Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Irish Container Shipping and Bulk Freight Cargo Levels Down Again

First Quarter Figures Show Exports Up - Imports Down
Shipping News Feature

IRELAND – Last month saw the publication of a report from the Irish Marine Development Office (IMDO), the body responsible for the promotion and development of shipping enterprises within the country and a part of the Marine Institute. The report was released at the European Shortsea Conference in Dublin and showed a decline in all but one of the five segments which make up the marine cargo sector. Container trade, RoRo and break bulk shipments were all down between 1 and 4%.

Dry bulk commodity shipments remained stable whilst the tanker and bulk liquid sector jumped 30%, principally due to Bantry Bay which saw a marked increase in its international trans-shipment activity at its crude oil and products facility, without this factor only a 1% increase would have been seen. The decline in the UK economy was the main factor in the 3% drop in RoRo trade with fewer exports going into the retail outlets there whilst LoLo (container traffic) fell 1%.

Container imports actually fell by 2% in the quarter, the 17th consecutive quarter drop and IMDO point out that exporters have had to ship in empty boxes to meet their own demand as this traffic grew by 1%. In Quarter 1 2012 alone, the IMDO have calculated that 5% more empty containers were imported into Ireland to meet exporters needs. The largest drop was in the break bulk sector and this is principally down to the fall from dizzy heights of construction industry volumes which, having peaked in 2008, have now fallen 40%.although the drops have been less dramatic of late.

The ray of light for the Irish economy is that with favourable exchange rates for the euro, exports are likely to bring in some much needed cash, whilst import prices will prohibit consumer spending.

Photo: Dublin Port