Traffic slides at main French ports.
TRAFFIC throughput at France"s eight principal cargo ports fell 11.8% in 2009 but showed signs of recovery towards the end of the year.
December throughput at the eight ports was only 1.6% behind the total for December 2008, according to first indications from the French transport ministry.
The eight comprise the seven cargo ports covered by the government"s current port reform ? Marseilles, Le Havre, Dunkirk, Nantes-Saint Nazaire, Rouen, Bordeaux, La Rochelle, and the leading French passenger port, Calais.
Traffic was down at all ports except Rouen and Calais, which registered increases of 2.8% and 1% respectively.
At Calais, the passenger total fell more than 7% to 10.2m but freight traffic increased 1.85% to 38m tonnes.
The leading ports of Marseilles and Le Havre saw their traffic totals fall 13.3% and 8.5% respectively.
In 2008, the seven leading cargo ports (excluding Calais) handled 307m tonnes of traffic. Total traffic handled by all French ports together was 377m tonnes.