Irish Port and Shipping volumes continue slowdown in 3rd quarter

Irish Port and Shipping volumes continue slowdown in 3rd quarterThe volume of shipping and port traffic through the Republic of Ireland continued to decline during the third quarter of 2011. This is according to the latest analysis of traffic figures released today by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO).

The third quarter data indicates that only 1 of the 5 principal freight segments had any growth over the third quarter, while all other segments declined compared to the same period last year;

Key third quarter data:-

  • Lift-on/Lift-off (lo/lo) trades were down 5%.
  • Roll-on/Roll-off export traffic was down by 2%.
  • Dry bulk volumes increased by 2%,
  • Break bulk volumes were down by 3%
  • The Tanker/Liquid bulk market was down 7%.

The lift on / lift off (lo/lo) container sector declined by 5% over the third quarter with total volume falling by 1% for the first 9 months to 462,810 TEUs.
Exports as a subset of these figures grew by 4% in the third quarter and by 6% for the first 9 months, with continuing export demand to overseas markets such as the North America and Asia remaining strong.

Imports fell by 11% in the third quarter, down 5% in total for the first 9 months of the year. This represents the 15th consecutive quarter of declining import volumes as consumption remains weak in the domestic economy.

Roll-on/roll-off (ro/ro) traffic declined in the Republic of Ireland by 2% in the third quarter of this year with 209,782 freight units handled which resulted in no overall growth for the first 9 months of 2011. The Ro/Ro sector is heavily weighted to traffic movement to and from the United Kingdom, our largest trading partner. The British economy has also shown very modest growth in the first 9 months of this year which has been hindered by the slowdown in its main trading partners.

Dry bulk volumes saw modest growth through Irish ports during the third quarter with a 2% increase to 3.1 million tons. This continues the positive quarterly returns in the market, as this sector is up 9% for the first 9 months of 2011. The main dry bulk gains have been distributed to larger ports with some smaller regional ports still in negative territory.

Liquid bulk volumes and importation of tanker based petroleum products, such as oil, declined by 7% in the third quarter due to weaker domestic and international transshipment demand at the main refinery facilities and is down 9% for the first 9 months of 2011.

The Break bulk sector is the smallest of the five markets and is primarily made up of shipments of construction related materials and in more recent times wind farm components; this market decreased by 3% for the third quarter but increased by 5% for the first 9 months for a total of 682,815 metric tonnes.

The steady rise of bunker fuel prices continued into the 3rd Quarter and   has also negatively impacted on the daily operating costs of Irish based operators.

The short run outlook for the sector remains challenging as continued uncertainty in the European and wider Global Economy continues to weaken market demand and impact on consumer confidence.

Q3 Bulk 2011

Q3 2001 Laden

Statement issued by Mr. Glenn Murphy, Director, Irish Maritime Development Office, November 23rd 2011


For further information, please contact:  

Dr. John Joyce – Communications Manager, Marine Institute.

087 2250871

For further information or data information, contact:  

Glenn Murphy - Director IMDO - 01 476 6500 or                            

Notes to Editor


The Irish Maritime Development Office

The Irish Maritime Development Office is national agency under the auspices of the Department of Transport charged with the responsibility for undertaking the following activities through its statutory remit.      

Glossary :

TEU= Twenty Foot Equivalent Units.
Ro/Ro = Roll-on/Roll-off container units
Lo/Lo = Load-on/Load-off container units