Holyhead and Liverpool the busiest routes
DUBLIN to Holyhead and Liverpool were the most important shipping routes last year, figures show.
Data from the Central Statistics Office reveal the Ireland-Wales route accounted for 7.9pc of all tonnes received into the State's ports, while the Liverpool route was the most important in terms of tonnage sent out from the country, at 12pc of all tonnes forwarded.
Irish ports handled 47.6 million tonnes of goods last year, up 2.6 million or 5.7pc on 2011.
Goods received increased by 4.5pc, while goods forwarded, at 16.5 million tonnes, were the highest on record.
Liquid bulk traffic, including liquefied gas and oil, increased by 13.7pc, while dry bulk, such as coal and agricultural products, and lift-on and lift-off traffic, jumped 8pc and 6.4pc respectively.
Fewer vessels arrived into Irish ports, with 11,810 docking last year compared with 12,059 in 2011.
The four ports – Cork, Dublin, Dun Laoghaire and Rosslare – handled 740,835 cars, motorcycles and trailers last year, with Dublin, as expected, handling the lion's share.