Marseille Fos prepares for latest generation boxships


Port of Marseille Fos is to install the world’s two largest quay cranes at its Fos 2XL container facility next year, signalling its intention to return to “the major league” of global box terminals, port authority officials told a visiting press tour earlier this month.

The new super post panamax gantry cranes, built by Paceco SA of Spain, will measure 54 m high with outreach of 72 m spanning 26 rows across, allowing them to handle the largest containerships currently in service or on order.

The Eurofos terminal – belonging to Portsynergy Projects, a jv between DP World and Terminal Link (CMA CGM) - will start installation of the cranes at its terminal in February, with commissioning due in September/October.

Adjacent Fos2XL terminal Seayard – belonging to APM Terminals, MSC and Cosco - is expected to follow suit with an order for similar sized cranes shortly. Together the two terminals have a current throughput of just over 1m teu.

Following implementation of French Port Reform legislation in 2011, Marseille Fos has put its past problems with industrial disputes behind it, PortSynergy ceo Nicolas Gauthier pointed out. Railfreight services in France have also improved dramatically in recent years, meaning Marseille is now set to “recover the market share that we lost for many, many years” to Northern Range ports such as Antwerp, he added.

Container traffic at the PortSynergy terminal grew 11% last year and is up 7% again in 2015, Gauthier reported, “showing more and more people are trusting Marseille Fos and coming back. They look at price and productivity and it’s the obvious way to go. If you look at the map, the location of Marseille is perfect for the the European market if you don’t want to have to cross the Alps.”

Asia-Med trade accounts for some 80% of Fos throughput, while intra-Mediterranean trade calls the Marseille harbour near the city centre. Other factors driving the port’s growth in container traffic include ample space for capacity expansion and warehousing and logistics activities, as well as good river connections stretching north to Lyon and the Burgundy region.

The Marseille Fos port authority is also investing in improved IT systems to improve fluidity of the port. A new automated information system costing EUR3m called Neptune Port has been introduced to harmonise administrative procedures for vessels calling the port, while a Ci5 next generation cargo community system developed by Marseille-based software house MGI (Marseille Gyptis International) is being introduced next year to replace the existing AP+ system from the same company.

A ‘cargo intelligence’ system that can work across five transport modes – air, sea, road, rail and river – and will be marketed on five different continents, Ci5 “reinvents the idea of a cargo community system by harnessing the latest developments in IT,” MGI president Jaap van den Hoogen told an audience of 600 guests at the company’s 30th anniversary celebration at the Palais du Pharo in Marseille.

“Today the competitiveness of ports is gained through interconnectivity of land/sea/cargo,” he said, adding that Ci5 would be suitable for use with intelligent containers.

Source from : Seatrade Global