Ports traffic

The Northern Ireland Quarterly Ports Traffic is an analysis of the Department for Transport’s UK Port Freight Quarterly Statistics, at a Northern Ireland level. It provides quarterly statistics on the volume and tonnage of traffic at Northern Ireland major ports.

Headline results

The most recent DfT annual statistics relate to ports traffic for January to December 2022 and were published 19 July 2023. When comparing the twelve months to December 2022 and 2021 the DfT statistics show that:

  • The total tonnage through Northern Ireland (NI) ports in 2022 was 27.9 million tonnes, a decrease of 5.3% compared to 29.5 million tonnes the previous year. Total freight traffic through United Kingdom (UK) ports in 2022 was 458.9 million tonnes, compared to 445.7 million tonnes the previous year, an increase of 3.0%.
  • Over the year in NI, the total tonnage of inward traffic decreased by 4.1% to 16.5 million tonnes, and outward traffic decreased by 7.1% to 11.5 million tonnes. For the UK as a whole, the volume of inward traffic for 2022 increased by 4.2% to 304.3 million tonnes and outward traffic increased by 0.6% to 154.7 million tonnes.
  • The majority of total NI traffic came through the Belfast Port (65.7%), while Port of Larne accounted for the second highest level of total traffic (13.2%), followed by 11.6% through Warrenpoint. The most popular UK port was London, which handled 12.0% of total UK port traffic in 2022.
  • A total of 901,270 road goods vehicles passed through Northern Ireland ports in 2022 – a decrease of 5.0% from 948,933 in 2021. In total, 6.9 million road goods vehicles passed through the UK in 2022 – a decrease of 0.8% from 2021.
  • A total of 583,331 non-freight vehicles passed through Northern Ireland ports in 2022. This compared with a figure of 532,611 in 2021 – an increase of 9.5%. In total, 4.7 million non-freight vehicles passed through the UK in 2022 – an increase of 93.3% from 2021.

The Northern Ireland Ports Traffic data will now be available via the new NISRA data portal, which has been designed to enhance the user experience.

The Data Portal will give users the flexibility to slice and dice datasets, run meta-data searches, filter results, plot interactive charts, visualise data over interactive maps, share results and automate processes by reading data via API queries. The outputs follow the Open Data recommendations by providing access to multiple data formats (CSV, JSON-stat, PX, and XLSX).

Current publication and data tables

Archive data 

Further information

Patrick O'Kane
Telephone: 028 9025 5161
Email: Patrick.O'Kane@nisra.gov.uk 
Twitter: @NISRA