Ports traffic

The Department for Transport (DfT) collects and publishes statistics about passenger and freight traffic through the ports of the UK.

Headline results

The most recent DfT statistics relate to ports traffic in 2020 and were published 9th September 2021. The most recent DfT statistics show that:

  • The total tonnage through Northern Ireland (NI) ports in 2020 was 27.1 million tonnes, a decrease of 1.1% compared to 27.4 million tonnes the previous year. Total freight traffic through United Kingdom (UK) ports in 2020 was 438.9 million tonnes, compared to 482.5 million tonnes the previous year, a decrease of 9.0%.
  • Over the year in NI, the total tonnage of inward traffic decreased by 1.9% to 16.3 million tonnes, and outward traffic increased by 0.1% to 10.8 million tonnes. For the UK as a whole, the volume of inward traffic for 2020 decreased by 10.6% to 279.1 million tonnes and outward traffic decreased by 6.2% to 159.8 million tonnes.
  • The majority of total NI traffic came through the Belfast Port (68.6%), while Warrenpoint accounted for the second highest level of total traffic (11.8%), followed by 10.1% through the Port of Larne. The most popular UK port was London, which handled 11.0% of total UK port traffic in 2020.
  • A total of 839,071 road goods vehicles passed through Northern Ireland ports in 2020, a decrease of 3.3% from 867,698 in 2019. In total, 7.0 million road goods vehicles passed through the UK in 2020, a decrease of 5.1% from 2019.
  • A total of 296,094 non-freight vehicles passed through Northern Ireland ports in 2020. This compared with a figure of 468,165 in 2019, a decrease of 36.8%. In total, 2.0 million non-freight vehicles passed through the UK in 2020 – a decrease of 67.4% from 2019.

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


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