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…as Calais stays stable in a tough year

[ January 22, 2020   //   ]

The Port of Boulogne Calais said it showed i resilience in a 2019 marked by Brexit uncertainty and industrial action by customs officers in the spring.

Despite Brexit uncertainty and a customs officer strike in Spring traffic at Calais held up well at 1 813 067 units (down 4.6%), just 90 000 fewer HGVs thanin  2018 and retaining the port’s 46% market share.  The Channel market as a whole experienced an overall decline in freight of 5%, it pointed out.

The port’s intermodal terminal saw an increase in unaccompanied trailer traffic, at 42 483 units, up 11.2% over the year. In October, a new record was set, with 4,962 units handled.

This growth was supported by the ramp-up of ‘rolling motorway’ train services by the French Railways’ logistics arm VIIA, which is now operating daily services to and from Le Boulou on the Spanish-French border and Orbassano near Turin in Italy, and Mâcon in central France.

A 50 000-trailer target was only narrowly missed s due to bad weather in August and October, preventing the rail operator from operating at full capacity for several weeks, compounded by the social action throughout December, which brought rail traffic to a standstill. Despite these events, the rail operator almost doubled the number of trailers transported.

The launch of P&O Ferries’ new Calais – Tilbury service at the end of September also helped to boost traffic.

General cargo at Boulogne-sur-Mer and Calais was up slightly, despite a lack of traffic at the sugar terminal. Main commodities were materials destined for the port extension site, petroleum coke and cables.

Meanwhile, Port Boulogne Calais invested €6 million to improve at the port. Work on Calais’ new ro ro berths will continue in 2020.

President and chief executive Jean-Marc Puissesseau, commented: “The commissioning of the new port in the first quarter of 2021 and arrival in 2022 of next-generation, larger-capacity vessels will strengthen our position as the cross-Channel leader. Moreover, the development of unaccompanied trailer traffic combined with the important maritime and rail services offered from the port of Calais now put us on the map of European intermodal hubs.”

The port would continue to pursue its target of 100 000 trailers transshipped from rail or road onto the Calais-Tilbury route, he added.

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