Dublin Port has recorded a 4.2% increase in freight volumes in the first three months of this year on the back of increasing volumes of imports and exports. 

Dublin Port said that total throughput for the quarter was 8.7 million gross tonnes with exports performing better than imports, despite the weakness of sterling.

The first three months of the year saw 1,843 ship arrivals, or about 20 ships a day. 

One area where the weak pound might be having a negative impact, however, is on visitor numbers.

The port company reported a 9.3% fall in passenger volumes in the quarter but this was partly accounted for by Easter falling in the first quarter last year. The number of tourist vehicles was also 4.9% lower.

Dublin Port also said today that it will pay a dividend to the State of €11.7m in 2017, bringing the aggregate dividend payment since 2007 to €101.2m. 

The company said the dividend follows a strong financial performance in 2016, during which turnover grew by 5.1% to €81.6m and EBITDA grew by 8.8% to €53.6m.

"Growth at this level was the norm over decades before the economic crash after 2007. What we are seeing in Dublin Port's volumes is entirely consistent with the strong recovery evident in the domestic economy in recent years," commented Dublin Port Company's chief executive Eamonn O'Reilly.

But he said that long-term growth requires additional capacity. "We have a ten year €600m capital investment programme well underway to make sure that Dublin Port can continue to meet demand between now and 2040," he added.