Dublin Port sees record volumes of cargo in 2017

Big year also for cruise ships as 127 liners bring 210,000 visitors to the city

The number of ferry passengers using Dublin Port rose to 1.8 million last year.   Photograph: Eric Luke

The number of ferry passengers using Dublin Port rose to 1.8 million last year. Photograph: Eric Luke


Cargo volumes at Dublin Port hit a new record in 2017, the third year in a row, while the number of passengers travelling through the port also increased, the company said.

Dublin Port Company said 36.4 million tonnes of cargo passed through the facility last year, a rise of 4.3 per cent. The latest figures bring the overall growth at the port to just over 30 per cent since the recovery began in 2013. The company is predicting a further 5 per cent rise in 2018.

Despite uncertainty over the impact Brexit will have on its business, Dublin Port said it was continuing to invest in new infrastructure, with €132 million set to be spent in 2018.

Dublin Port’s chief executive, Eamonn O’Reilly said growth was driven by domestic demand and that population growth teamed with the stronger economy would drive volumes higher “for the foreseeable future”.

“Every year from 1993 to 2007 was a record year in Dublin Port. In the past three years we have seen this pattern re-emerge, with 2017 the third year in a row for record growth,” Mr O’Reilly said.

With Brexit looming, Dublin Port said it was was still finalising its plans for the reintroduction of border controls with Britain, but did not expect any significant hindrance of movement of goods through the port.

During 2017, imports were up by 3.9 per cent to 21.5 million gross tonnes over the year, with exports rising 4.9 per cent to 14.9 million gross tonnes. Container volumes in the lift-on/lift-off sector grew by 5.2 per cent, with roll-on/roll-off freight up 5 per cent over the year.

The number of passengers travelling by ferry through Dublin Port rose by 1.8 per cent to more than 1.8 million, with tourist vehicles up 1.9 per cent. Some 127 cruise ships arrived in the port during the year, with visitor numbers rising 32 per cent and breaking through 210,000.

The weakness in sterling had an impact on the import of new trade vehicles, which was down 4.6 per cent to 99,383. That fall was attributed to a rise in the number of used cars being imported from the UK.