Fuel oil and fertiliser account for the majority of goods brought in during month after Ukraine invasion
Imports of Russian oil, animal feed and fertilisers boosted total imports to €81m in March compared with €48m in the same month last year, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Imports from Russia also rose in March from the €56m recorded in February. Vladimir Putin’s armed forces invaded Ukraine on February 24.
For all of last year, imports from Russia into Ireland stood at €598m, or around 0.6pc of the €103bn in total imported goods.
According to the CSO, Ireland imported almost €40m worth of fuel oil from Russia in March, an increase of €16m from February. In March, a Russian oil tanker docked in Dublin Port despite calls from the Siptu trade union for it to be turned away.
While a rise in prices following the invasion may have impacted the value of the imports into Ireland, the volume of fuel oil imported in March also increased from the month prior.
Fertiliser imports totalled €27m for the month, while briquette, lignite and peat imports stood at €146,763.
Ireland also imported €930,000 worth of wood products from Russia in April, while iron and steel imports across a number of categories reached €34,977.
Animal feed was also in demand, with imports of €11.9m reported.
The European Union has unveiled five packages of sanctions on Russia since its troops invaded Ukraine. Since mid-March, the EU has prohibited imports of iron and steel from Russia, although an exception has been applied until mid-June for contracts concluded before March 16.
Irish aircraft lessors were also heavily hit by the sanctions in March that stipulated EU lessors had to terminate all existing leases with Russian operators, leading companies to scramble to recover and repossess impacted aircraft.
In early April, the EU prohibited imports of certain fertilisers, wood, cement, seafood and liquor. The EU has also banned all imports of the key fertiliser potash from Belarus in response to Belarus allowing Russian troops to move into Ukraine from its territory.
Ireland currently imports 1.7 million tonnes of fertiliser annually, with 600,000 to 650,000 tonnes of this coming from companies being sanctioned by the EU.
A full ban on Russian coal will apply in the EU from August, with the European Commission now pushing for a similar embargo on Russian oil at present.
"The EU has been trying to impose an oil embargo and currently it seems to be sticking with Hungary against,” said economist Edgar Morgenroth.
"It’s possible to do an embargo without Hungary so that could immediately knock out that oil product, halving the trade.”
The Dublin City University professor says imports from Russia are not expected to maintain this momentum.
“Russia will find it hard to get stuff out even if it’s not sanctioned. Maersk is no longer doing business with Russia. There’s a big impact on containerised trade,” he said.
"You would probably expect the trade to go down next quarter.”