The number of vessels arriving in Irish ports decreased by 8.5% last year, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show today.

The CSO said the gross tonnage of all arriving vessels fell by 8.7% to 254.6 million tonnes for 2020.

Irish ports handled 51.4 million tonnes of goods in 2020 - a decrease of 3.5% compared with 2019.

Goods forwarded from Irish ports amounted to 17.3 million tonnes in 2020, while a total of 34.1 million tonnes of goods were received, the CSO figures show.

A total of 814,000 passengers passed through Irish ports last year, a decrease of nearly 70% compared with the previous year due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Meanwhile, just three cruise ships visited Ireland last year compared with 315 in 2019 as the cruise industry with badly impacted by the pandemic.

Today's figures show that Great Britain and Northern Ireland accounted for 39% of the total tonnage of goods handled in Irish ports by region of trade in 2020, and other EU countries accounted for 36.3%.

The CSO said that of the total weight of goods handled in 2020, roll-on/roll-off accounted for 30.3%, dry bulk 29.4%, liquid bulk 22.0%, lift-on/lift-off 15.2% and break bulk 3.1%.