The Port of Cork has reported that total traffic through the Port was down two per cent to 9.2 million tonnes in 2020.
The dip in trade traffic is a direct result of the challenges posed by Covid 19 and the cancellation of cruise calls to Cork in particular.
Despite these challenges, overall container traffic through the Port of Cork reached 250,000 TEUs, an increase of four per cent.
The Port attributes the strong performance in this area to several drivers, chief amongst them a demand from customers for direct routes, resulting in the introduction of several new container services.
In April 2020, CLdN Ro-Ro SA commenced a new weekly freight service between Cork and Zeebrugge.
This route subsequently increased to twice weekly, highlighting the positive demand for direct, unaccompanied freight links to the EU, as shippers look to avoid the uncertainty surrounding the UK land bridge as consequence of Brexit.
A further new route was established in June 2020, when Independent Container Line (ICL) commenced a new weekly direct service from Cork to USA, giving Ireland its first direct container service to the USA in many years.
Unfortunatley, Covid 19 impacted heavily on the Port’s tourism related activities, with Brittany Ferries services to the continent decreasing sharply and only two cruise ship calls completed, compared to over a hundred calls in the previous year.
The outlook for a return to cruise activities in particular remains poor and will remain so until the worst of the pandemic has past and confidence in that sector can start to rebuild.
Other areas of Port traffic, such as liquid bulk and break bulk decreased marginally however these areas are set to return in 2021.