Warrenpoint Port delivers record year as tonnage is up 12.6 per cent

Warrenpoint Port now handles 12 per cent of all port traffic in the north
Warrenpoint Port now handles 12 per cent of all port traffic in the north Warrenpoint Port now handles 12 per cent of all port traffic in the north

WARRENPOINT Port saw its tonnage rise by 12.6 per cent in the last year as it posted record figures despite what it said were "exceptional challenges" in relation to Covid-19 and Brexit.

Vessel calls were up more than 14 per cent while container traffic rose by more than 16 per cent in the year to December.

It goes some way to compensate for an extraordinary 2020, with Covid driving a 20 per cent reduction in volume compared to 2019 in the first half of the year.

But as restrictions eased, there was a significant second half improvement, with the deficit reduced to just minus 4.2 per cent on 2019 volumes.

Warrenpoint now handles 12 per cent of all port activity in the north, with 51 per cent export and 49 per cent import in 2021, which marks a shift over last two years as historically the port would have been a net importer.

David Holmes, chief executive at Warrenpoint Port, said: “2021 was another extremely challenging year. Our team were tested to the limits in terms of Covid-19 and in delivering to meet demand throughout the restrictions.

“We recorded a tremendous year, with Warrenpoint really delivering as an economic driver for the region and offering resilience in the regional infrastructure network outside of Belfast.

“The port has put more than £10 million GVA back into the local economy in the last 12 months. And with a recruitment drive in 2021, the full-time team has increased to more than 70 and indirectly generates more than 400 additional jobs through port activities.”

He added: “All commodities and formats showed strong favourable growth, while support from Department of Infrastructure in 2021 allowed the port to invest in Covid safety measures and equipment which greatly benefited the productivity capacity at the site during the pandemic.”

During 2021, Warrenpoint Port continued its investment in, and outreach to, the local community.

It hosted a Big Spring Litter Pick, supported local initiatives including a water safety campaign for young people and a fundraising activity for local walking group, the Hiking Hens.

The port hosted its second annual Community Christmas Fund, raising more than £22,000 which has been distributed to 43 different local organisations. This brings the total raised over the last two years to more than £34,000.

The port continues to drive its ‘open door’ policy with quarterly community ezines called ‘On Board’ and quarterly meetings with locally elected representatives.