Dublin Port aims to host record two million passengers this year

Company behind capital’s main port also reports strong pick-up in cargo volumes

The company behind Dublin Port said it expects to see a record two million visitors pass through the port this year on the back of strong growth in passenger numbers from ferry and crusie ships .

Dublin Port Company also reported a 5 per cent rise in cargo volumes for the first six months of this year, noting that recovery was now evident across all business sectors.

In its latest half-year results, the company said it handled roughly 16 million tonnes of imports and exports in the year to date, up from 15.3 million for the equivalent period last year.

“The figures reflect continued growth in the domestic economy, driven by the increased movement of unitised goods - containers and trailers,” it said.


Growth was not confined to cargo either with over 750,000 ferry passengers passing through Dublin Port in the first six months of the year, up 4.8 per cent on the same period last year.

This follows investment by the ferry lines in additional capacity in recent years, such as Stena’s Superfast X and Irish Ferries’ Epsilon on services between Holyhead and Cherbourg.

2015 is also set to be a record year for the port’s cruise business with some 42 cruise ships having already dropped anchor in Dublin Port during the first six months of the year, up 35.5 per cent on the same period last year, bringing over 56,000 visitors to the capital.

Visiting cruise ships included some of the world’s largest liners such as the Royal Princess and MSC Splendida.

“By year end, we expect to see two million passengers pass through the port,”

Dublin Port Company chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly said.

In its results, the company also noted the spike in petroleum imports reported the first quarter showed no sign of abating, rising 6.3 per cent on the year to date, on the back of strong car sales.

Imports of new cars and commercial vehicles continues to grow with over 55,000 new vehicles imported through Dublin Port in the first six months of the year, up 26.6 per cent on last year.

These are accommodated at Dublin Port’s new 4.2 hectare car terminal on East Wall Road, which has a capacity for 2,500 vehicles at any one time, the company noted.

Unitised trade grew strongly across both roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) and lift-on, lift-off (LoLo) modes. When compared to the same period last year, Ro-Ro trailers grew by 6.4 per cent while the port’s Lo-Lo container business, grew by almost 10 per cent. “This had been the worst affected cargo mode during the recession but is now recovering solidly,” the company said.

Mr O’Reilly said: “ We are very encouraged by the spread of this growth across all modes and between imports and exports. “

“ Having seen 10 per cent growth in cargo volumes over 2013 and 2014 and, against a background of strong growth in the domestic economy, we foresee Dublin’s volumes continuing to increase in the years ahead as we envisaged in our Masterplan to 2040,” he added.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times