The port of Marseille boosted traffic just 3 percent in 2010, lagging double digit growth rates at rival European ports as it paid the price for prolonged strikes.
France's largest port, which handled 86 million metric tons last year, also failed to break through the 1 million container barrier, as traffic increased 9 percent to 953,435 20-foot equivalent units.
The port authority said strikes had cost Marseille 107,000 TEUs of container traffic as carriers diverted cargoes to rival ports.
Marseille, which suffered between 50 and 60 days of strikes in 2010, was also closed down by the third successive four-day nationwide stoppage over the weekend.
Dry cargo shipments increased 40 percent in 2010 from the previous year to almost 12 million tons, and conventional traffic was up 21 percent to 2.1 million tons, driven by strong exports of steel.
Crude oil and petroleum traffic, which accounts for a third of Marseille's total throughput, shrunk 3 percent because of a 33 day strike at the Fos-Lavera oil terminal.
Marseille's 3 percent growth in total cargo compares with an 11 percent rise at Rotterdam to a record 430 million tons and a 13 percent gain in Antwerp to 178 million tons.
But Marseille grew more than three times faster than the 0.8 percent average growth at other French ports in 2010.
This compares with average growth of 7.7 percent for all European ports, according to the Marseille Port Authority.
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at firstname.lastname@example.org.