseilles Fos

First-half container traffic at leading French port Marseilles Fos totalled 583,287 teu – up 7% on the first six months last year - marked by a 10% increase at the deepsea Fos terminals. Dry bulk and cruise passenger volumes also rose significantly, the port announced today, but total cargo throughput fell 6% to 38.23 million metric tons as oil trades continued to decline in line with market trends.

The container performance drove a 2% rise in general cargo to 8.88MT. Conventional traffic contributed 1.41MT with a 3% improvement led by incoming project cargo, but ro-ro fell 6% to 1.84MT due to industrial disputes at ferry operator SNCM in January and June.

Dry bulks gained 8% for 6.75MT, including 4.83MT (+12%) relating to ore imports for the steel industry. Meanwhile wheat exports rose by 139% to leave agro-bulks 11% better on 0.54MT. A new trade in fertilisers launched in June will boost volumes in this sector by 150,000T per year.

The oil-led liquid bulks sector was 11% down on 22.61MT after throughput of crude oil and petroleum products fell 13% to 20.85MT – some 3MT less than the first half last year. The drop was pegged by a 24% rise in refined products to 6.45MT, which represented 31% of oil volumes in a trend that looks set to continue in the coming months. Otherwise crude imports for national refineries fell 23% to 10.21MT, crude for South European Pipeline delivery was 16% down on 1.11MT, LNG slumped 30% to 2.1MT and LPG was 6% worse at 0.98MT. Liquid chemicals and agro-products provided the sector’s other bright spot with a 7% rise to 1.75MT based on soda, benzene and ethylene exports.

Passenger throughput slipped 3% to 956,000 despite cruise numbers climbing 18% to 587,000. Ferry carryings fell 24% to 369,000 – a loss of 29,000 passengers compared to the same period last year – with the SNCM dispute in June alone resulting in a 34% deficit.

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