Dublin Port has said it expects a very significant decline in cargo volumes and passenger traffic during the second quarter of the year.

It follows the release of its trading figures for the first three months of 2020, which show an overall port tonnage decrease of 4.8% compared to the same period last year.

The port said the impact of the coronavirus, particularly in March, coupled with significant disruption to shipping in February caused by bad weather, led to reduced volumes.

However, the year on year decline was accentuated by the reality that the first quarter of 2019 saw unusually high levels of imports due to stockpiling ahead of what was at the time expected to be the Brexit departure date of 31 March 2019.
 

"Against the background of an exceptionally buoyant first quarter in 2019 because of Brexit, we did not expect to see continued strong growth in Q1 2020," said Eamonn O'Reilly, chief executive of Dublin Port.

"The not too disappointing figures for Q1 2020 are irrelevant, however, as we look ahead to the second quarter during which we will see a very significant decline in volumes across all cargo modes and in passenger traffic" he said.

The number of ferry passengers arriving and leaving through Dublin Port over the quarter was also down significantly, falling 17.8% year on year.

The number of tourist vehicles fell by 18.0% to 67,000 and just one single cruise ship called to the port between January and March.

Dublin Port said the outlook for the cruise industry everywhere for the remainder of the cruise season to the end of September, is bleak.

Mr O'Reilly said the workings of the port had been adapted to keep staff safe and operations going in the face of the Covid-19 threat.