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For more information on this release:
E-mail: Sandra O'Riordan +353 21 453 5544 Olive Loughnane +353 21 453 5281
For general information on CSO statistics: (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 2009-6380
CSO statistical release, , 11am

Statistics of Port Traffic

Quarter 1 2020

Tonnage of goods handled by main Irish ports, Quarter 1 2018-20201
  '000 tonnes
Category of goodsQ1 2018Q1 2019Q1 2020% Change Q1 2019-2020
Liquid bulk2,9372,9393,0754.6%
Dry bulk4,0573,9053,426-12.3%
Break bulk & other goods211285248-13.0%
1 Data for Rosslare is not included in this table

Main Irish ports handled 12.1 million tonnes of goods in Quarter 1 2020

Statistics of port traffic Figure 1 – Cargo handled
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Six of the seven main Irish ports handled 12.1 million tonnes of goods in Q1 2020. This is a decrease of 5.2% compared with Q1 2019.  Goods forwarded from these ports amounted to 4.0 million tonnes in Q1 2020, while a total of 8.1 million tonnes of goods were received. Please note that Rosslare data is not included. See table 2.

The tonnage of goods handled decreased in four of the five traffic categories in Q1 2020, with the only quarterly percentage increase in liquid bulk (4.6%). See table 2 and graph.

The results also show that:

  • The total number of vessels arriving during Quarter 1 2020 in the six main Irish ports included in this report decreased by 147 (-5.7%), while the gross tonnage of all arriving vessels fell by 3.1% to 50,992 thousand tonnes. See table 1.
  • Dublin port accounted for 73.6% of all vessel arrivals in Irish ports and over half (53.0%) of the total tonnage of goods handled in Q1 2020. See tables 1 and 5.
  • Great Britain & Northern Ireland accounted for two-fifths (38.0%) of the total tonnage of goods handled in the main ports by region of trade in Q1 2020, while other EU countries accounted for 35.1%. See table 5.
  • Irish ports handled 226,000 passengers in Q1 2020. The vast majority of these passengers travelled to or from the United Kingdom. (Note: Rosslare data is not included). See table 6.
Table 1: Number of arrivals and gross tonnage of vessels, Quarter 1 2018-20201
PortQ1 2018 Q1 2019 Q1 2020
NumberGross tonnage '000 NumberGross tonnage '000 NumberGross tonnage '000
Bantry Bay3117 8270 8275
Cork2973,398 3293,954 2983,639
Drogheda102273 112302 110298
Dublin1,83640,879 1,87445,787 1,78544,787
Shannon Foynes1281,753 1301,631 1101,407
Waterford117537 119663 114586
Total2,48346,956 2,57252,609 2,42550,992
1 Data for Rosslare for is not included in this table
Table 2: Tonnage of goods handled classified by category of traffic, Quarter 1 2018-20201
Category of trafficQ1 2018Q1 2019Q1 2020% Change Q1 2019-2020
Goods received
Liquid bulk2,4002,3452,4604.9%
Dry bulk 3,0913,0002,505-16.5%
Lift-on/lift-off traffic9941,0891,059-2.8%
Roll-on/roll-off traffic1,8662,0421,916-6.2%
Break bulk and all other goods1001361402.9%
Total 8,4518,6118,080-6.2%
Goods forwarded
Liquid bulk5375956143.2%
Dry bulk 9669069211.7%
Lift-on/lift-off traffic844888869-2.1%
Roll-on/roll-off traffic1,4701,5981,486-7.0%
Break bulk and all other goods111149107-28.2%
Total 3,9284,1353,998-3.3%
Total goods handled
Liquid bulk2,9372,9393,0754.6%
Dry bulk 4,0573,9053,426-12.3%
Lift-on/lift-off traffic1,8381,9771,929-2.4%
Roll-on/roll-off traffic3,3363,6413,402-6.6%
Break bulk and all other goods211285248-13.0%
Total 12,37912,74612,079-5.2%
1 Data for Rosslare is not included in this table
Table 3: Details of roll-on/roll-off traffic handled by port, Quarter 1 2020
PortPassenger cars, motorcycles and accompanying trailers/caravansPassenger busesTrade vehicles1Freight vehicles/trailers2
Number Number NumberTonnes '000LoadedEmpty
   NumberTonnes '000Number
Cork322 - 10,65413 425715
Dublin32,555 470 31,63931 129,2981,8655,029
Rosslare3.. .. .... ......
Total32,877 470 42,29344 129,7231,8715,044
Cork374 0 1270 417595
Dublin32,947 557 2630 126,2611,48029,699
Rosslare3.. .. .... ......
Total33,321 557 3900 126,6781,48629,794
Cork696 0 10,78114 84212110
Dublin65,502 1,027 31,90231 255,5593,34534,728
Rosslare3.. .. .... ......
Total66,198 1,027 42,68345 256,4013,35734,838
1 Vehicles imported or exported
2 Includes data on (a) road goods vehicles and accompanying trailers (b) unaccompanied road goods trailers and semi trailers and
(c ) unaccompanied caravans and other road, agricultural and industrial trailers
3 Data for Rosslare for Q1 2020 is not included due to technical issues
Table 4: Details of lift-on/lift-off traffic handled by port, Quarter 1 2020
PortLoaded units Empty unitsTotal units
NumberTEU's1Tonnes '000 NumberTEU's1 NumberTEU's1
Total107,229194,3931,929 34,18259,730 141,411254,123
1 TEU Twenty-foot equivalent unit = 1360 cubic feet
Table 5: Total tonnage of goods handled classified by port and region of trade, Quarter 1 2020
Region of trade
PortGreat Britain & Northern IrelandOther EUNon-EU1Other ports2Coastal tradeTotal
Bantry Bay30184-154-368
Shannon Foynes2617931001,0781032,335
1 Trade with ports in European countries that are not members of the E.U.
2 Trade with ports in Non-European countries
3 Data for Rosslare for Q1 2020 is not included due to technical issues
Table 6: Passengers1 disembarking/embarking classified by port and route, Quarter 1 2020
Great Britain  France Other2
FishguardHolyheadLiverpoolPembroke CherbourgRoscoffSantander
  Cork---- --1-1
  Dublin-1062- 0---108
  Rosslare3..--- ..----
  Total..1062- 0-1-109
  Cork---- --1-1
  Dublin-1152- ----116
  Rosslare3..--- ..----
  Total..1152- ..-1-117
All Passengers
  Cork---- --2-2
  Dublin -2213- 0---224
  Rosslare3..--- ..----
  Total..2213- 0-2-226
1 Excluding cruise passengers on excursion
2 Including other British and French ports
3 Data for Rosslare for Q1 2020 is not included due to technical issues

Background Notes


This release contains the results of a quarterly analysis of activity at the main Irish ports. The data is compiled from returns made by Scheduled Harbour Authorities, State Companies and a number of other harbours.

Data is received on a quarterly basis from the following ports, Bantry, Cork, Drogheda, Dublin, Rosslare, Shannon and Waterford.

Annual data is supplied by the smaller ports as follows, Arklow, Castletownbere, Dundalk, Dun Laoghaire, Galway, Greenore, Killybegs, Kilrush, Kinsale, New Ross, Sligo, Tralee, Wicklow and Youghal.

This is a full breakdown of all ports.

Scheduled harbour authorities
Arklow harbour commissioners
Bantry Bay harbour commissioners
Kilrush town council
Kinsale harbour commissioners
Sligo harbour commissioners
Tralee and Fenit pier and harbour commissioners
Youghal town council

State Companies
Drogheda port company
Dublin port company
Dundalk port company
Dun Laoghaire harbour company
Galway harbour company
New Ross port company
Port of Cork company
Port of Waterford company
Shannon Foynes port company
Wicklow port company

Other harbours
Castletownbere fishery harbour centre
Greenore port
Killybegs fishery harbour centre
Rosslare Europort

As the figures have been rounded independently there may be slight discrepancies between the sum of the constituent items and the totals shown. A ‘0’ indicates a value that has been rounded to zero, whereas a ‘-’ indicates no activity.


Category of Goods:
Liquid bulk - A type of bulk cargo that consists of liquid items, such as petroleum, water, or liquid natural gas.
Dry bulk - Any material, other than a liquid or gas, that is transported in a loose form without any packaging.
Lift-on lift-off - Containerised cargo typically lifted on and off vessels by specially designed cranes and derricks (usually abbreviated as LoLo).
Roll-on roll-off - Wheeled cargo units either driven or pulled aboard vessels via vessel ramps (usually abbreviated as RoRo).
Break bulk & other goods – General cargo that must be loaded individually onto vessels, and not in intermodal containers or in bulk as with oil or grain.

Tonnage of Goods:
This includes the weight of immediate packaging material but excludes, in the case of containerised traffic, the weight of containers. The tonnage of goods for roll-on/roll-off traffic may be based on estimated coefficients for certain vehicle categories. The export of live cattle on the hoof is excluded from the tonnage of goods in this release.

Region of Trade:
Coastal - Trade between Irish ports excluding Northern Ireland.
Great Britain & Northern Ireland - Includes Isle of Man and other British crown dependencies.
Other EU - Trade with ports in European countries that are members of the E.U. excluding Ireland and Great Britain. Outermost regions of Member States (e.g. the Canary Islands) are included.
Non EU - Trade with ports in European countries that are not members of the E.U.
Other Ports - Trade with ports in Non European countries.

Gross Tonnage of Vessels:
The measure of the overall size of a ship determined in accordance with the provisions of the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969.

Vessel types:
Only the activity of trading vessels, car ferries and other passenger vessels is covered in the series. Only vessels of at least 100 gross tonnes are included. The following vessels are excluded:

– Fish-catching vessels
– Fish-processing vessels
– Vessels for drilling and exploration (exception: Killybegs)
– Tugs
– Pusher craft
– Research and survey vessels
– Dredgers
– Naval vessels
– Vessels used solely for non-commercial purposes
– Vessels entering the ports for shelter

Vessel types are classified according to the International Classification of Ship Types (ICST-COM). Cruise liners are included where passengers embark or disembark in port.

The ship categories included under each vessel type are outlined below:

Liquid bulk vessels:
Oil tanker
Chemical tanker
Liquid gas tanker
Tanker barge
Other tanker

Dry bulk vessels:
Bulk/oil carrier
Bulk carrier

Container vessels:
Full container

Specialised vessels:
Barge carrier
Chemical carrier
Irradiated fuel carrier
Livestock carrier
Vehicle carrier
Other specialised carrier

General cargo vessels:
Ro-ro passenger
Ro-ro container
Other ro-ro container
Combination carrier general cargo/passenger
Combination carrier general cargo/container
Single decker

Passenger vessels:
Cruise liners
Other passenger only vessels


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