Fourth record year in a row for Dublin Port cargo volume
Dublin Port has reported record cargo volumes for the fourth year in a row in 2018.
Volumes increased 4.3pc to 38 million gross tonnes (a measure of a ship's internal volume).
Imports grew by 5.5pc to 22.7 million gross tonnes while exports grew by 2.5pc to 15.3 million gross tonnes.
The port has a €1bn infrastructure investment programme under way, which is designed to boost volumes further in future.
"Every year from 1993 to 2007 was a record year in Dublin Port," said chief executive Eamonn O'Reilly. "In the past four years we have seen this pattern re-emerge, with 2018 the fourth year in a row for record growth.
"Dublin Port's volumes are now 23pc higher than they were in 2007 before the crash."
He said the growth has been driven by wheeled cargo (cars or lorries, for example) which is known as "ro-ro" freight.
More than a million ro-ro units were handled in 2018 for the first time, Mr O'Reilly said.
Ferry passenger numbers decreased by 1pc, with the weak pound likely a factor behind that as it makes Ireland a more expensive destination for UK tourists.
Cruise visitors increased by 31.8pc, however.
"While Brexit brings uncertainties and challenges to our business, the combination of investments by our customers and by Dublin Port is underpinned by a shared confidence in the future," Mr O'Reilly said.
"Whether we are faced with a hard Brexit or not on 29th of March next will become clearer in the coming days and weeks. If we are, Dublin Port will have significant additional border-inspection-post capacity available for State agencies in time. Coping with the challenges of a hard Brexit is a challenge not only for us but also for State agencies and for our customers.
"We will be as prepared as it is possible to be."