The figures which take into consideration all UK major and minor port tonnages for the year, confirm that there was a continued but modest growth in Roll-on Roll-off (Ro-Ro) traffic, which amounts for a sizeable proportion of our trade with European countries.


Unitised traffic also grew marginally in 2017 to 24.1 million units in 2017, which is the fifth consecutive year of growth. Unitised traffic has increased 16% since 2012. However, in terms of weight the overall unitised tonnages were very slightly down. Container traffic was reduced slightly, with a 1% decline on imports and a 4% reduction of outward traffic. Both liquid bulk and dry bulk passing through UK ports decreased by 1% in 2017 however other general cargo rose by 8% to 18.8 million tonnes in 2017.

The figures also show that about two-thirds of UK port traffic was in an inwards direction. A total of 300.9 million tonnes entered UK major ports in 2017, compared to 180.9 million tonnes departing although there was continued growth in the UK exports last year.

According to BPA, these number indicate the importance of agreeing a post Brexit deal with the EU that preserves the  advantages of Customs Union and Single Market membership.

The DfT’s figures also highlight the significance of ‘Roll-on Roll-off’ HGV vehicle trade with Europe and means that a good Brexit deal, such as that proposed in the UKG overnment’s Facilitated Customs Arrangement, is highly preferable not only for the ports handling that type of traffic but also for the UK and EU economies, BPA added.

You may see the full report in the following PDF