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Overall Dunkerque Port traffic grows despite Brexit and bulk decline

Overall Dunkerque Port traffic grows despite Brexit and bulk decline

(Posted on 12/01/23)

Despite unfavourable economic conditions, traffic in the port of Dunkerque, the third largest port in France by overall traffic, continued to expand in 2022, supported by strong growth in LNG (9.7 MT, +133%) and containers (745,000 TEU, +14%).

Solid bulk was down 18% at 16.2 MT. Iron ore (8.5 MT, -23%) and coal (2.9 MT, -14%) logically showed a sharp decline linked to both the cessation of SEABULK's activity at the West Bulk Commodity Terminal (QPO) at the end of 2021 and the current poor economic situation affecting the steel industry in particular. Grain ended the year slightly down 4% at 2.2 MT, but there was a good start to the 2022/2023 grain campaign. The decline in other solid bulks (2.6 MT, -11%) reflects the fall in the order book for local and regional industry.

Dunkerque Port is the main trading port of the Hauts-de-France Region (31,813 km², 6 million inhabitants), the largest agricultural and agrid-food region in France, the leading region for the rail industry, and for the car industry. The port is the leading French port for importing ore and coal third

Largest for grain traffic.

Liquid bulk was up by 60% at 13.9 MT. While hydrocarbons are down 8% to 3.4 MT, the volumes of LNG processed at the LNG terminal are approaching 10 MT (4 MT in 2021). In 2022, the port of Dunkerque docked 142 LNG carriers, compared with 62 in 2021.

Miscellaneous goods were trending downwards, at 18.9 MT (-5%) and ro-ro freight activity (Channel + Ireland) is down 18% to stand at 468,000 accompanied and unaccompanied units.

The long-term effects of Brexit remain perceptible for cross-Channel business and are aggravated by the economic situation in the United Kingdom. The ro-ro service to Ireland underwent a year of consolidation with almost stable freight volumes.

Containerised traffic recorded its 10th consecutive year of growth at 745,000 TEUs (+14% in 2022). Dunkerque's growth over the last two years (+62%) is the largest on the North European range. Full containers increased by 11% to 456,000 TEUs.

2022 saw a strong upswing in activity, enabling an investment programme of 71 million euros adopted in November 2021. The programme is the largest in the last 5 years. However, in June 2022, the port's Supervisory Board adopted a revised programme of €83.4 million, i.e. an increase of €12.44 million in order to support the price increase. The investment programme voted in 2022 has been 95% completed.

In 2023, activity will remain sustained. The investment programme approved by the Supervisory Board on 25 November 2022 amounts to €78 million.

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