Freight News, Sea

Up and down year for port of Dublin

[ January 17, 2020   //   ]

Dublin Port’s unitised volumes (ro-ro and lo-lo containers combined) grew3.6% to 1.5 million units in 2019 and has increased by 41.3% over the six years since the economic recovery began in 2013, it said.

But the continued strength in unitised growth in 2019 was offset by a large one-off decline in bulk solid commodities. Overall tonnage growth for the year was just +0.4%.

Containers and freight trailers accounted for 83% of all cargo in 2019. Ro-ro grew by +2.6% in 2019 to 1.1m units while lo-lo container volumes grew by +6.5% to 774,000teu and have now, 12 years later, finally surpassed the pre-recession level of 2007,

Imports of new trade vehicles through Dublin Port decreased by -4.4% to 99,000 during 2019.

Bulk liquid volumes, comprising mostly petroleum products, grew by 0.9% to 4.7m tonnes driven by increasing activity in the road transport and aviation sectors.  Petroleum imports through Dublin Port are now 14.4% higher than they were in 2007.

Bulk solid commodities declined by 23.4% to 1.8m tonnes. The previous year, was exceptionally strong for agri-feed imports and exports from Boliden Tara Mines halted for a four-month period during major construction works at the port’s Alexandra Basin, although  exports of lead and zinc ore concentrates have fully resumed.

Dublin Port’s chief executive, Eamonn O’Reilly, said: “The dominant feature of 2019 was the continued strong growth in the unitised modes.  Behind these growth figures, however, we saw a marked difference between the UK and the EU-26. Where GB volumes declined by 0.2%, volumes on ro-ro and lo-lo services to Continental Europe grew very strongly by 10.7%.

“The effect of the deployment in recent years of new ships on direct routes to Continental Europe by shipping lines such as Irish Ferries and CLdN is clear to be seen and we expect to see this trend continue as trading patterns adapt post Brexit.”

He added: “The continued large growth in unitised volumes underpins the need for Dublin Port Company to continue the major €1 billion investment programme from now to 2029.  In December, we finalised a €300m private placement debt facility and, with the finance now in place, capital investment will continue apace during 2020 on the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment Project, at Dublin Inland Port and on the redevelopment of the port’s road network to provide the capacity needed as the port grows to maximum capacity utilisation by 2040.”

During 2019, Dublin submitted the Masterplan’s second strategic infrastructure development project, the MP2 Project, to An Bord Pleanála and hopes to get a decision in the coming months.  The scheme is designed to greatly increase capacity for  ro ro and lo lo without expansion into Dublin Bay, a key commitment in the Masterplan.

The port also completed a series of projects during 2019 to provide the border infrastructure needed for whatever level of checks are ultimately required under Brexit.