Marseilles-Fos Containers Gain 17 Percent in April

Marseilles-Fos Containers Gain 17 Percent in April

Container volume at the port of Marseilles increased 17 percent in April, adding to the strong upturn that marked the first quarter of the year.

Throughput at the deep sea Fos terminal, which handles large vessels on the East-West trades, increased by 10 percent to 244,093 20-foot-equivalent container units, while volume in the Marseilles harbor, which specializes in intra-Mediterranean trades, improved 41 percent to 87,303 TEUs.

The twin ports handled more than 29 million metric tons in April bringing the increase in total tonnage in the first four months of the year to 6 percent, driven by container traffic and local steel and chemicals production.

General cargo was up 16 percent to 5.2 million metric tons. Roll-on, roll-off traffic slipped 5 percent to 1.2 million metric tons, representing 52,459 trailers (down 7 percent) – but conventional trades jumped 68 percent ahead to 750,000 metric tons in line with revived demand for steel products.

Demand for raw materials for the local steel industry fueled an 84 percent increase in dry bulk volume to 3.9 million metric tons, which included a record iron ore shipment from Brazil in April.

Liquid bulk volume for the chemical industry was up 42 percent to 1.2 million metric tons, helped by further big growth in biofuels traffic – up 39 percent to 360,000 metric tons.

Oil volume fell 6 percent to 18.9 million metric tons despite a record crude shipment from West Africa in April. Technical refinery shutdowns were a factor as crude imports fell 3 percent to 9.7 million metric tons for local refineries and by 34 percent to 2.4 million metric tons for pipeline deliveries to Switzerland and Germany.

The volume of refined petroleum products was stable at 4.2 million metric tons. LPG volume increased 2 percent to 800,000 metric tons and LNG was up 14 percent to 1.7 million metric tons, buttressed by the entry of the Fos-Cavaou methane terminal into commercial service on April 1 after months of trial operations.

-- Contact Peter T. Leach at pleach@joc.com.