Business

Port on ‘Point’ to deliver continued growth in 2021

Tonnage held up well at Warrenpoint Port in 2020, dipping less than 5 per cent on 2019 volumes despite lockdown and a complete drop off in trade for part of the year
Tonnage held up well at Warrenpoint Port in 2020, dipping less than 5 per cent on 2019 volumes despite lockdown and a complete drop off in trade for part of the year Tonnage held up well at Warrenpoint Port in 2020, dipping less than 5 per cent on 2019 volumes despite lockdown and a complete drop off in trade for part of the year

WARRENPOINT Port revealed that its tonnage for 2020 held up well despite a "completely unpredictable year" marred by the impact of Covid-19 and uncertainty around the lead-in to Brexit.

Its tonnage was down by less than 5 per cent on 2019 volumes and only 0.9 per cent behind pre-Covid expected volumes, despite the lockdown and a complete drop off in trade for a huge part of the year.

Warrenpoint is the north's second largest port by volume, handling around 12 per cent of all the region's port activity, with 45 per cent export and 55 per cent import.

It also spend more than £1.4 million last year in capital expenditure, including new internal roadways, replacing redundant buildings and purchasing new plant and machinery.

Chief executive David Holmes attributed the robust figures to a number of factors including a strong relationship with existing customers, an investment in the port team, and a focused effort by hauliers to front-load prior to Brexit and to find routes that minimise disruption post-Brexit.

He said: “We've been in a period of transition and change since I joined the Port in August 2019 and spent the best part of 2020 preparing for what impact Brexit would have on our services, while also dealing with a global pandemic.

“We continue to do this as we navigate new systems and processes with our customers, and we've have had some success including the granting of Office of Transit Status and Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status.

“AEO is an internationally recognised quality mark that shows your business’s role in the international supply chain is secure and has customs control procedures that meet UK and EU standards.

“And Office of Transit status means Warrenpoint Port can be used as an office of departure or office of destination for any unitised cargoes transiting the port. This may be used for goods with origin or destination in the EU.”

He added: “It has certainly been a challenging year but one which we have worked together as a team and delivered for our customers.

“Managing Covid-19 and protecting our employees has been a key theme across the last 12 months. Like Brexit it is a challenge that we continue to navigate. We have however, continued to improve our internal communications as well as working on our place in the community.”

David said: “I'm extremely proud of what the team has achieved in 2020 and how we turned the year around after the first lockdown. I thank them for the effort and commitment they put in to making Warrenpoint Port such a vital component of our island economy.

“But we can all see from the start of this year how important it is for us to keep goods flowing. We are poised and ready to continue to do this in 2021 with new and existing customers.

“We're ready for the challenges that lie ahead, and look forward to working with our local community, our customers, and stakeholders to deliver post Covid economic recovery for our area when the time comes.”

David paid tribute to outgoing chairman Stan McIlvenney for his contribution to the Trust Port over the last five years and said he looks forward welcoming new chair Dr Gerard O'Hare, who begins a five-year term this month.