The modestly sized Mediterranean port of Nice is the second largest cement port in France, behind Le Havre. In 2003, the amount of cement handled was 326,000t, a four per cent increase over 2002 and compares with an all time record of 348,000t in 1998. The cement handled comes from works in south-eastern France owned by Lafarge and Vicat. Of the cement handled in 2003, 144,000t went to Corsica where Société Méditetranénne de Cabotage’s Capo Nero (2780dwt) makes two trips per week, and 182,000t went to various export markets in the region. 2004 figures are expected to show further modest gains.
Meanwhile further north, we note new import and distribution terminals starting up in La Rochelle and Lorient with a new company Asian Bulk apparently active behind the scenes (surely not Cemex trying the back door into this lucrative French market?). And there are even reports of a new import terminal in Sete with independent French entrepreneurs once again trying to break into the lucrative domestic market. However, it could all end in tears – as those who will remember the proposed cement import terminal in Sete back in the late 1980s, which was shut down by local producers without even one tonne being offloaded.