The Port of Cork Company today announced end of year trade traffic results for 2012, showing a total of 9.05 million tonnes. This is an increase of 2% compared to 2011 figures and it is the first time traffic figures in the Port have surpassed 9 million tonnes since 2008. 2012 was a very challenging year across many sectors including the Irish port sector with the import of goods through Irish ports reported to have fallen by up to 11%. However, the Port of Cork container volumes has shown an increase of 6% with over 165,000 TEU handled during 2012 and imports, excluding oil, are up by 12%. Imports of animal feed stuffs increased by 58% compared to 2011 while fertiliser, cereals and other trades have shown a marginal decrease in 2012. Oil traffic remained steady despite the lower levels of domestic economic activity; however exports of refined product from Phillips 66 Whitegate Oil Refinery were strong and continue to be a significant part of the Port of Cork business. Exports are a key driver in the successful recovery of the Irish Economy and the Port of Cork is committed to continuous support in the growth of international trade for the country’s economic prospects and job creation. Remarking on the end of year trade traffic results, Mr Brendan Keating, Chief Executive of the Port of Cork said: “The Port of Cork is pleased to announce that our total trade traffic in 2012 remained strong and overall we are starting to see some stabilisation in trade levels in and out of the Port. With 98% of volume of all goods imported or exported from Ireland moved by ship, the importance of ports to our economy is of vital strategic importance. We will continue to look to the sectors that are performing strongly, such as food exports and will seek to capitalise on the demand for such goods from Europe and emerging markets.” He continued: “The Port of Cork is a key link to the continued economic success of Ireland and in particular the entire Munster region. The challenge now facing us in 2013 is to continue to develop the Port in order to meet the needs of the Country as it emerges from this current recession. We will continue to be extremely active in the emerging trends and logistic supply changes to reinforce our existing strength as the primary deepwater port in the south of Ireland and build on our progress to date”. Port officials are pro-actively engaged with tourism interests, County and City Councils and destination attractions to enhance the product on offer to the visiting cruise lines with a view to growing the business further through its dedicated cruise terminal. 57 cruise vessels visited the Port of Cork during 2012 bringing almost 100,000 passengers and crew to the region and the Port is scheduled to accommodate 64 vessels in 2013. The Port of Cork was awarded two Cruise Insight Awards for ‘Best Shore Side Welcome’ and ‘Best Tour Guides’ which were announced at the global shipping conference, Seatrade Miami in April 2012. This achievement highlighted the outstanding team effort and commitment by the Port of Cork to deliver an excellent service to the visiting cruise lines and their passengers when in Cork. The Port is delighted to be supporting The Gathering for 2013 and is actively ensuring that all visitors who transit through our facilities receive a warm welcome to Irish shores. Brittany Ferries remained steady on its weekly ferry service from Cork to Roscoff and the Port remains fully committed to establishing new routes and services from Cork. The Port of Cork’s recreational strategy continues to expand with the aim of improving the marine leisure facilities around Cork Harbour.