Irish Shipping volumes up 4% during Q1 2014

Irish shipping and port activity rose by 4% in the first quarter of 2014 when compared to the corresponding period of 2013, according to the latest quarterly iShip Index* published today (Friday, 30th May) by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO).The latest analysis also indicates that four of the five principal freight segments grew in the first quarter of 2014.

The Roll on/roll off freight segment experienced volume growth of 6% in the first quarter to 217,339 units. March saw traffic increase by 10% when compared to the same month last year. The majority of Roll on/roll off traffic moves between Ireland and Great Britain and this freight segment is a simple but effective indicator of the level of trade between both economies.

Container traffic (lift on/lift off) grew by 6% to 149,634 units. Encouragingly container imports have now risen for two consecutive quarters; Q4 2013 +3% and Q1 2014 +6%. This is the first time this segment has recorded two consecutive quarterly increases since before 2008. Container exports have again returned to growth increasing by 7%, the first quarterly increase since early 2012.

The overall bulk traffic segment saw tonnage volumes decline by 2% when compared to the previous year. However, this can be largely attributed to the animal fodder crisis in Quarter 1 2013, which saw large import volumes of animal feed, as well as reduced demand for coal in Quarter 1 2014. Commodities such as cement, petroleum based products, and fertiliser all saw volumes increase in Quarter 1. Break bulk, which largely consists of imports of construction and project related commodities, increased by 57%. Break bulk tonnage volumes while not a direct link to construction industry activity, has mirrored improvements in the industry since Q2 2013.

Tourist Passenger numbers declined by 11% in the first quarter, largely due to the fact that the Easter holidays fell in April rather than March this year, while tourist car numbers declined by 7%. However, tourist passenger & car numbers significantly increased in April as expected, aligning figures for the first four months of 2014 with those of 2013.

Note: *The iShip index is a volume index for all freight traffic moved to and from the Republic of Ireland. This does not include passengers, and transshipment activity.

Note: All freight and passenger comparisons are done on a quarterly basis (Q1 2013 v Q1 2014)

Release issued by

Liam Lacey


Irish Maritime Development Office