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Port Figures in UK Show Extent of Trade Downturn

14th September 2020
Port volumes in the UK fell by a fifth during the Q2 of this year as the pandemic took its toll on economic activity. Passenger and unitised cargoes saw the steepest downturns. Above: AFLOAT identifies a shipping scene of the former Irish 'homeported' cruiseship Magellan of operator CMV (in June went into administration) at Tilbury Docks, London where the aptly named tug Svitzer London assists a tanker on the Thames estuary. Port volumes in the UK fell by a fifth during the Q2 of this year as the pandemic took its toll on economic activity. Passenger and unitised cargoes saw the steepest downturns. Above: AFLOAT identifies a shipping scene of the former Irish 'homeported' cruiseship Magellan of operator CMV (in June went into administration) at Tilbury Docks, London where the aptly named tug Svitzer London assists a tanker on the Thames estuary. Photo: Port of London Authority

Freight tonnage volumes moving through the UK’s ports fell by nearly a fifth in the second quarter of 2020, as the full impact of the pandemic took its toll, according to figures from the Department of Transport.

Total volumes fell, LloydsLoadingList reports, by 18% to 96.1m tonnes, but the effect on unitised freight carried by containers, trucks and trailers fell by 44% to 3.2m units.

The figures followed a first-quarter fall in volumes of 6% compared with the previous year and confirmed the impact of the coronavirus backdrop on trade flows.

“The dramatic fall in unitised traffic during this period is not surprising, as containers and freight carried by trucks are a good barometer of the performance of the overall economy,” said British Ports Association policy analyst Phoebe Warneford-Thomson.

“This fall represents a decline in finished goods bound for the high street as well as raw materials for manufacturing sites, both of which largely suspended operations during the lockdown.”

For futher analysis of the figures including ferry passenger traffic consult here.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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