Dunkirk spirit helps port break 50 million tonne barrier

Dunkirk spirit helps port break 50 million tonne barrier

Traffic at the Port of Dunkirk, France’s third largest port, rose to 50.4 million tonnes in 2017, an increase of three per cent compared with 2016, according to new data released by the port.
 
General cargoes at Dunkirk were down nine per cent overall, at 20.55 million tonnes, while the number of trucks and trailers also fell by 11 per cent with 612,000 freight units. Containers ended 2017 with a record 374,000 TEUs - an increase of 10 per cent. This was despite the combined effects of Storm Matthew and then Hurricane Maria in the French Antilles, which severely affected the production of bananas and hence the imports of these fruits at the port of Dunkirk. Without these events and their economic impact, the port believes it would have handled nearer 400,000 TEUs.
 
Traffic in 2017 was helped by an increase of 11 per cent in heavy bulks, which rose to 24.55 million tonnes as ArcelorMittal's Dunkirk factory operated at full power since shutdowns for the maintenance of blast furnaces in 2015 and 2016. Ore also benefitted from the high volumes of transhipment at the Western Bulk Terminal for the group's other steelworks, setting a new record with a tonnage of 14.5 million tonnes, a rise of 24 per cent.
 
Coal traffic enjoyed a good level of activity with six million tonnes, up 11 per cent but there were contrasting results for grain. Imports set a new record with more than 350,000 tonnes and growth of 31 per cent. However, as for all French ports, exports were affected by the very poor harvest in 2016 and the delay in shipments of the 2017 harvest. Export traffic was limited to 950,000 tonnes, a drop of 63 per cent compared with 2016. The traffic in "small" solid bulks performed well at 2.8 million tonnes, an increase of 28 per cent.