5 September 2023

Decline in Dublin Port volumes for first half of 2023 driven by reduced domestic and international demand on the back of strong growth in H1 2022.

Dublin Port Company has today reported trade figures for the first half of 2023.


Volumes declined by 3.6% to end June as the war in Ukraine, global inflation and a slower than expected recovery in China from Covid-19 lockdown dampened international and domestic demand with the Central Statistics Office showing Ireland entering a technical recession in the early part of 2023.


H1 2023 – Key Figures:

• Imports fell by -3.6% to 10.8 million gross tonnes.

• Exports declined by -3.5%, to 7.1 million gross tonnes.


Unitised trade (Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo) in the form of trailers and containers accounted for 81% of all cargo volumes in the first half of the year. Unitised freight fell by -5.4% year-to-date June Vs prior year, with both modes experiencing reductions of -4.4% and -7.6% respectively.


Positive growth indicators were seen in other areas of the port’s business, including: –

  • Imports of new trade vehicles rose by 40.3% to 67,000 units. This rise is already on the back of strong import figures in 2022 when volumes increased by 8.1% for the full year.
  • Bulk Liquid imports of petroleum products continue to grow strongly, reaching 2.3 million gross tonnes matching the record levels achieved in the same period last year.
  • Passenger numbers on ferries increased by 13.6% to 758,454 while tourist vehicles reached 217,788 (+11.1%).


Dublin Port continued to outperform the all-island market in both Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo in 2022 and Q1 of 2023, with elements of post-Brexit trade returning to Dublin from Northern Ireland ports (source: The Irish Maritime Development Office).


Commenting on the H1 2023 figures, Dublin Port’s Chief Executive, Barry O’Connell, said:

“Lower international and domestic economic activity has seen our volumes slightly down in the first half of 2023. This comes on the back of a very strong first half in 2022 where volumes increased by 10% vs 2021. The second half of 2022 was flat in terms of growth rates, so we are expecting modest positive growth in the second half of 2023 as markets recover.

“A dip is not unusual and reflects the ebb and flow of imports and exports in a more cautious economic environment. In the medium to long term, we still expect to see continued growth in volumes as the economy rebounds and consumer sentiment steadies. As recently as June there was a 1.1% rise in exports, a notable shift from the average monthly decline of -4.4% over the preceding five months. This tallies with market and CSO commentary on Ireland’s exit from a technical recession.

“Overall, Dublin continues to outperform the all-island market in both Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo, underscoring continued demand for the world-class route to market offering here.

“With Dublin Port accounting for 80% of Ireland’s containerised trade, 91% of UK trade and 68% of trade with mainland Europe, it remains a critical enabler of Ireland’s economy. Providing capacity for future economic growth is our core imperative and I am pleased to say that the first of three expansion plans have been completed (ABR Project), the second is underway (MP2 Project) and the third and final development plan, the 3FM project, is at an advanced design stage and will be submitted later this year for planning.”


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