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Lloyds List: Marseilles still in talks with CGT over LNG handling strike

Published: Mar 22, 2007

FRENCH unions and the port authority remained locked in negotiations yesterday as a strike continued at the Fos-Lavera oil and gas terminal at Marseille, writes Sandra Speares.

French union the Confederation Generale du Travail has put a draft proposal to its membership to end the dispute, which has been going on for more than a week, over whether port employed stevedores will be used to unload LNG cargoes at a new Gaz de France terminal due to commence operations later this year.

A port authority spokeswoman said as Lloyd’s List went to press that the authority was still awaiting the results of the proposal put to union members.

The draft includes an employment charter outlining how port handling will be managed which the port authority hopes will put an end to the strike at the port.

The port authority said yesterday that 64 ships were blocked, either at a berth or in harbour including 34 tankers and a barge at the Fos and Lavera terminals, 16 ships at Fos’ cargo terminal, with five ships affected at the Marseille container terminal.

Passenger and ro-ro operations from the port were functioning normally, the port authority said.

Refiners who are dependent on the Fos-Lavera facility which include Total’s 158,000 barrels per day La Mede refinery, Esso’s 115,000 bpd Fos refinery, Shell’s 126,000 bpd Berre l’Etang refinery and the BP-operated 207,000 bpd Lavera refinery said yesterday that they had not yet felt the effects of the strike, either because they had sufficient stocks for the moment or, in the case of Shell, were in the process of carrying out routine maintenance.

ExxonMobil said however that the blockade of ships at the port was proving expensive.

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