HAROPA maritime traffic for the first quarter of 2020 is down 12.8%, 20.38 million tonnes, compared to 2019, the French port group has announced.
Despite the context and confinement that has occurred because of COVID-19, HAROPA ports (Le Havre, Rouen and Paris) remain 100% operational to supply the country and meet export needs, thanks to the efforts made by all players in the supply chain to ensure continuity of service.
These first-quarter results, which reflect the initial impacts of the overall slowdown in the global economy, include very contrasting situations across the various sectors.
The COVID-19 effect is beginning to be felt in the container industry, the temporary limitation of refining capacity is impacting the liquid bulk sector, and record exports of cereals are boosting the solid bulk sector.
Regarding the container sector, from mid-March traffic was 530 000 TEUs, down 23%, with 156 stopovers by container ships in March 2020, i.e. 16 fewer than in March 2019.
The effect of the slowdown in maritime traffic from Asia due to COVID-19 has been felt mainly from the second half of March, the statement said. The effects of the pandemic-related economic crisis are now also being seen through a slowdown in global consumption and European exports, which will have a significant impact on container and ro-ro traffic for import and export in April.
River traffic in containers on the Seine axis decreased by the equivalent of 13.5% at the end of March.
In addition, The temporary limitation on refining capacity is impacting the liquid bulk sector, down 16% to 10.48 Mt.
However, record cereal exports boost the solid bulk sector, up 18% to 4.26 Mt. The 2019-2020 cereal season has been excellent with 7.2 Mt loaded at the end of March, an increase of 24% compared to the previous season.