Port sees 10pc fall in passenger numbers
Passenger numbers at Dublin Port fell by almost 10pc in the first quarter of this year, according to latest data released by the Dublin Port Company.
The number of passengers travelling through Dublin by sea dropped by 9.3pc in the first three months of the year to a total number of 270,171.
In addition, Dublin Port said that there had been a fall of 4.9pc in tourist vehicles over the same period compared to 2016, with more than 4,000 fewer vehicles using the port over the months in question.
Those figures will be of concern to Irish policymakers who were put on alert earlier this month following data released that showed tourism numbers from the UK had fallen by 5.9pc between December and February.
Dublin Port said the drop in numbers could be attributed to Easter falling in April this year.
On a more positive note, the data showed there was a rise of 1.9pc in the number of trade vehicles passing through.
The fall in tourism numbers is at odds with the other activity in the port, with freight tonnage passing through of 8.7 million for the first three months, a rise of 4.2pc.
The Dublin Port Company added it will pay a dividend of almost €12m to the State this year.
The dividend payment will account for 30pc of last year's profit and surpasses the €10.9m paid in 2016.
The company has now contributed just over €100m to the State since 2007.
There were a total of 1,843 ship arrivals during the three-month period, an average of 20 ship a day.
Turnover at the company rose by 5.1pc last year, with the group's EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) up by 8.8pc to €53.6m. Overall, growth at the port has risen by 25pc since 2013.
"Long-term growth requires additional capacity and we have a 10-year €600m capital investment programme well under way to make sure that Dublin Port can continue to meet demand between now and 2040," said Eamonn O'Reilly, chief executive of the Dublin Port Company.
"Alongside our large planned expenditure on capital projects, it is important that we continue to pay a dividend to the State and I am delighted that we are in a position this year to pay an €11.7m dividend, equivalent to 30pc of last year's profits," Mr O'Reilly added.
The port hit the headlines for other reasons in January of this year after almost €40m worth of cannabis was seized following an operation involving Gardaí and Revenue officers targeting organised crime gangs.
The drugs are believed to have been destined for the notorious Kinahan cartel.