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Strong signs of recovery confirmed by robust Q1 trading figures at Ireland’s principal port

Dublin Port Company confirms surge of 23.5% in March exports (year-on-year)

Dublin Port Company today published its Monthly Trading Update for March 2010 and the year to date (Q1 2010), which reveals a fourth consecutive month of increased trading activity at Ireland’s largest port. The figures for March show a 13.5% rise in total throughput (in tonnage) for the month compared to trade levels in March 2009. There was also a spike in exports, which increased by 23.5% on March last year, while imports for the month grew by 7.3%.

The figures for Q1 2010 reveal a pattern of steady, incremental increased trading activity across both exports and imports. The stronger trading performance in both the export and import sectors points to a more balanced sign of economic recovery. Quarter 1 total throughput at Dublin Port rose by 7.9% over the three month period, with a 14.6% increase in exports. Imports in Q1 were 3.8% higher than the same period last year.

March 2010 trade statistics summary:

Total throughput – 2.49 million tonnes (2.19 million in March 2009), up 13.5%

Exports – 1.03 million tonnes (835,800 tonnes in March 2009), up 23.5%

Imports – 1.45 million tonnes (1.35 million in March 2009), up 7.3%

Total unitised tonnage – 1.97 million tonnes (1.70 million tonnes), up 15.9%

Bulk solid – (8% of Dublin Port’s business), 123,125 tonnes (134,779 tonnes), down 8.6%

Q1 2010 trade statistics summary:

Total throughput – 6.81 million tonnes (6.31 million in Q1 2009), up 7.9%

Exports – 2.72 million tonnes (2.37 million), up 14.6%

Imports – 4.09 million tonnes (3.94 million), up 3.8%

Total unitised tonnage – 5.41 million tonnes (4.88 million), up 10.9%

Bulk solid – (8% of Dublin Port’s business), 379,784 tonnes (359,825 tonnes), up 5.5%

Unitised trade which accounts for almost 80% of Dublin Port’s throughput was 15.9% higher in total tonnage terms in March and 10.9% higher for the year to date than the corresponding periods in 2009. This trade comprises of consumer goods carried by two modes, Roll-on, Roll-off (RoRo) and Lift-on, Lift-off (LoLo).

Speaking on the fourth successive increase in monthly trade levels at Ireland’s principal port, Enda Connellan, Chief Executive of Dublin Port Company, said: “Following a very tough 18 months for the Irish economy, Dublin Port Company is pleased to be in a position to report increased positive trading levels at Ireland’s largest and busiest port for the first quarter of this year. It’s very encouraging at this stage in the year to see that trade has moved beyond a stabilisation phase first experienced this time last year to one of growth for four consecutive months. As a gateway to European and international markets, it’s essential that we continue to facilitate the movement of goods as efficiently and competitively as possible in order to support the country’s return to economic growth. Dublin Port Company remains committed to playing its part in fostering a competitive environment for our exporters and importers which is so vital to stimulating economic recovery. Dublin Port Company has addressed its cost base over the last 15 years to get us in a position where our costs to our customers are 10% lower than in 1988. We’ve also introduced competition within the port where there are now eight competing terminals which has a further positive impact on cost competitiveness.”  

Commenting on the significance of the figures and outlook for Dublin Port Company’s trade levels for the remainder of 2010, Michael Sheary, Chief Financial Officer, Dublin Port Company added: “Since December growth in trade levels have been driven primarily by increased export levels. Last month also saw a second consecutive monthly increase in import levels which suggests there is a level of renewed consumer demand.  Continued increases in throughput will be dependent on a number of factors including improved consumer sentiment for imports and the strength of the euro against Sterling and renewed growth in the economies of our main trading partners. With these factors in our favour the uplift in trade could bring Dublin Port’s total throughput for this year close to 28 million tonnes which would be just under 10% lower than our historic high trade levels in 2007.“

Welcoming the positive trade figures, Mr. Billy Kelleher TD, Minister for Trade and Commerce said: “I welcome the news today that trade levels at Ireland’s largest port have moved beyond a stabilisation phase to one of four consecutive months of growth in exports. As Dublin Port handles almost half of Ireland’s imports and exports, trade levels at the port provide are a key barometer of what’s happening in the economy. While exports have been growing each month since December what’s particularly encouraging is that March saw the second consecutive monthly growth in imports which is a sign of improved consumer sentiment. Export-led growth is going to be crucial for economic growth and I cannot emphasise enough the importance of competitiveness in reaching that objective. It is encouraging to see that our principal port is playing its part in creating a competitive environment for trade by having eight competing terminals as well as keeping prices to their own customers lower than they were 20 years ago.”    

Date Published: Wednesday 28. of April 2010

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