Dublin Port on course for third record year in a row
Volumes at Dublin Port have surged more than 30pc in the past five years as economic recovery boosted its performance.
New figures show that trade through the gateway rose 4.2pc in the first nine months of 2017, with exports up 5.2pc and imports 3.5pc higher.
The port - the busiest on the island of Ireland - is likely to notch up its third successive year of record growth in 2017.
Dublin Port Company, the semi-State firm that operates the facility, said that growth was "particularly strong" in roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro) freight during the first nine months of 2017, with 736,462 units passing through the port.
"It is clear that the trend of year-on-year increases that we saw in the decades before the crash of 2008 has returned," said Dublin Port CEO Eamonn O'Reilly.
"We have now seen five years of consistent growth and each of the last three years has been a record year."
The number of ferry passengers using Dublin Port in the nine-month period rose 2.4pc to just under 1.5 million.
And despite looming Brexit and a slump in the value of sterling, Ro-Ro traffic between Ireland and Britain surged by 6.2pc in the first three quarters of 2017.
The figures also confirm that weak sterling has continued to hit new car sales in Ireland. The number of new vehicles imported through Dublin Port in the first nine months of the year fell 5.5pc.
Mr O'Reilly said that responses to impending Brexit include the introduction of a new direct service to the major Belgian port of Zeebrugge. The new vessel on the route is the MV Celine cargo ship, operated by Luxembourg-based CLdN. It is the world's largest Ro-Ro ferry, with 8,000m of lanes.
The vessel was recently delivered by the Hyundai Mipo shipyard in South Korea.
CLdN also operates other services to Dublin.
"Brexit is creating a lot of uncertainty and the introduction of the new ship shows the shipping sector beginning to provide additional capacity to create more options for importers and exporters," said Mr O'Reilly.
The CEO said Dublin Port is also progressing a number of infrastructure projects, including a new bridge.
"Before year end, we will commence construction of a bridge over the Covanta and ESB cooling water outfall on the Poolbeg Peninsula now that the construction of the waste to energy plant is complete," he said. "This bridge will bring unused port lands on the Poolbeg Peninsula into use."