SHIPPING NEWS from IMDO and P&O Ferries

*Irish Shipping volumes increase *P&O record high freight movements

The latest IMDO iShip Index has recorded growth in shipping and port activity in the Republic of Ireland by 5% in Q3 of 2017 verses Q3 in 2016. iShip index logs all freight traffic moving to and from the Republic of Ireland but does not include passengers or trans-shipment activity.

There was positive year on year growth across all major cargo markets. Notable however, was the continued steady growth of Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro/Ro) trade at 5%, continuing a trend of strong growth within this sector which began in Q1 2014. 

In addition, there has been particularly strong growth in the Lift-on/Lift-off (Lo/Lo) sector at 7% overall in laden traffic. This has been driven by an 11% growth in laden exports, which is encouraging, as laden exports are driven by activity in the manufacturing and agricultural industries. Laden Lo/Lo imports increased by 4% year on year.

When Lo/Lo and Ro/Ro traffic from Northern Ireland (NI) is included, all-island Ro/Ro volumes increased by 4% in Q3 2017. All-island Lo/Lo traffic grew again this quarter by 6%, with all-island imports and exports rising by 4% and 9% respectively compared to Q3 2016. NI Ro/Ro volumes grew by 2%, while NI Lo/Lo traffic grew by 3%.

The Bulk Traffic segment saw tonnage volumes increase this quarter by 4% (excluding transhipments) in the ROI when compared to the same period last year. This was driven primarily by increases in Break Bulk tonnage by 9%. Dry Bulk volumes grew by 2% while Liquid Bulk traffic increased 5% compared to Q3 2016 (excluding transhipments). However, when transhipments are included, Liquid Bulk grew by 13% this quarter compared to 2016.   

Meanwhile P&O Ferries has reported that it carried more freight between Zeebrugge and Tilbury in 2017 than in any other year in the decade long history of the route. The integrated ferry and logistics company carried 185,908 freight units between January and December – an increase of 4.3% on last year and surpassing the previous best 12 monthly figure set in 2016. 

Commenting on the past year’s business Nick Pank, P&O Ferries’ Head of Freight – North Sea, said: “These outstanding volumes show the growing popularity of the route from the continent to Tilbury, which we expect to rival Calais-Dover as a gateway to Britain within ten years. Given the strategic location of Tilbury – which is the closest port to London and has 18 million people living within 75 miles – the vast majority of the goods we carry are consumables such as wines, spirits, dairy, water and a wide range of other supermarket products.” 

“Freight customers like the route because we can load and unload our ships in just four hours, thereby enabling them to get out of the port gates and on to the road quicker than if they travel with any of our competitors. The time it takes for our customers to drop off and collect units at the port of Tilbury is also exceptional – for a trailer it is 20 minutes and for a lift unit it is 30 minutes.” 

P&O Ferries operates two ferries on the route – the 20,000 ton sister ships Norstream and Norsky – sailing 24 times a week in total on crossings which last eight hours each.