Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

The Port of Marseille reaches 1.5 million containers transported in 2021

Written by Eric Apim on Tuesday, January 18th 2022 à 16:56 | Read 463 times

Container traffic in the Port of Marseille will reach a record in 2021 (photo: GPMM)
Container traffic in the Port of Marseille will reach a record in 2021 (photo: GPMM)
FRANCE. The Grand Port Maritime de Marseille-Fos is having a great year in 2021 with two historical records. Firstly, with almost 1.5 million containers (TEU - Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) handled, an increase of 13% compared to the previous year and, secondly, with 218,000 of them transported by rail.

"In 2021, the Port of Marseille Fos will post a 9% growth in its maritime traffic, bringing its overall volume to 75 million tonnes of goods handled, and with €162 million an 11% growth in its turnover," Hervé Martel points out. The chairman of the board is pleased that his infrastructure has "demonstrated resilience and a high level of service", but also "pursued the energy and digital transitions in projects involving hydrogen (editor's note: in particular a €750 million investment in the production of green hydrogen) and submarine cables. Finally, structural projects to open up the port to its territory have been launched." In all, €51m has been invested in the port in 2021 in the development and maintenance of its domain. 62 M€ will be devoted to it in 2022.

With a 9% increase in total traffic, the port of Marseille is showing positive results on all levels: +10% for general cargo (20 million tonnes), including +13% for containers (+15% for transport on the railways and +14% on the river), +5% for liquid bulk (43 MT) and +18% for solid bulk (12 MT). The trailer segment recorded an increase of 12%, driven by the opening of two lines in the Maghreb, to Tangiers with the Marseilles-based La Méridionale and Khoms in Libya with the Maltese company Glenhallen.

The comparison with 2019 weights the good results

For Elisabeth Ayrault, President of the GPMM Supervisory Board, "with these results, the port of Marseille Fos is becoming more than ever the southern "Gateway" of Europe, conquering its hinterland. The vocation of the Port of Marseille Fos to become the bridgehead of the Mediterranean Rhône Saône axis has reoriented the thinking around the massification of flows. The rail and river connections of the Port of Marseille Fos play a fundamental role in this, which should be strengthened. He continued, "The opportunities offered by this vision of a major axis are vast, both in the fields of containers and logistics, as well as in industry and the energy and digital transitions. The Port of Marseille Fos is fully committed to this path in order to accomplish this vast project, which will enable it to position itself as a real alternative to the ports of Northern Europe."

However, these excellent figures should be weighed against a lacklustre 2020. Compared to 2019, total traffic is down by 5% and turnover by 5%. This decline is also observed for liquid bulk (-6%) and solid bulk (-8%). Progressions remain, however, when comparing the 2021 figures with those of 2019, but they remain much more modest: +2% for containers, +3% for trailers, +4% for cars (supported by the start in autumn 2019 of traffic from Korea of the car manufacturer Hyundai and the increase in flows of Stellantis vehicles coming from the Kenitra factory in Morocco), +5% for liquid bulk, notably thanks to the 6 MT of liquefied natural gas-GNL up by 19% compared to 2021 and by 1% compared to 2019.

Passenger traffic remains symptomatic of the relativisation of the 2021 figures. With 1.2 million passengers, the Port thus achieves a progression of +63% compared with 2020, but of -61% compared with 2019 and its 3.1 million passengers. The regular ferry lines represent 883 000 passengers, 260 000 of which go to and from the Maghreb. The Port has only received 350 000 cruise passengers due to a resumption of activity only in July 2021.

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