Marseille focuses on North Africa – Algeria and Tunisia

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The sun is certainly shining on cargo at Mediterranean located Marseille Provence Airport as it continues to expand, reports Justin Burns.

Now firmly established as a key link to North Africa from France and Europe, the gateway has set its sights on further growth in the years ahead.

Marseille Provence cargo manager, Jean-Marc Boutigny says business has been good and up to the end at of August it handled 36,700 tonnes, a rise of nine per cent for the same period last year, which is above the target of seven per cent.

Boutigny notes it has seen important growth in the express sector of (+10.2 per cent) especially thanks to DHL, which has grown 18.1 per cent and Chronopost, up 15 per cent and it is targeting express business in Southern France and the Western Mediterranean area. Volumes moved by the German integrator soared 57 per cent in August alone.

DHL’s expansion has been a major factor in the growth and Marseille is benefitting from its decision to choose it as its hub to Tunisia and Algeria.

But he says North Africa is the main focus: “Northern Africa is strategic partner for us. Marseille Harbour and all French partners have very important links with Algeria and Tunisia that is why it is a key region for us.”

Boutigny is very upbeat about the French air cargo market and feel it is in a good way at present: “I am optimistic because we have growing markets for express industry as French consumers are more and more using e-trade.”

And he says the gateway will be investing to continue the expansion and next year it will build a brand new freighter stand able to welcome the Boeing 747-800 Freighter.

Boutigny is hopeful of new routes being added over the next few years and says it is always open to new opportunities, but North Africa will remain its main “niche market”.

And he is ambitious and says in the future, Marseille Provence will play its role as the Western Mediterranean cargo hub: “We will be able to handle bellyhold business from Middle East or Far East.

“We will have a tailor-made service for integrators to and from Northern Africa. Our goals going forward are to handle most of the Southern French air cargo volume and develop our volume from and to Algeria and Tunisia.”

The future is looking bright in Marseille.