Shannon Foynes Port handled trade worth
€6 billion last year as it came close to hitting a decade-old record, the latest figures show.
The port company said it handled more than 11.1 million tonnes last year, up from 10.1 million the previous year.
Its performance last year came close to the peak of 11.35 million tonnes that it reached in 2006.
Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) said it facilitated international trade worth more than €6 billion last year.
The growth confirms that the company has reached targets set out in a strategic plan, Vision 2041, which it published three years ago.
Chairman Michael Collins welcomed the news, but said the company could only maintain its performance if the State provides it with the road and rail links it needs.
“Last year was another very solid year in terms of traffic throughput, but future growth can only be sustained by delivering additional capacity and putting the road and rail infrastructure in place. If this doesn’t happen the company’s potential to be a major engine for growth in this region will be curtailed.”
Chief executive Patrick Keating said the figures reflected the resurgence in exports and the domestic economy.
He added that SFPC had just finished upgrading its quays and and one of its jetties, part of a €50 million investment plan.
According to its chief executive, that plan was helping it to attract a €40 million investment from the private sector.
“SFPC is a really good economic indicator for the region,” Mr Keating said. “We had some challenging years, but the turnaround in our business has been remarkable.”
He predicted the port would surpass the record set at the height of its business.
The company operates six ports in the Shannon Estuary and is the biggest dry bulk port in the Republic. Volumes at its cargo terminals in Limerick and Foynes rose 10.73 per cent last year. Traffic in petroleum products rose 7.4 per cent, and agriculture-related business, such as fertilisers, was up 4 per cent. The company also reported yesterday that cement exports trebled last year.