Le Havre containers fall 6pc, but enjoy mid-year rise before 4th quarter

2012 03 02

FRANCE's main gateway Le Havre has registered an overall traffic decline in 2011, but container volumes had returned to growth by year end, despite slip in the fourth quarter.

Container traffic, which represents a third of Le Havre's 68.5 million tonnes of annual cargo, found its way back to growth over the course of the year, but ended the period with a decline of six per cent mainly due to a 28 per cent drop in transshipment volumes.

Poor first quarter results with a throughput of 483,000 TEU were partly offset over the following months, reported London's International Freighting Weekly, especially in the summer when the facility handled 600,000 TEU, but fourth quarter traffic slowed again to 576,000 TEU.

A port spokesman said gains came from productivity improvements, but that this could not counter the tough economic conditions, which returned later in the year. Traffic handled by inland waterways, although a small proportion of the result, was a healthy and rapidly growing component of overall box volumes.

The results reflected the "strained economic situation" in global markets, according to a port spokesman.

Despite an overall upturn of four per cent in the second half compared to the same period in 2010, annual tonnage processed at Le Havre declined by four per cent, with port officials blaming France's shrinking export trade and lower consumption by French consumers.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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