The Port of Marseilles has reported a 43 percent increase in cruise passengers for the first quarter of this year over the same period last year. The port posted 54,000 passengers of which 40 percent embarked in Marseilles.

The ferry traffic, however, saw a drop in passengers to both Corsica and Algeria, which the port attributed to the uprising in Tunisia.

Total passengers numbers – for cruise and ferries – dipped 9 percent to 164,000.

First-quarter cargo was up 1 percent over last year. Strong oil and gas volumes were offset by drops in other cargo categories, which the port attributed to political unrest in France and overseas.

French port reforms will also go into effect this month with the transfer of some 400 port authority personnel to private or partially private stevedoring companies. This is the result of a national agreement linked to the issue of retirement age and is expected to bring French terminal operations in line with the practices of other major European ports.