Freight News, Sea

Dunkirk makes headway in a tough market

[ January 7, 2016   //   ]

The northern French port of Dunkirk’s total container traffic grew by a modest 2% to reach 317,000teu in 2015 but the number of full contains jumped 17%, supervisory board president Francois Soulet de Brugiere told the annual press conference in Lille on 6 January. China Shipping’s new service and a doubling of the MacAndrew’s short-sea operation to and from Portugal helped boost box numbers. , along with strengthened inland waterway links to Valenciennes operated by Contargo. The rail service to Paris is also due to be upgraded to three times a week during 2016, the conference was told.

Asked whether Dunkirk would be able to rival other north-west European ports such as Zeebrugge or Antwerp by becoming a 1m teu-a-year gateway, Francois Soulet de Brugiere acknowledged that Dunkirk faced stiff competition. Many French shippers “had found solutions outside France – it’s a question of getting tjem to switch to French ports.”

However, he was optimistic that changes to French customs procedures would soon begin to attract traffic back to French gateways such as Dunkirk.

Despite the problems with illegal immigrants (see separate story below), Dunkirk’s ro ro business also enjoyed a good year with freight up 17% to 698,000 units.

A new border inspection post for fruit and vegetable traffic has opened and work is well in hand on a new logistics park.