As an island nation Ireland is heavily dependent on its ports. It is widely recognised that both Ireland’s export industry and retail marketplace are reliant on the maritime links that facilitate the free movement of cargoes in and out of the national marketplace.
The national ports have specific dedicated maritime connections between Ireland, the UK and Continental Europe ensuring a reliable frequency of service and a continuity of access to the main maritime transit terminals for both passenger and commodities traffic.
Irish ports offer a flexibility in maritime transport services, ranging from Ro-Ro ferry services to break bulk handling. Cargo specialisation and traffic trends over the past number of years in the markets that Ireland has a trade relationship with has led to many national ports offering a consolidation of services suited to the requirements of the port hinterland. This section will provide an overview of both the ports and transport operators that make up the maritime transport network for the island of Ireland.