Container traffic at Marseilles, France’s largest port, fell 6 percent year-over-year in the first nine months of 2011, largely because of nationwide port strikes at the beginning of the year.
The port handled 704,799 20-foot equivalents units, down from 750,460 TEUs in the first three quarters of 2010. The year-over-year decline slowed in September to 1.5 percent, with traffic slipping to 79,421 TEUs from 80,634 TEUs.
Overall port traffic was up 1 percent to 66.4 million metric tons, driven by a 6 percent growth in oil and gas traffic to 44.8 million tons.
Breakbulk cargo shrunk 11 percent in the first three quarters to 1.48 million tons, mainly because of an 18.1 percent plunge in steel shipments. The decline accelerated in September to 15.5 percent, with shipments down to 123,000 tons from 145,000 tons in September 2010.
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