Dublin Port on track for third successive year of growth

A drop in the volume of new car imports has stymied growth as UK used-car imports increase

Dublin Port Company is heading for a third successive record year after reporting growth of 2.9 per cent in the first half of the year.

Export growth, at 4.4 per cent, was stronger than the growth in imports. That is due, in part, to the significant increase in second-hand car imports from the UK which led to a decline in the volume of new vehicles being brought in through the port.

Figures released by Dublin Port Company on Tuesday show there were 8.7 per cent fewer new trade vehicles imported through the port in the first half of 2017.

While import growth lagged the performance of exports, in gross tonne terms however, imports still accounted for more than half of the total throughput. Some 10.5 million gross tonnes were imported in the first half of this year while 7.4 million tonnes were exported.


With some 3.2 million tonnes passing through, May was the busiest month on record for Ireland’s main commercial port.

Ferry passengers

The number of ferry passengers using the port in the first six months of this year rose by 3.3 per cent. Tourist vehicle and cruise ship numbers also increased in the period, with some 10,000 more vehicles using the port compared to the same time last year. Eight more cruise ships visited Dublin than the previous year, bringing the total number in the first half to 50.

“The 2.9 per cent increase in trade in the first half of 2017 brings our growth in just five years to 29 per cent,” said chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly. “At this rate, Dublin Port’s volumes would double in just 14 years.”

As a result, the company says it has begun preliminary work on its 'MP2 Project' to provide additional capacity for future growth. The project will create one terminal for three of the company's five ferry operators – Irish Ferries, P&O and Stena Line.

Planning permission

Dublin Port Company intends to apply for planning permission for MP2 in late 2018, with construction to commence around 2020.

“The MP2 Project will provide much needed additional capacity for Ro-Ro freight and container traffic to the UK and, increasingly, to continental Europe,” said Mr O’Reilly.

“The major development projects in Dublin Port are being guided by Dublin Port’s masterplan which we are currently reviewing,” he said. “At this stage, the review is pointing towards a third and final major masterplan project on the Poolbeg Peninsula.

“This will bring Dublin Port towards its ultimate capacity and able to accommodate projected future growth all the way to 2040,” he said.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business