The total amount of traffic that passed through the Port of Cork decreased by 2% year-on-year in 2020 to 9.2 million tonnes in 2020.
Impacted By COVID-19 And Cruise Cancellations
Port of Cork stated on its website, "The dip in trade traffic is a direct result of the challenges posed by COVID-19 and the cancellation of cruise calls to Cork in particular."
Port of Cork continued, "Despite these challenges, overall container traffic through the Port of Cork reached 250,000 TEUs [twenty-foot equivalent units], an increase of 4%. The port attributes the strong performance in this area to several drivers, chief amongst them a demand from customers for direct routes, resulting in the introduction of several new container services.
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"In April 2020, CLdN Ro-Ro SA commenced a new weekly freight service between Cork and Zeebrugge. This route subsequently increased to twice weekly, highlighting the positive demand for direct, unaccompanied freight links to the EU, as shippers look to avoid the uncertainty surrounding the UK land bridge as consequence of Brexit.
"A further new route was establised in June 2020, when Independent Container Line (ICL) commenced a new weekly direct service from Cork to USA, giving Ireland its first direct container service to the USA in many years."
Tourism Related Activities, Liquid Bulk And Break Bulk
Port of Cork added, "Unfortunatley, COVID-19 impacted heavily on the port's tourism related activities, with Brittany Ferries services to the continent decreasing sharply and only two cruise ship calls completed, compared to over a hundred calls in the previous year. The outlook for a return to cruise activities in particular remains poor and will remain so until the the worst of the pandemic has past and confidence in that sector can start to rebuild.
"Other areas of port traffic such as liquid bulk and break bulk decreased marginally, however, these areas are set to return in 2021."
"A Challenging Year"
Port of Cork chief commercial officer Conor Mowlds stated, "While 2020 was a challenging year, our port operations remained open throughout and we continued to play an important role in ensuring supply chains were maintained across the southern half of the country.
"Some areas of our trade were adversely affected, particularly our cruise business, which effectively ceased last March due to COVID, That said, with the significant efforts that are being placed in the development of effective return protocols, we are confident that we will see a return to some level of cruise activity by the end of this year, and certainly in 2022. Even with the challenges of the global pandemic and the advent of Brexit, the Port of Cork has welcomed several new freight services to the continent and an exciting, innovative direct link to the US, showing our resilience and capability to adapt, and our commitment to fulfilling our role as a vital cog in keeping the region moving."
Bantry Bay Port Company
Sister port to the Port of Cork Bantry Bay Port Company, meanwhile, recorded an increase in total trade traffic in 2020 to 1.3 million tonnes.
© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.