Freight News, Sea

Port of Dublin bounces back

[ April 20, 2022   //   ]

Dublin Port’s volumes recovered strongly in the first quarter of 2022 with growth of 13.7% to 8.9 million gross tonnes (gt) compared to same period in 2021. It followed the 15.2% decline in the first quarter of 2021 due to Brexit, said Dublin Port Company.

Imports in Q1 2022 grew by 14.2% to 5.4 million gt while exports grew by 12.8% to 3.5 million gt.

Unitised trade (Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo) accounted for 82% of all cargo volumes in the quarter and the number of trailers and containers combined increased by 13.3% to 363,000 units. Within this, there was a strong recovery in ro ro with growth of 22.9% to 250,000 units, partly offset by a decrease in lo lo of -3.5% to 112,000 units (equivalent to 202,000teu).

The 363,000-unit growth in overall unitised volumes however masked some very different geographical trends. Ro-ro and lo-lo to and from ports in the Cherbourg to Rotterdam range increased by only 1.8% to 152,000 units while unitised volumes (mainly ro-ro) to and from the GB ports of Holyhead, Liverpool and Heysham grew by 23.0% to 192,000 units

Ro-ro and lo-lo with other EU ports and with non-EU ports in the Mediterranean increased by 26.4% to 19,000 units.

Elsewhere in Dublin Port’s unitised trades, imports of new trade vehicles declined by 8.0% to 25,000 units as land constraints affected transit storage capacity.

Bulk Liquid imports of petroleum products returned to the pre-pandemic record levels of 2019 with strong growth of +20.2% to 1.1 million tonnes. Bulk solids finished the quarter 8.0% ahead at 0.6 million tonnes.

Dublin Port’s chief executive, Eamonn O’Reilly, said: “Given that the first quarter of 2021 was very weak in the wake of Brexit – with overall cargo volumes back by -15% – we anticipated, and, duly saw, a strong recovery of 14% in the first quarter of the year to nine million gross tonnes.

“Dublin Port accounts for four-fifths of all trailers and containers handled in ports in Ireland and, in the first quarter of 2022, volumes grew strongly by +13% to 363,000 units.

“This recovery was driven, in large part, by the +23% growth to 192,000 units in freight volumes on services to the ports of Holyhead, Liverpool and Heysham.  However, volumes on these routes are still 18% below their pre-Brexit levels.”

He added: “Dublin Port’s last record year was 2019 and volumes in the first quarter of this year were 8% lower than they had been three years ago. The level of growth we are now seeing at the start of 2022 suggests that record throughput levels will again be seen by 2023 or 2024. This growth maintains the pressure on us to continue to deliver our large capital programme at pace.  This will not be easy against the background of high inflation which is particularly evident in the construction sector.”