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For more information on this release:
E-mail: Sandra O'Riordan +353 21 453 5544 Dr Nele van der Wielen +353 21 453 5379
For general information on CSO statistics: (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 2009-6380

This release has been compiled during the COVID-19 crisis. The results contained in this release reflect some of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 situation.

CSO statistical release, , 11am

Statistics of Port Traffic

Quarter 2 2021

Tonnage of goods handled by main Irish ports, Quarter 2 2019-2021
  '000 tonnes
Category of goodsQ2 2019Q2 2020Q2 2021% Change Q2 2020-2021
Liquid bulk2,3852,5142,80011.4%
Dry bulk3,5473,2453,57810.3%
Break bulk & other goods28018729758.8%

Main Irish ports handled nearly 13 million tonnes of goods in Quarter 2 2021

Statistics of port traffic Figure 1 – Cargo handled
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Note: The goods forwarded from ports were updated from over 4.0 million tonnes to over 4.3 million tonnes on 28 October 2021.

Irish ports handled nearly 13 million tonnes of goods in Q2 2021. This is an increase of 17.4% compared with Q2 2020 and an increase of 5.1% compared with Q2 2019. 

Goods forwarded from these ports amounted to over 4.3 million tonnes in Q2 2021, while a total of 8.6 million tonnes of goods were received. See table 2.

The tonnage of goods handled increased in all five traffic categories in Q2 2021. See table 2 and graph.

The results also show that:

  • The total number of vessels arriving during Quarter 2 2021 in the seven main Irish ports increased by 347 (13.0%), while the gross tonnage of all arriving vessels increased by 7.7% to 66,112 thousand tonnes. See table 1.
  • Dublin port accounted for 60.3% of all vessel arrivals in Irish ports and for 48.7% of the total tonnage of goods handled in Q2 2021. See tables 1 and 5.
  • Great Britain & Northern Ireland accounted for 32.1% of the total tonnage of goods handled in the main ports by region of trade in Q2 2021, this compares with 37.3% in Q2 in 2020. Other EU countries accounted for 41.9% of the total tonnage of goods handled in the main ports, a 4.1 percentage point increase compared with Q2 in 2020. See table 5.
Table 1: Number of arrivals and gross tonnage of vessels, Q2 2019 - 2021
Table 2: Tonnage of goods handled classified by category of traffic, Q2 2019- 2021
Table 3: Details of roll-on/roll-off traffic handled by port, Q2 2021
Table 4: Details of lift-on/lift-off traffic handled by port, Q2 2021
Table 5: Total tonnage of goods handled classified by port and region of trade, Q2 2021

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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