Annual traffic for 2017 was over 50.4 MT, an increase of 3% compared with 2016. General cargoes . were 9% down overall, with a tonnage of 20.55 MT. Cross-Channel traffic posted a good year but had to contend with fierce competition from the other operators in this sector. Traffic totalled 16.4 MT, a fall of 10%. The number of trucks and trailers was 11% lower with 612,000 freight units. Passenger numbers dropped 8% to 2.67 million, and passenger vehicles were down by 9% to 699,000.
Containers ended the year with a new record of 374,000 TEU and an increase of 10%. During 2017 this activity suffered 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, Dunkirk would have handled nearly 400,000 TEU. General cargoes showed a slight drop of 3% to 1.15 MT.
In terms of its customers, fruit importer Société Internationale d’IMportation (SIIM) is strengthening its partnership with Dunkirk – particularly with regard to importing mangoes from the Ivory Coast.
The port has also strengthened its historic links with Latin America.In 2017, it hosted delegations from Panama and Costa Rica and sent a delegation to Peru, Ecuador and Costa Rica.
On top of this, the port has tried to develop its links with China. In March, a Dunkirk delegation visited the coastal province of Fuzhou and in April, a similar trade mission again visited China and held a symposium in Shanghai.
Traffic in 2017 was helped by heavy bulks and reached 24.55 MT, an increase of 11%. ArcelorMittal's Dunkirk factory operated at full power, after the shutdowns for maintenance of Blast Furnace 2 (BF2) in 2015 and then Blast Furnace 4 (BF4) in 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 MT, a rise of 24%. Coal traffic recovered a good level of activity with 6 MT, up 11%. Grain experienced contrasting results. Imports set a new record with more than 350,000 tonnes and growth of 31%. 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% compared with 2016. The traffic in "small" solid bulks performed very well at 2.8 MT, an increase of 28%.
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