Maritime Transport Sector Performs Well in 2007’s Choppy Economic Waters


€135 billion worth of Merchandise Handled in Irish Ports Last Year

Three million containers and an estimated €135 billion worth of merchandise trade were handled at Irish ports last year, according to a report published today (Tuesday 15th April) by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) of the Marine Institute. The latest figures, published in the Irish Maritime Transport Economist, show, the load on load off (Lo/Lo) and roll on roll off (Ro/Ro) market in Ireland grew by six per cent and three per cent respectively. However the report indicates that a slowdown in economic activity over the 3rd and 4th quarters last year resulted in a slowdown and tailing off throughput in container traffic. Ports handling bulk and breakbulk commodities were also more acutely exposed to the correction in the Irish housing construction market with an overall one per cent fall in bulk volumes last year.

For the first time in four years, the sea passenger market recorded a return to growth with a three per cent increase in passenger traffic. All corridors including the continental passenger market saw an upturn in passenger demand, compared with a five per cent decline in traffic over the past five years. Car volumes were also up five per cent in 2007.

“Despite a highly challenging environment the shipping market performed robustly last year, the increase in shipping volumes to developing markets in Asia was a major highlight of the merchandise export trade last year,” according to Mr. Glenn Murphy, Director IMDO. “This can be partially attributed to Irish exporters taking advantage of competitive backhaul freight rates as a result of large surpluses of import containers originating in China and other Asian markets.” Irish merchandise exports to the rapidly expanding Chinese and Asian sub-continent increased by over 30% last year.

The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) of the Marine Institute presented these figures to key representatives of the Irish Maritime sector at the Morrison Hotel, Dublin today (15th April 2008).

2008 will see the European shortsea shipping community gather in Dublin to debate the many issues surrounding this demanding and hugely important maritime sector. The European Short Sea Shipping Conference will take place in Dublin Castle this June 24-25th focusing on trends, developments and opportunities for bulk and unitised shortsea shipping.

For more information & a copy of the report visit the IMDO website.


Notes to editors:
The Irish Maritime Development Office is the national agency charged with the responsibility for undertaking the following activities through its statutory remit:

  • To promote and assist the development of Irish shipping and Irish shipping services and seafarer training.
  • To liaise with, support and market the shipping and shipping services sector.
  • To advise the Minister on the development and co-ordination of policy in the shipping and shipping services sector so as to protect and create employment.
  • To carry out policy as may be specified by the Minister relating to the shipping and shipping services sector and seafarer training & to promote the  registration of ships in the State by any person entitled to so register

Appendix of Shipping Terms:

  • (Lo/Lo): Lift On- Lift Off–term used to denote the method of loading & transport cargo.
  • Roll on roll off (Ro/Ro): term used to denote the method of transport cargo on a vehicular ferry service.
  • Bulk Commodities: Consolidated cargo transported in a single load.
  • Breakbulk commodities: Goods shipped loose in the vessel’s hold and not in a container.
  • Backhaul Freight Rates: Shipping rates for cargo on the return leg on a voyage charter & spot charter market.