Handling contractor / Terminal operator

Function / Activity

In export, the handling company (the stevedore) has to receive the goods that arrive by truck, trailer, wagon… and to run all the operations needed for loading these goods.

In import, the process is reversed.

In Mediterranean ports, the stevedore also carries out the receipt, certification and guarding at dockside of the goods to be loaded or unloaded.

The definition of the operators that are under the responsibility of the handling companies is specified in the Law of 18 June 1966, title IV.


Introduction to the profession in Marseille-Fos

There are 9 handling companies in Marseille and 5 in Fos.

These companies employ dockers:

  • In Marseille: 118 monthly workers + 230 workers in one group of employers + 16 occasionals
  • In Fos: 233 monthly workers + 579 workers in two groups of employers + 3 occasionals (situation at January 1st 2018)


Future development of the profession

The dockers’ employment used to be regulated as intermittency (that is, the dockers were hired according to the needs of the traffic).  The 1992 reform stabilised their status by allowing them to become common law employees in handling companies.

Moreover, because of local agreements on the reduction of working time in both basins, as well as early cessation of work as part of the asbestos plan, groups of employers were formed in order to renew and rejuvenate the dockers population.

The Law of 4 July 2008 on the port reform notably implemented the transfer of machinery and control personnel to the terminal operators.

It is effective on Marseille-Fos since May 2011.

By allowing the control of machinery and the unity of command, it enabled a significant improvement of productivity and customer service.