New figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal that Irish ports handled 55.1 million tonnes of goods last year, an increase of 3.3% on the previous year.
Total goods forwarded from Irish ports amounted to 18 million tonnes, a slight increase of 0.8% when compared with the previous year.
A total of 37.1 million tonnes of goods were received in 2018, an annual increase of 4.5%.
The CSO noted that Dublin port accounted for 59.3% of all vessel arrivals in Irish ports and 47.8% of the total tonnage of goods handled in 2018.
The routes between Dublin and three UK ports - Holyhead, Liverpool and Milford Haven were the busiest routes for inward movement of goods last year.
The Dublin-Holyhead and Dublin-Liverpool routes were also the busiest routes in terms of goods forwarded, the CSO said.
It also said the number of vessels arriving in Irish ports increased by 3.4% to 13,264 in 2018, while the gross tonnage of these vessels rose by 8.8% to 264.4 million tonnes.
Today's data is compiled from returns made by harbour authorities, state companies and a number of other harbours.
These ports include Drogheda, Dublin, Dundalk, Dun Laoghaire, Galway, New Ross, Cork, Waterford, Shannon Foynes and Wicklow - which are all state companies.
Also included are harbour authorities at Arklow, Bantry Bay, Kilrush, Kinsale, Sligo, Tralee and Fenit and Youghal. Ports at Castletownbere, Greenore, Killybegs and Rosslare Europort also feature in the CSO figures.