The latest iShip Index published by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) shows that shipping and port activity in the Republic of Ireland fell by 2% in the fourth quarter of 2016 when compared to the corresponding period of 2015 . This contraction is largely explained by a 7% contraction in Bulk traffic which was in turn driven by a 10% fall in Dry Bulk freight. At the same time, Lift-on Lift-off (Lo-Lo) and Roll-on Roll-off (Ro-Ro) volumes, which are more closely correlated with consumer demand, rose by 6% and 5% respectively.
Breaking down the figures
Roll-on Roll-off (Ro-Ro) Traffic:
Over 80% of ROI Ro-Ro traffic moves between the United Kingdom (UK) and the Republic of Ireland (ROI). And is a reliable proxy for to the performance of trade between both economies.
In Q4 2016, total Ro-Ro traffic in the ROI grew by 7% , with volumes between the ROI and the UK Ro-up by 6%, while Ro-Ro traffic between ROI and Continental Europe saw a 10% rise against Q4 2015.
Lift-on Lift-off (Lo/Lo) Traffic:
In Q4 2016, laden Lo-Lo traffic in the ROI grew by 5% year on year. On a full year basis, laden Lo-Lo traffic increased by 6% compared to January – December 2015. Laden imports were up by 4%, while laden exports increased by 7%. When Northern Irish ports are included, laden Lo-Lo traffic growth was 5%. This figure was driven by laden import growth of 3%, and laden export growth of 7% for the island as a whole.
Total Bulk traffic for the ROI contracted by 7% in the 4th quarter of 2016. When Northern Irish ports are included, the contraction in total Bulk traffic for the island of Ireland was 4%.
The 7% drop in ROI bulk traffic was driven primarily by a 10% drop-off in Dry Bulk traffic. This market segment was particularly affected by a decline in volumes of coal and animal feed, down 51% and 9% respectively. Liquid bulk traffic in the ROI fell by 4% in Q4 2016, while ROI Break Bulk traffic saw 3% growth.
Offsetting the contraction in ROI Bulk, Northern Irish ports saw 6% growth in Total Bulk traffic in Q4, which meant that all island total bulk traffic fell by 4% when compared to the previous year.
There was a 2% drop in all-island Liquid bulk and a 5% drop in all-island Dry Bulk. All-island break bulk however, saw 5% growth, driven by an 11% increase in Northern Ireland Break Bulk traffic.
The Central Bank in its most recent bulletin noted that to date, due to the absence of any weakening in the U.K economy, the impact on the Irish economy has been through the volatility of the euro/sterling exchange rate. Forecasted GDP growth remains positive. The Central Bank went on to say that while consumer sentiment (as measured by the ESRI consumer sentiment index) declined in Q4 2016, it has rebounded to its highest level since June 2016.
Release issued by
Irish Maritime Development Office
For further information, please contact:
Marketing & Business Programme Coordinator
Tel: 00 353 (0) 1 775 3958
- The iShip index is a volume index for all freight traffic moved to and from the Republic of Ireland. It is a quarterly weighted indicator which gauges the health of the Irish maritime industry and the wider economy. Created by the Irish Maritime Development Office, the index is comprised of five separate indices, representing the main maritime traffic categories moving through ports in the State: Lo/Lo, Ro/Ro, Dry Bulk, Liquid Bulk & Break Bulk.
- All Q4 2016 figures represent the percentage change when compared to Q4 2015. This is also referred to as the "year on year" or "year over year" change. This is done to mitigate problems of seasonality within the figures.