The Marseille Fos and Strasbourg port authorities have entered a partnership agreement to strengthen the multimodal offer of sea, river and rail links serving the hinterland of France’s north-south axis.

Signed on February 4, the agreement has four core objectives:

  • the development of rail traffic
  • cooperation on best practices and operational strategy
  • commercial promotion through joint events and shared market intelligence
  • research and innovation on issues such as port fluidity, supply chain performance and environmental initiatives

The port of Marseille Fos is the biggest in France and second biggest in the Mediterranean. Highly diversified cargo throughput of 81 million tonnes in 2018 included container traffic of 1.4m teu. A growing network of long distance rail and river services, with very competitive transit times, is key to the port’s ‘southern gateway to Europe’ positioning as an alternative to congested ports in the northern range.

Strasbourg - spread along 100km of river front on the northern Rhine - is the second largest river port in France with average annual traffic of 8MT, including box throughput of more than 420,000 teu. The port authority initiated the Upper Rhine Ports federation of nine hubs in France, Germany and Switzerland.

Marseille Fos CEO Christine Cabau Woehrel and Strasbourg managing director Jean-Louis Jerome signed the agreement at the end of a roadshow in Strasbourg attended by more than 100 current and potential clients from the Grand Est region. In addition to presentations by the ports, multimodal operator Naviland Cargo outlined its rail shuttle service linking the two ports five times per week.