#shipping – Irish shipping and port activity rose up 11% in the second quarter of 2013 when compared to the corresponding period of 2012, according to the latest quarterly iShip Index and quarterly traffic review published today by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO). The iShip index was at 880 points equalling its highest level since 2008. The latest analysis also indicates that four of the five principal domestic freight segments grew in the second quarter of 2013.
A large share of the growth in the last quarter has been driven by demand in the dry bulk sector which has been the strongest performing freight segment over the last three quarters, growing by 26% to 4.08 million tonnes in Quarter 2. Dry bulk shipments, typically grain, agricultural products and aggregates, make up the largest volume weighting of the iShip Index. Dry bulk commodities, such as coal, animal feed and fertilizers, all showed increased volume imports at Irish ports during the second quarter.
Roll on/roll off trailer volumes increased by 8% to 229,772 units. The majority of roll on/roll off traffic moves between Ireland and Great Britain, our largest trading partner. This trade grew by 6% as demand conditions in the UK improved. The latest economic data for the UK shows signs of a recovery which has translated into improved freight market conditions over the summer months. The rise in this sector was also helped by a stronger performance in direct continental volumes (up 26%) which were also boosted by additional vessel capacity on some of the direct continental routes earlier this year.
Container traffic (lift on/lift off) fell by 1% to 147,203 units. This sector is a key distribution channel for Irish exports and imports to long-haul markets, including Asia and the US, as well as Europe. Exports, as a subset of the total container volume, were flat as global economic conditions continued to impinge on demand. Nevertheless, strong volumes were reported in the export of meat and dairy products.
Elsewhere, imports of petroleum based commodities in tanker vessels for use in the domestic market increased by 4% to 2.58 million tonnes. Break bulk, which is largely weighted towards imports of construction related commodities, increased by 7%.