Dublin Port shrugs off Brexit with first-half trade

Dublin Port said it has avoided the worst of the potential fallout this year from Brexit even though its rate of expansion is down to the slowest pace for four years, despite a booming economy.

The port said trade in exports and imports as measured by tonnage rose 2.9% in the first six months of the year from a year earlier, the slowest since the 2% growth recorded in the first half of 2013 when the economic recovery was getting underway.

But the growth slowdown was not linked to the effects of Brexit but was due to a “leveling off after exceptional growth” of previous years, a spokeswoman said.

By tonnage, the port reported respective increases of 4.4% and 1.9% in exports and imports in the first half of the year, and a 5.4% increase in the number of roll-on-roll-off units, while lift-on-and-lift-off units, or Lo-Lo, rose by only 1.4%.

The number of ferry passengers rose 3.3% to over 775,865, and tourist vehicles increased 4.5% to almost 217,250.

Nonetheless, the Brexit effect has shown up in a slump in the number of new vehicles brought in through the port — dropping by 8.7% to 56,090 in the period. The 13% slide in the value of sterling against the euro since the UK voted in June last year to leave the EU has boosted the number of second-hand cars sold in the Republic.

Recent figures from the Irish Maritime Development Office showed that shipping activity climbed 7% for ports in the Republic in the first three months of the year from a year earlier — with all five of its main freight areas posting gains.

Chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly described the growth of activity at the port in the recent years as “phenomenal”.

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