#PORTS & SHIPPING – After the first three months of 2012 Drogheda Port Company reported figures well above average in the port sector with throughput growth posting an impressive 59% increase on the corresponding period of last year.
Over 228,000 tonnes of cargo was handled by the Co. Louth port and for the first time the balance of trade in the port equalised with 50% of the volume represented by imports and 50% of the volume represented by exports.
The volume growth at the port is very much export led with a number of indigenous industries focusing on the European and UK markets as outlets for their products.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie a new tonnage record was set in January when the Arklow Bridge (2011/4,723grt) carrying 7,175 tonnes of maize representing the largest ever single cargo handled in the port.
Mr Paul Fleming, Drogheda Port Chief Executive said "Drogheda Port continues to provide a strategic import/export location for our customers with a service more flexible and cost competitive than other larger ports. This is helping us to win new contracts and grow our business".
He added: "The ports performance demonstrates the economy is rebalancing towards exports at a time when our economic recovery is very much dependent on being driven by our exporting firms."
The outlook for the Irish port sector for 2012 looks likely to be testing for the domestic port and shipping sectors and according to the port they project to continue above average volume increases for the year.
In May the port can look forward to hosting its first cruise call by the Clipper Adventurer (1975/4,367grt) as previously reported. The vessel will be undertaking its inaugural circumnavigation of the island of Ireland visiting a number of destinations including Drogheda and the Boyne Valley.