Marseille Fos set to build on 2017 growth
Passenger carryings on Corsica and North Africa ferry services rose 7% to 1.2 million, which almost compensated for cruise numbers dropping 7% to 1.5 million. Throughput at the leading French cruise port was affected by Croisieres de France ceasing operations and by the repositioning of some US vessels in Asia and northern Europe.
In contrast, highlights included the first call of MSC’s 5,700-passenger Meraviglia in June and a record month in October when the Marseille Provence Cruise Terminal welcomed 200,000 passengers.
Cruise activity is set to return to growth in 2018 with a scheduled 530 calls – 100 more than last year – and an expected throughput of close to 1.75 million passengers. Based on current rankings, Marseille would then rise a place in the Mediterranean league table, taking fourth spot ahead of Venice – and staying on track for a targeted two million cruise passengers by 2020.
The mega-cruiseship market was the principal objective of recommissioning Marseille’s Drydock No.10 – largest in the Mediterranean and third biggest in the world at 465 metres long and 85 metres wide. The former VLCC tanker facility was mothballed in 2000, but reopened last October after extensive refurbishment and stemmed three cruise vessels by the end of the year. Costa Cruises has a one-third stake in yard operator Chantier Naval de Marseille (CNdM), a subsidiary of Genoa-based San Georgio del Porto, which is also targeting the gas carrier, bulk shipping, container and offshore markets. The facility joined CNdM’s existing operation at drydocks 8 and 9 and helped increase shiprepair activity to 98 vessels drydocked (+8%) and 2,231 days of occupation (+10%).