Levels of cargo jump as recovery deepens
A surge in economic activity over the past year has seen a record jump in cargo volumes at Dublin Port during the first quarter of the year.
And with the recovery prompting a rush of car sales and more trucks and vans on the roads, the number of new cars and commercial vehicles imported through the port rose 39pc to 32,917 in the first three months of 2015.
The growth in total cargo volumes, at 5.3pc, was the strongest ever reported during a single quarter at Dublin Port, and beat even previous record, hit in 2007 during the boom, by three percentage points.
The improving economy, coupled with a fall in oil prices since the last part of 2014, has also resulted in a spike in fuel imports.
There was an 8.5pc rise in imports of petroleum products through the port in the first quarter of the year.
Import volumes at the port are well ahead of exports. The total cargo throughput in the first quarter was 7.8m gross tonnes. Imports climbed 6.9pc to 4.7m tonnes, while exports rose 3pc to 3.1m tonnes.
Dublin Port, which is headed by chief executive Eamonn O'Reilly, said that during the downturn, a recovery in overall volumes at the facility had been led by exports, but that "strong growth" on the import side is now evident as the domestic economy improves. The equivalent of 42pc of Ireland's annual gross domestic product is exported through Dublin Port every year.
Just over 277,000 ferry passengers also used Dublin Port during the first quarter of the year, a 5pc increase on the first three months of 2014. That figure will grow following Stena Line's decision to cease operating out of Dun Laoghaire and to consolidate its services at Dublin Port.
Increased car and commercial vehicle sales have been a clear sign of the improving economy. Figures released this month by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) showed that new car registrations rose 33pc to 19,046 in March compared to March 2014.
The number of new light commercial vehicles registered was 54pc higher in March at 2,846, while the number of heavy goods vehicles registered was up 5.5pc in March at 241.
Dublin Port is currently engaged in a huge expansion of the facility in order to handle extra cargo, but also to enable the world's largest cruise ships to berth beside the East Link Bridge in the capital. That project is due to start this year.