The Port of Cork Company (PoCC) has reported that its financial performance for 2020 was ahead of expectations.
The PoCC, including Bantry Bay Port Company, reported traffic throughput of 10.5m tonnes in 2020, compared to 10.1m in 2019. The strong volumes were due in part to two new shipping services from Ringaskiddy and an 81% increase, to 1.3m metric tonnes, at Bantry Bay Port Oil storage at the Zenith Energy Whiddy Island storage facility.
The overall volumes of containers handled by the Port of Cork Company (PoCC) increased by 4% to a record 250,209 TEU this year.
This growth trended toward new shipping modes in response to Brexit and the commencement of a direct Con-Ro service from Ringaskiddy to the Belgian Port of Zeebrugge.
The Port also reported that dry bulk cargo, primarily agri products such as animal feed, cereals and fertilizers, increased by 2.5% to 1.42 million tonnes compared to 1.39 million tonnes in 2019.
Port of Cork Company’s consolidated turnover for the year 2020 amounted to €33.7 million, a decrease of 10.47% or €4 million on last year.
The profit after taxation for the financial year amounted to €4.7 million.
Chief Commercial Officer of the Port of Cork, Conor Mowlds, said: “In this year of Brexit, the Port’s trade in 2020 reduced during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the areas most impacted being cruise traffic and the reduced passenger ferry sailings.
“However, container traffic, bulk trade, Whitegate Oil Refinery and Whiddy Oil Storage facility all continued to trade successfully in 2020, which was ahead of our expectations. From the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the port was designated an essential service and thanks to the work of our entire team we were able to keep imports and exports moving, without any delays in our operations.
“The Covid-19 pandemic ensured that 2020 was a challenging year for the company, both financially and from an operational perspective.
“The Port of Cork Company turnover for 2020 was €33.7 million, a decrease of €4 million. The impact on the tourist industry worldwide was particularly stark, and in our case, it resulted in the loss of 98 cruise liner calls, a primary factor in our reduced turnover. In addition, Brittany Ferries Ro-Pax services were severely impacted due to Covid-19 passenger travel restrictions.”
While the immediate future remains challenging as Ireland slowly emerges from the pandemic, new routes established last year such as CLdN weekly Con-Ro Service direct to Zeebrugge and the ICL weekly direct transatlantic service to the East Coast of the US have added to the Port’s capacity to carry export goods estimated to value in the region of €20 billion, and imports to the value of €10 billion.
The Port of Cork Company also said it remains optimistic about the return of cruise to Cork sometime in 2022 and is looking forward to the awaited completion of its newly developed Cork Container Terminal in Ringaskiddy and the continued growth of its presence in the Con-Ro space with the introduction of Grimaldi service to Belgium.