Rosslare Europort has reported a 45% jump in freight traffic during January compared to the same period last year.

UK traffic is down 49% for the month, but European freight is up by 446% year-on-year, with "unprecedented demand" for the new direct services which opened up since 1 January between Rosslare and the continent.

Hauliers have been using the services between Rosslare and Dunkirk and Cherbourg in France to avoid the UK landbridge, now that the post-Brexit fallout means extra customs and other checks for traffic entering and exiting the EU.

Meanwhile, the new regime requiring hauliers leaving Ireland for France to produce evidence of a negative Covid-19 test result is reported to be going relatively smoothly.

The first pop-up test centres for commercial drivers only opened in Gorey and Dublin on Thursday, with further "drive-through" centres since opened in Cork and Shannon, and another for truckers due to open at Holmestown outside Wexford town in the coming days.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Describing the boost in traffic as "sensational," port general manager Glenn Carr said the demand has been phenomenal, with Rosslare Europort the "number one port in Ireland" for roll-on, roll-off services to Europe.

"These results proved the strategic importance and further potential of the port to our customers, industry and our economy," he said.

"While there have been significant challenges with Covid and Brexit, I think it is fair to say that Rosslare Europort has been a shining star and great credit must go to all colleagues working at the port and our shipping lines who have provided exceptional frequency and capacity on the now 30 services a week to and from Rosslare to Europe.

The port is to continue working with shipping companies and Irish industry to identify more opportunities to meet market demand.

Rosslare is currently preparing for a redevelopment on the back of a €35 million master plan, which will see access improved, while the new checkpoint outside the port for customs, health and agriculture checks has been up and running since 1 January, catering for trade coming from Britain.

There are now 15 direct sailings between Rosslare and continental Europe every week, up from five, and another 15 returning.

Since 2 January, direct European sailings from Rosslare Europort have increased from five to 15 per week, offering 30 services to and from Rosslare to the ports of Bilbao in Spain as well as Cherbourg and Dunkirk, between Stena Line, Brittany Ferries and DFDS.