General cargo volumes rose by 6% to 13.05 MT, led by an 8.4% increase in container tonnage to 7.55 MT, on the back of Far East imports. Ro-ro traffic contributed 3.3 MT (+5.6%), while conventional trades were down 0.9% at 2.2 MT. In unit terms, box traffic grew 4.8% to 744,000 teu, according to the Port of Marseilles Authority.
Demand for petrochemicals saw liquid bulks throughput improve by 10.8% to 2.56 MT, but reduced steel industry demand prompted a 15.7% fall in dry bulks to 10.35 MT. Passenger throughput rose 1.8% to 1.72 million.
Meanwhile dredging is underway in the first phase of construction work on the Fos 2XL container terminal project. Two new terminals, due to go into service by 2010, are being developed in partnership with private operators Port Synergy and MSC. They will increase annual capacity at Fos from 600,000 teu to 2.1m teu.
The dredging operation started in September, as part of a two-year contract that also involves the construction of 1,200 m of quay. The work will take the water depth alongside the existing terminal from 12 m to 17 m, with the extraction of some 6m cubic metres of material.