Dublin Port trade volumes up 4,2% in first nine months of 2017

By Curious

Dublin Port Company has published its latest trade figures showing growth of 4.2% to the end of Q3 2017. Overall, volumes in Dublin Port have grown by 30.1% in just five years.  A continuation in the current pace of growth would mean a third successive record year for Dublin Port.

Dublin Port trade volumes up 4,2% in first nine months of 2017
Caption: Ro-Ro cargo ship Celine - Image courtesy of Dublin Port

Summary of YTD September 2017 Trade Statistics

 Gross tonnes  Q3 2017  Q3 2016  % change
 Imports  16.0m  15.4m  3.5%
 Exports  11.2m  10.6m  5.2%
 Total Throughput  27.1m  26.0m  4.2%
 Ro-Ro units  736,462  699,361  5.3%
 Lo-Lo TEU  515,718  495,511  4.1%
 Ferry passengers  1,496,025  1,460,585  2.4%
 Tourist vehicles  411,921  400,949  2.7%
 Cruise ships  127  103  23.3%
 Trade vehicles  73,252  77,494  -5.5%

Total throughput (imports and exports) for the nine months to the end of September was 27.1 million gross tonnes, with 5,932 ship arrivals during the period.

Consecutive Growth over the past five years

This is the fifth year in a row for Dublin Port to see substantial growth in the first nine months.

 Trade Period  % growth year on year
 Q3 2013  3.1%
 Q3 2014  7.2%
 Q3 2015  5.8%
 Q3 2016  6.8%
 Q3 2017  4.2%

New Ro-Ro Service

Growth was particularly strong in Ro-Ro freight with 736,462 units in the first nine months, an increase of 5.3% on the previous year. Within this total, Ro-Ro services between Ireland and Britain grew strongly at 6.2%. Elsewhere, Lo-Lo containers grew by 4.1% to 515,718 TEU.

In a new development, Dublin Port Company has confirmed that it will welcome the maiden call of CLdN’s mv Celine at the end of October.  Her arrival will provide additional capacity and flexibility for customers trading with markets in Continental Europe, particularly post BREXIT.

Celine will operate between Dublin Port and the ports of Zeebrugge and Rotterdam.  With a capacity of 8,000 lane-metres, Celine can carry over 600 freight units and is approaching twice the size of the largest ferry currently operating from Dublin Port.

The volume of new imported trade vehicles through Dublin Port declined by -5.5% during the period, reflecting the large increase in recent times of second-hand vehicle imports from the UK.

Ferry & Cruise Tourism Growth

Tourism volumes on ferries grew strongly in the first nine months, with passenger numbers ahead by 2.4% to 1.5 million. Cruise tourism is also growing in Dublin with 127 cruise ships calling in the first nine months of what is already a record year for Dublin Port.

Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company, said: “Dublin Port’s volumes continue to grow strongly. It is clear that the trend of year on year increases that we saw in the decades before the crash of 2008 has returned.  We have now seen five years of consistent growth and each of the last three years has been a record year.

“Notwithstanding the uncertainty generated by BREXIT, Dublin Port has seen Ro-Ro freight volumes on routes to Britain grow by 6.2% over the first three quarters of 2017 with ferry passenger numbers growing by 2.4%.  

“We are increasing the capacity of the port on the basis that growth will continue for many years to come.  Work is continuing on our first major Masterplan project, the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR) Project.

“We are seeing increasing demand for direct freight services to Continental Europe.  The introduction by CLdN of the 8,000 lane metre Celine will greatly increase the capacity on direct services to Continental Europe.  BREXIT is creating a lot of uncertainty and the introduction of the new ship shows the shipping sector beginning to provide additional capacity to create more options for importers and exporters.  We expect to see more new services to Continental Europe during 2018.

“Before year end, we will commence construction of a bridge over the Covanta and ESB cooling water outfall on the Poolbeg Peninsula now that the construction of the waste to energy plant is complete.  This bridge will bring unused port lands on the Poolbeg Peninsula into use and allow us to increase the capacity of our berths on South Bank Quay.  This is the first step towards the ultimate development of all Dublin Port lands on the Poolbeg Peninsula under our Masterplan 2012-2040.

“We welcome the recognition in the recently approved Planning Scheme for the Poolbeg West SDZ that port lands are for port uses.  This follows on from the recognition in the draft National Planning Framework of the importance for the country of the continued addition of port capacity in Dublin.”

Source: Port of Dublin