Port of Marseille to maintain €57 million in investments to stimulate the recovery
The Port of Marseille Fos is determined to support the port economy, undeterred by the exceptional global pandemic situation in H1 2020, which slowed the Port of Marseille Fos’ activity and resulted in a 15 % drop in traffic overall. To stimulate the recovery, the Port of Marseille Fos Supervisory Board has decided to maintain €57 million in investments and support its customers affected by the global health crisis, the company said in its release.
2019 was a dynamic year for the Port of Marseille Fos with growth of 6 % to the end of November, which consolidated its leading position in France. By the beginning of March, the consequences of the Covid 19 health crisis on traffic were already being felt, particularly on container traffic as a result of the lockdowns in Asia. Consequently, for three months, all business sectors were impacted, with a drop in the number of calls and volumes on both cargo and passengers.
Overall, port traffic was 33.6 million metric tons - a shortfall of 5.9 million metric tons on H1 2019. Port of Marseille Fos traffic reflects the slump in consumption and the standstill in certain types of production. The number of TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) the Port of Marseille Fos handled fell by 17 % over the first six months of the year. The halt in vehicle sales caused a 23 % drop in car import and export flows and plunged the steel sector into crisis, leading to a 23 % reduction in bulk steel imports. Border closures and lockdowns brought passenger activity to a halt. Over the six-month period, compared to 2019, there were 59% fewer regular ferry line passengers and 84% fewer cruise passengers.
Nevertheless, some less affected sectors maintained their dynamism. From the beginning of the year, there was a notable increase of almost 21 % in cereal trade in the dry bulk segment. On liquid bulk, the H1 2020 figures confirm that, with an increase of 2% since January, the Port of Marseille Fos is well positioned on bio-fuel and liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports and exports.
As the process of leaving lockdown moves forward in Europe, port activities have been picking up again. Towards the end of June, there were some positive signs which meant steel product and breakbulk exports bounced back, respectively by 2 % and 6 % on 2019. On liquid bulk, imports of crude oil and refined products are beginning to move up in line with the recovery in economic activity. Exports of bulk food products continue to grow and imports of coal and bauxite are recovering sharply. Finally, on general cargo (containers, roll-on/roll-off vessels), the fall in volumes compared with 2019 is less marked, a sign of the recovery in activity.
The Fos-Graveleau rail link project, which consists of connecting the Eurofos and Seayard container terminals to improve train traffic, involves a commitment of €22 million on an operation involving several phases; it is scheduled to go into service in 2023. Monaco Marine's harbour development (yacht repair), to be equipped with a 6,000 metric ton boat lift by 2022, is continuing.
“The Port of Marseille Fos has a major role to play in the region's economic recovery. The Supervisory Board has decided to maintain 2020 investments at €57 million by means of a €35 million loan. This is possible because the Port has a healthy financial position and has been growing for a number of years", explained Jean-Marc Forneri, Chairman of the Port of Marseille Fos Supervisory Board.
The Distriport logistics area, located near the container terminals, is transforming, confirming the attractiveness of France's leading port for logistics and freight transport players: During the lockdown, Virtuo and the Port of Marseille Fos finalized the sale of two plots on Distriport, for the construction of a multi-customer park of nearly 70,000 m² on a logistics area of 14 hectares. Médiaco Vrac is pursuing its development projects in the area, building 70,000 m² of warehousing on a 14-hectare site, in addition to an existing 34,000 m² building with a rail branch line. Work was launched in early 2020 for delivery of the site in March 2021, despite the pandemic.
Krown and the Chevallier Group are building a 60,000 m² warehouse on a 14-hectare site, again with rail connection to Distriport. Work began at the end of 2019, for delivery before the end of 2020. The construction of the complex is operated by Novelige (Vinci Group).Not forgetting Eurofos’ new gantry and hybrid straddle carriers, Meditourbe's photovoltaic panels, the second Interxion datacenter MRS3 in the Port of Marseille Fos, Med Europe's reefer sockets and more.