France: The world economic crisis hit cargo activity at the port of Marseilles Fos in January, with total throughput of 6.54 million tonnes marking a 24 percent drop on the corresponding month in 2007.
‘While passenger numbers rose on the back of extended cruise business, all main cargo sectors were affected by the downturn. General cargo fell 28 percent to 0.99 million tonnes; this included container traffic of 0.56 million tonnes, also down 28 percent, amounting to 59,118TEU, a decrease of 25 percent. Throughput at Fos, the port which handles Asian and US trades, dropped 23 percent to 44,085TEU. Meanwhile the Marseilles harbour area saw a slump in previously resistant Mediterranean trades, with box volumes falling 31 percent to 15,033TEU. Likewise ro-ro was down 10 percent to 0.3 million tonnes and conventional traffic 53 percent worse on 0.12 million tonnes. Dry bulks plunged 47 percent to 0.67 million tonnes due to a 77 percent fall in imports of raw materials for the steel industry. Liquid bulks slipped eight percent to 0.22 million, although bio-fuels continued to flourish with a significant increase of 150 percent.