Container traffic bore the brunt of the general cargo slump with volumes down by 15% to 774,519 teu. This included a 21% decline in east-west trades via Fos which handled 519,518 teu, although the Marseilles harbour area finished only 2% down with 255,001 teu thanks to the stability of Mediterranean trades.
Ro-ro traffic added 4m tonnes to the general cargo total, a 1% rise due to volumes on eastern Mediterranean and North Africa services, but conventional trades ended 15% worse on 2.3m tonnes as reduced demand for steel products felt the added effects of motor industry cutbacks.
On a more positive note, Marseilles Fos has formed a Med Link promotional partnership with eight inland ports serving its crucial north-south hinterland along the Rhone-Saone corridor.
The Med Link Ports partners include the multimodal platforms of Pagny, Chalon, Macon, Villefranche, Lyons, Valence, Avignon-Le Pontet and Arles, which provide access to and from the Mediterranean seaport’s global services via a network of rail and river services.
Formed with backing from inland waterways authority Voies Navigables de France, the partnership is in keeping with the Marseilles Fos growth plans – such as the Fos 2XL container terminal development – as well as political initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions by offering environmentally friendly alternatives to road haulage.
In 2007 Marseilles Fos handled 6m tonnes of Rhone-Saone rail and river cargo. The 3.3m tonne rail total included container traffic of 127,000 teu, representing 13% of the port’s overall throughput of just over 1m teu. Waterways traffic totalled 2.7m tonnes – marking a 60% increase since 2002 – and included container volumes of 60,000 teu, or 6.1% of the port total.