Port of Cork traffic increases 20%

Cargo handling at the Port of Cork grew by nearly a million tonnes last year and oil traffic rose 20% as the economy began to pick up and business returned to levels last seen before the economic crash.

Port of Cork traffic increases 20%

The port handled 9.8m tonnes of cargo, up 10% on the previous year.

The company described the growth as “a significant increase which shows trade is beginning to return to pre-recession times”.

However its subsidiary, Bay Port Company, dropped cargo throughput to 1.1m tonnes compared to the previous year’s 1.3m tonnes.

Total container volumes through Tivoli and Ringaskiddy terminals grew 8% compared to 2014 figures with over 205,000 containers handled.

The company described this as very encouraging, particularly as it recently received planning permission to move all container operations to Ringaskiddy in the near future.

Liquid bulk cargo, predominantly the oil traffic through the Phillips 66-operated Whitegate Oil Refinery, continued to have a significant impact on the overall traffic through the Port of Cork.

Oil traffic was up almost 20%, which is being attributed to an increased demand from the domestic market as recovery takes hold and due to maintenance shutdown in the Whitegate refinery in 2014 which affected production for a six-week period.

Port of Cork chairman John Mullins said he hoped the Whitegate refinery, which is on the market, will be sold as an operating concern.

Mr Mullins said the rise in container traffic reflected the confidence in the consumer market for imports and the growth of exports in the agriculture and pharmaceutical sectors.

He said the port’s move to Ringaskiddy is vitally important to meet expected growth.

The port’s cruise line business continues to expand. Some 55 liner visits were recorded last year, bringing ashore more than 145,000 passengers.

Their spending power continues to be a major boost to the local economy.

The company has completed upgrading works at its Cobh terminal which can now handle ‘quantum class’ vessels — the largest liners operating in Europe today.

Meanwhile, Brittany Ferries had another very positive year with its seasonal service from Cork to Roscoff carrying 84,378 passengers, which was up on 2014.

Mr Mullins said port redevelopment works in Ringaskiddy would get underway this month.

These will include site clearance for the proposed container compound area.

It is estimated that 849 full-time equivalent jobs will be created during the construction of the Ringaskiddy redevelopment.

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