Foras na Mara

Irish Shipping Sector Continues to Grow

Regional Ports Show Record Traffic Growth.

The Irish shipping industry continued to show strong growth in 2006, according to a report published today (1st May) by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) and presented at a special industry briefing at the Guinness Store House. The report, the fourth annual volume of The Irish Maritime Transport Economist, shows that growth was particularly strong in the load-on/load-off (lo/lo) and roll-on/roll-off (ro/ro) sectors, with the lo/lo sector surpassing the 1 million TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit)  mark. In the bulk sector many regional ports had double-digit growth including Dundalk, Greenore, Waterford, Drogheda and Tralee/Fenit. The industry directly employs 8,300 people and had an estimated turnover of €1.69 billion last year.

“As an island economy, Ireland is totally dependent on its maritime transport industry, which continued to benefit from strong national economic growth last year. Maritime transport also continues to be the most environmentally sustainable and cost-effective means of moving large volumes of goods. We believe the performance of the sector is clearly reflected in this year’s bulletin,” said IMDO Director Mr. Glenn Murphy. “The ports and shipping sectors are important facilitators of economic growth and efficiency. I have no doubt that good international transport systems help to increase economic efficiency, support deep and productive markets and allow business and participants to reap the benefits of the global market place. Indeed, €158 billion worth of merchandise goods were transported by the Irish supply chain in 2006,”

Optimism is also growing that aggressive marketing and promotional campaigns by the major sea carriers, combined with delays at airports due to ongoing security threats may be weaning passengers back to car ferries.

“The global boom has entered its fourth year, with world growth still expanding at a 5% pace, a trend unprecedented in the post-war era,” said Dr Dan McLaughlin, Chief Economist Bank of Ireland at the briefing. “This in turn has underpinned a boom in shipping and underpinned commodity prices. World growth is also better balanced of late, with a slowdown in the US offset by a buoyant Europe and a resilient Asia, which has put pressure on the dollar. The next move in US rates will be down, probably in the third quarter, and the rate cycle in Europe is approaching its peak. The Irish economy is likely to grow by 6% this year and 5% next, driven by consumer spending, but external trade will also remain an important contributor to the economy - the volume of Irish exports has grown by 33% since 2000, against import growth of 32%, hardly evidence of a serious loss of competitiveness. “

Also speaking at the briefing were Ms Julie O Neil, Secretary General, Department of Transport, Mr Fred Doll, International Shipping Market Analyst with Doll Shipping, and Dr Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of the Marine Institute.

Copies of Volume 4 of The Irish Maritime Transport Economist are available to download from the IMDO website at www.imdo.ie or in hard copy from The Irish Maritime Development Office, 80 Harcourt Street, Dublin 2.

ENDS

Notes to Editor

The Irish Maritime Development Office

The Irish Maritime Development Office, of the Marine Institute, was established by statute in December 1999 as the national agency charged with the responsibility for undertaking the following activities through its statutory remit:

o To advise the Minister on the development and co-ordination of policy in the shipping and shipping services sector. 
o To promote and assist the development of Irish shipping and Irish shipping services 
o To liaise with, support and market the shipping and shipping services sector,
o To carry out policy as may be specified by the Minister relating to the shipping and shipping services sector and seafarer training,

The Department of Transport assumed responsibility for the Ports and Shipping services sector in January 2006.