Quarterly Statistics

Quarterly Statistics
The Quarterly Reports act as a summary of Irish shipping activity over the past quarter. They are typically released a little over a month after a quarter finishes. Once the data is collected and our indices are updated, the percentage change between the current year and the previous year is calculated, and these trends are drafted and analysed.

There are five different categories that we include in our statistical analysis:

  • Lift On/Lift Off (Lo/Lo)
  • Roll On/Roll Off (Ro/Ro)
  • Liquid Bulk
  • Dry Bulk
  • Break Bulk

Typically, the Lo/Lo figures exclude unladen tonnage and the liquid bulk figures are broken down into two categories; figures that include transhipments and figures that exclude transhipments. These figures are used to inform the shipping, maritime and ports industries and also to assist the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in decision making on government policy. The figures are also used in the Irish Maritime Development Office's annual publication, the Irish Maritime Transport Economist.

Latest Overview


According to the latest iShip Index published by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO), shipping and port activity in the Republic of Ireland rose by 7% in the first quarter of 2017 when compared to the corresponding period of 2016.


The latest analysis indicates that all five of the principal freight segments saw volume increases in the first quarter of 2017. Unitised traffic - which consists of Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro/Ro) and Lift-on/Lift-off (Lo/Lo) traffic - continued to rise, growing by 5% when compared to Q1 2016.

The majority of Ro/Ro traffic moves between Ireland and Great Britain, meaning this freight segment is a simple but reliable indicator as to the level of trade between both economies. The Ro/Ro freight sector for the Republic of Ireland saw volume growth of 7% in the first quarter of 2017. This is the fifth consecutive Q1 increase in this freight category.


 As for Lo/Lo (containership) traffic, Lo/Lo exports in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) rose by 6% compared to Q1 2016, while Lo/Lo imports remained relatively unchanged – rising by 0.5%. Overall, Lo/Lo traffic in ROI increased by 3% to 174,248 TEU.


 When reviewing unitised traffic it is worth noting that both Lo/Lo and Ro/Ro freight segments move in an all-island setting. Therefore, when Northern Irish (NI) ports are included, all-island Ro/Ro volumes grew by 6% in Q1 2017. All-island Lo/Lo traffic grew by 0.7%, with all-island imports and exports rising by 0.4% and 1% respectively compared to Q1 2016.


NI Ro/Ro volumes grew by 5%, while NI Lo/Lo traffic contracted by 6%. This was driven primarily by an 11% drop in NI Lo/Lo exports.


 The Bulk traffic segment saw tonnage volumes grow by 8% (excluding transhipments) in the Republic of Ireland when compared to the same period last year. This was driven primarily by an 11% jump in Dry Bulk tonnage, as well as 10% growth in Break bulk volumes. This is the largest level of Dry Bulk volume recorded since the iShip index began in 2007.  The relatively large expansion in Dry Bulk reflects the reality that a high degree of volume fluctuation exists in this market when viewed on a quarterly basis.


As for Break Bulk volumes, this is the largest quarter on quarter increase in this segment since Q2 2015. 

Note: All freight and passenger comparisons are done on a yearly basis (Q4 2015 v Q4 2016)

*iShip Index: The iShip index is a volume index for all freight traffic moved to and from the Republic of Ireland. This does not include passengers and transhipment activity. More information on the iShip index can be accessed here.


Summary of Shipping Volumes for Republic of Ireland:



Q1 2016

Q1 2017






(1)   Lift-on/Lift-off (Lo/Lo):  (TEU)  





                  :Laden Imports:  





                  :Laden Exports:





(2)   Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro/Ro)   (Freight Units)





(3)   Dry Bulk: (Tonnes)





(4)   Liquid Bulk: (Tonnes)





                  :Excluding Transhipments:





(5)   Break Bulk: (Tonnes)


For more information visit the three main cargo sub-sections of the IMDO website.