Brendan Keating, Chief Executive, said:

We are encouraged by the increase in trade traffic through the Port of Cork and Bantry Bay Port in 2017. An 8.6% increase in total trade traffic shows the positivity in the markets which were showing a marginal decrease in 2016. We are particularly encouraged by the growth in container traffic through both Tivoli and Ringaskiddy which increased by 3.7%. This increase is a clear indication that consumer markets are beginning to open up with both imports and exports on the rise through Cork.

In particular, the Port's total container volumes through both Tivoli and Ringaskiddy Container Terminals grew by 3.7% compared to 2016 figures, with a total of 217,763 TEU’s handled in 2017, the port said in a recent announcement.

Oil traffic, predominantly handled through Whitegate Oil Refinery now owned by Canadian company Irving Oil, saw an increase of 2%. Trade in dry bulk cargos such as animal feed, fertilisers and cereals saw increases throughout the year.

However, the Port saw saw some decreases in the volume of cars imported, with 34,000 trade vehicles imported in the past year.

In addition, in Bantry Bay, five cruise liners visited the harbour, with MV Prinsendam making her maiden call to Bantry, the first liner to do so in 30 years. Mr. Keating continued:

With regards to tourism, the Port of Cork had a very positive year with 68 cruise liners calling bringing over 142,000 passengers and crew to visit the Munster region. Furthermore, in 2017, for the second year running, Cobh was named the second Best Cruise Destination in the British Isles & Western Europe in the Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards, a further endorsement of our cruise business.

In August 2017, the port completed and opened Bantry Harbour Marina, part of the inner harbour development. The cruise business has doubled with ten cruise liners expected to call in 2018.

In 2017, the Port of Cork also signed a MoU with NextDecade Corporation (NEXT), a US-based LNG to explore a joint development opportunity for a new FSRU and associated LNG import terminal infrastructure in Cork Harbour. Mr Keating said on this:

As an entry point into the Irish energy market, the Port of Cork is an attractive location for an FSRU-based LNG import terminal. Surrounded by existing marine infrastructure and industrial facilities, the proposed site is less than 2km from Gas Networks Ireland Grid and would benefit from relatively benign and attractive conditions.