Dublin Port weathers Covid and Brexit with €44.15m profit

Volume decrease of 3.3% last year was ‘far less than feared’ chairman says

The Dublin Port Company last year recorded "a strong financial performance" with operating profits of €44.15 million despite the challenges from Covid-19 and Brexit.

The company’s annual report shows the company’s revenues dipped by only 6.6 per cent from €92.72 million to €86.59 million.

The port’s operations were hit hard in the second quarter of 2020 with volumes down 17 per cent due to the pandemic. The company had last year anticipated volumes could be down 23 per cent to 29.3 million tonnes.

However, in his report, chairman Jerry Grant stated that the volume decrease was "far less than feared" and volumes for the year were 36.9 million tonnes – a 3.3 per cent drop on 2019.


The port’s operating profits of €44.15 million were down only marginally on the operating profits of €44.22 million for 2019.

The port benefited from “a very strong fourth quarter” where volumes increased 7.6 per cent year on year “driven by the final round of Brexit stockpiling”.

The drop in volumes for 2020 followed five years of consecutive growth at the port.

The company’s pre-tax profits last year reduced by 11 per cent from €44.6 million to €39.68 million. The main factor behind the drop was interest payments of €5.07 million compared with interest payments of €679,000 in 2019.

The report shows the company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) last year remained at €53.9 million.


Passenger volumes on ferries declined by 57.3 per cent and tourism vehicles were down 61.6 per cent.

The majority of the 833,000 of passengers who travelled through Dublin Port were HGV drivers.

The port’s cruise ship business disappeared last year due to Covid-19. The report recorded one cruise ship visit in 2020 compared with 158 visits in 2019. The 956 cruise passengers last year contrasts with 332,234 in 2019.

The border control regimes faced by shippers using Dublin Port and those using ports in Northern Ireland "significantly diminishes Dublin Port's geographical advantages", chief executive Eamon O'Reilly said.

“They are characterised by huge unpredictability and have the potential to fundamentally change the strategic challenges the company faces.”

Last year, Mr O’Reilly’s pay package decreased by €100,000 to €259,000 made up of an unchanged €185,000 in salary, unchanged fees of €13,000 and other benefits including pension and taxable benefits which declined from €161,000 to €61,000. Pay to key management personnel last year totalled €2 million.

Dublin Port’s shareholder funds at the end of last year totalled €511 million that included accumulated profits of €496.5 million.

The port company’s cash funds last year increased from €77.3 million to €160.13 million.

The directors say the company has a budgeted capital investment programme of €83.7 million for 2021 which includes €51.5 million in respect of the port’s masterplan. No dividend was paid out last year.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times