Ireland’s shipping and port activity in the first quarter of 2013 increased 2 percent year-over-year as a result of “unprecedented levels” of imported animal feed, masking a continued downturn in container traffic through Irish ports, according to the latest quarterly iShip Index published by the Irish Maritime Development Office.
Quarterly container traffic fell by 6 percent compared with the first quarter of 2012, reaching 140,681 units, the lowest level in more than a decade. Exports fell by 8 percent, the largest quarterly decrease since the third quarter of 2009 and the fourth consecutive quarter of decline. The analysis indicated that the drop was primarily driven by weaker conditions in key global markets coupled with slower growth across the eurozone, which reduced demand.
Meanwhile, imports of containerized commodities fell by 5 percent in the first quarter, which was the 21st quarter in a row of decline, “with little indication of any immediate recovery during 2013,” the report said.