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Dublin Port net profits drop 22pc but still beat the forecasts

DUBLIN Port chief executive Enda Connellan revealed yesterday that net profit at the semi-state company fell by about €4m -- or 22pc -- last year, to nearly €14.5m.

Turnover dropped by €8m to roughly €66.5m. Releasing trade figures for the second half of 2009 that beat forecasts, Mr Connellan added that the current level of activity at the port was "encouraging".

Dublin Port Company won't release detailed results for 2009 until later this year.

The figures for last year show that total imports and exports at the port (26.5m tonnes) fell 10.5pc compared to 2008. However, last July the company had been predicting a 14pc fall for the year.

The number of ferry passengers using the port also soared by 18pc to 1.5 million, representing the best performance for the company since it became a corporation in 1997.

The number of tourist cars passing through jumped by 24pc to 183,000.

Mr Connellan said that part of the increase was due to additional services operating at the port and said the facility had become increasingly competitive for ferry operators to use.

He conceded that the rise was ahead of expectations. Nearly 80 cruise liners also visited last year.

Dublin Port's chief financial officer, Michael Sheary, said the volume of trade passing through the country's busiest port stabilised at about 2.2m tonnes per month from last April, despite the weak economy and negative consumer sentiment at that time.

The amount of goods transiting through Dublin Port -- the majority of which is via roll-on, roll-off vessels -- remains at levels that were last seen in 2005 and 2006. At its peak in 2007, 31m tonnes of goods passed through Dublin.

Throughput for the second half of 2009 was 13.5m tonnes, a decrease of less than 6pc on the corresponding figure for 2008 of 14.3m tonnes.

The final quarter of 2009, when 6.9m tonnes of goods went through Dublin Port, was on a par with the level recorded in 2008.

Unitised, or container trade -- which includes consumer goods, such as food, clothing and white goods -- dropped 10pc to 20.7m tonnes. Such activity now accounts for 78pc of all Dublin Port's trade.

Irish Independent