Illustration of the port of Marseille-Fos -


  • After six years of growth, the port of Marseille-Fos, the number one port in France, has seen its turnover drop by 14%.

  • The fault in particular with the total stop of the cruises on which Marseilles has relied heavily in recent years.

A 14% decrease in turnover compared to 2019, reaching 145 million euros.

The Covid-19 crisis weighed on the results of the port of Marseille-Fos, the leading French port, and put an end to six years of discontinuous growth.

This is the first decline in activity since 2013. The fall is however less significant than the -20% feared at the end of the first half.

Goods traffic fell 12.7% to 69 million tonnes, "an extremely reasonable figure which allows us to maintain the position of French leader", tempers the President of the Supervisory Board, Elisabeth Ayrault, who is acting as interim since the sudden death of Jean-Marc Forneri.

Cruising at a standstill

“Turnover and freight traffic fell less than we anticipated.

On the other hand, the passenger activity has not recovered and cruising, which came to a complete stop during the first confinement, has not resumed, ”comments for his part the general manager, Hervé Martel.

If the container activity suffered less than general freight traffic (-9% in tonnage), faced with fierce European competitors (Rotterdam, Antwerp, etc.) and much larger in this segment than Marseille-Fos, bulk traffic so-called solids fell 22% in the face of sluggish demand for steel.

This is evidenced by the shutdown for half of the year of one of the two blast furnaces of the steelmaker ArcelorMittal in Fos-sur-Mer, the port's main customer.

A year 2021 filled with uncertainties

Not to mention the Gardanne coal plant (near Marseille) which has remained at a standstill and will ultimately never resume its activity, in accordance with President Emmanuel Macron's commitments to close the last four coal plants in the country.

But the worst for the port was the collapse of 76% of passenger traffic with a black year for cruises, in which Marseille has invested a lot.

Fewer than 100,000 cruise passengers have passed through the second largest city in France, against 1.8 million in 2019. And the year 2021 is full of uncertainties, threatening 16,000 jobs at the regional level, assesses the large seaport of Marseille.

"I hope that the vaccine will make that from the summer, the passenger activity will be able to resume in an almost normal way", wants to believe Hervé Martel.

Despite everything, the president of the supervisory board believes that "this is not the time to stop everything" and that "we must be ready for the conditions of restart".

This is why 51 million were invested last year mainly in the energy transition, a little less however than the 57 million initially planned.


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  • Crisis

  • Transport

  • Marseilles

  • Harbor

  • FOS on sea