TRADE through Cork ports jumped by almost 10% last year with significant increases in imports and exports.
Combined total traffic through the Port of Cork and Bantry Bay Port Company reached 10.3 million tonnes in 2017, an increase of 8.6% compared to 2016. Total imports increased by 6.4% while exports increased by 12.3%.
The Port of Cork total container volumes through both Tivoli and Ringaskiddy Container Terminals grew by 3.7% compared to 2016.
Oil traffic, predominantly handled through Whitegate Oil Refinery now owned by Canadian company Irving Oil, saw an increase of 2%. Trade in dry bulk cargos such as animal feed, fertilisers and cereals saw increases throughout the year.
In 2017 the Port of Cork handled 68 cruise liners bringing more than 140,000 passengers and crew to the region, while in Bantry Bay five cruise liners visited the harbour, with MV Prinsendam making her maiden call to Bantry, the first liner to do so in 30 years.
Brendan Keating, Chief Executive said they are encouraged by the increase in trade traffic. "An 8.6% increase in total trade traffic shows the positivity in the markets which were showing a marginal decrease in 2016. We are particularly encouraged by the growth in container traffic through both Tivoli and Ringaskiddy which increased by 3.7%," he said.
In 2017 the Port of Cork saw over 34,000 trade vehicles imported through Cork. "The trade car market is very important for Cork, however, unfortunately, we saw some decreases in the volume of cars imported," Mr Keating said.
Brittany Ferries recently announced a new twice-weekly route from Cork to Santander in Spain due to commence in April which is expected to add further traffic through Cork Harbour.
In 2017 the Port of Cork Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NextDecade Corporation, a U.S.-based Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to explore a joint development opportunity for a new Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) and associated LNG import terminal infrastructure in Cork Harbour.
Mr. Keating said: ‘As an entry point into the Irish energy market, the Port of Cork is an attractive location for an FSRU-based LNG import terminal. Surrounded by existing marine infrastructure and industrial facilities, the proposed site is less than two kilometres from Gas Networks Ireland Grid and would benefit from relatively benign and attractive conditions."
"Discussions are ongoing with the Port of Cork and NEXTDecade, as well as other key industry players, who are supportive of this project and we are excited by the opportunities that this project could present."