End-of-recession hope as exports from port surge by 13.5pc
New figures for Dublin Port show that exports via the facility surged 13.5pc last month, underpinning hopes that Ireland exited recession in the first quarter of the year.
The strong performance by the export sector in April is the fifth straight month of growth at the port which handles 50pc of all Ireland's exports and imports and two-thirds of all containerised trade to and from the island. Exports through the port in March were 23.5pc higher, while imports were up 7.3pc year-on-year.
The numbers for April reveal that imports via the port rose just 0.6pc to 1.39 million tonnes, while the export tonnage figure was 940,886.
Unitised trade, which includes consumer goods such as electrical items and furniture, was 12.8pc higher in tonnage terms in April and 11.4pc up for the year-to-date on the same basis compared to the same period last year. Such trade accounts for 80pc of all Dublin Port's trade.
The number of passengers using the port's ferries also jumped sharply during April as people quickly made alternative travel plans as airspace was closed due to disruption caused by volcanic ash.
Just over 207,000 passengers used the facility in April, a 40pc increase on the corresponding month in 2009.
Even excluding the impact of the disruption caused to flights, Dublin Port said that the figure for April was still 20pc higher than in the same month last year.
The number of cars being imported for resale in Ireland also rose nearly 67pc to 2,851 in the period, reflecting strong activity in the sector due to the government scrappage scheme.
Dublin Port's chief financial officer, Michael Sheary, said the performance of trade at the facility over the past few months had been ahead of expectations and that he was increasingly confident that 28 million tonnes of goods would pass through the port this year.
That would be just 10pc less than the high reached in 2007.
"Continued increases in throughput will be dependant on a number of factors including consumer sentiment for imports, the strength of the euro against sterling and renewed growth in the economies of our main trading partners," he said.
Davy Stockbrokers recently estimated that the country probably posted 1pc growth in the first quarter of this year and that growth would also be recorded in the second quarter.
Total industrial output volumes were 13.7pc higher and manufacturing volumes up 15.3pc in the first three months of this year, according to data from the Central Statistics Office last week.