Steel imports slump in H1 at French port of Marseille Fos

The slump in consumption and standstill in production during the pandemic has led to a decrease in bulk steel imports at the French port of Marseille Fos in the first half of 2020, the French port authotity said July 10.

The halt in vehicle sales caused a 23% drop in car import and export flows at the port in H1, leading to a 23% reduction in bulk steel imports compared with the same time last year. The port did not give a volume.

In the first half of 2019, the total throughput of dry bulk metallurgical products at the port was 188,796 mt.

The port reported a slight recovery towards the end of June, with steel products and breakbulk exports bouncing back by 2% and 6% year on year, respectively.

“The Port of Marseille Fos has never stopped operating, which has helped to mitigate the effects of the crisis,” Chairman of the Management Board of the Port of Marseille Fos Herve Martel said. The Port accommodated an average of 18 cargo vessels a day during the lockdown compared to 25 during a normal period.

To attract more business, the port is offering a 50% reduction in port dues for the container sector for four months from September 2020.

The port had a tumultuous first half of the year as port workers staged large scale strikes in January as part of the anti-government movement in France which led to steelmaker ArcelorMittal declaring force majeure at its Fos Sur Mer plant at the time as port yards quickly reached maximum capacity and raw material supply became critical.

— Laura Varriale