#IrishShippingSector – Irish based shipping companies in 2012 experienced a challenging year with operations in both the domestic and international shipping markets, according to the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO).
Against this turbulent backdrop, the number of vessels being owned, controlled, managed and operated from Ireland remained steady at 340 vessels last year. The IMDO estimate that employment at these firms increased by 5% last year.
A key element in the overall stability of this segment of the Irish maritime sector has been the constant presence of the Irish Tonnage Tax regime which was the introduced in 2002.
Since the scheme began the IMDO has seen a reversal of a previous decline in the indigenous ship owning sector which has been followed by a steady growth and investment programme.
The scheme has gone from approximately 40 vessels to just over 300 vessels, owned, managed and operated by companies located in Ireland.
Latest data indicates that over 56% of the fleet is made up of dry bulk carriers, 21% tanker and 12% container with other Ro/Ro and other specialised vessels making up the remainder of the fleet.
The age profile of the fleet indicates that it is also a modern fleet with 70% of the vessels less than 10 years old and more than 52% under five years.
The industry's growth in Ireland has been driven both by established Irish shipping companies and also by foreign inward investment by overseas firms.
The Tonnage tax has made a positive economic contribution to Ireland and to the shipowning sector in Ireland. It has resulted in the creation of new jobs and investment opportunities for over 600 people and continues to grow.
The IMDO estimate that over €3 billion of shipping assets are managed and controlled from Ireland with more than 100 new direct jobs being created over the last three years alone.
In The Irish Times (dated 24 May) Top 1000 companies in Ireland this included a top 100 transport related companies.
The IMDO analysis indicates that 29 companies listed are engaged in shipping, ports and maritime logistics that had a combined turnover of €4.5bn employing 4700 people. Six Irish Shipping and leasing firms made the top 1000 companies last year.