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Irish trade figures still causing concern

[ December 15, 2011   //   ]

The Irish Exporters Association said that the country’s trade had recovered in 2010 after two straight years of decline in 2008 and 2009, but the trend has not continued into 2011. Exporters fear that shipping lines may not be able to continue the service levels they need to meet new market requirements.

Speaking at the launch at the Port of Cork, John Whelan, Chief Executive at the Irish Exporters Association, said that export volumes have now returned to pre-recession levels but import volumes are still 12.9% below 2007 levels. Airfreight imports are down even more sharply, by 36% indicating a dramatic loss in high value luxury imports, whereas sea-freight imports are down by over 9%.

However, the port of Cork’s chief executive officer Brendan Keating,said that a 9% increase in exports are expected through the Port of Cork itself during 2011.

However, continued Mr Whelan, the continued low volume of imports was of concern to Irish exporters too. A loss of volume could lead to a deterioration in the services offered by shipping lines and haulage contractors, less revenue for ports and ultimately higher transport costs for exporters. He called for a new integrated transport strategy to enable Irish exporters “to effectively transport key imports from the major Asian supply industries into Ireland and manufacture and distribute exports into Europe and America as well as back to Asia.”