The Irish Exporters Association (IEA) has this morning launched the 2013 edition of ‘Trade and Transport’, an up-to-date guide for examination of volumes of exports and imports across all the modes of transport – sea, air, road and post.

At the publication launch the IEA chief executive, John Whelan stated: ‘’The volume of exports continued its growth in 2012 with an increase in tonnage exported of 5 per cent. Over the past decade exports volumes have grown by 25 per cent. International transport and logistics infrastructure are essential to continued competitiveness of our manufacturing and agri-food and drink industry. There have been rapid advances in transport and logistics capability competition from locations both within Europe and further afield.

“It will be essential that Ireland accelerates its transport infrastructural development despite, indeed because of, the challenging economic environment that it currently finds itself in. In this regard the Government’s new ports policy document outlining the strategic framework for Ireland’s ports of national and regional significance is a very welcome step forward and it is hoped that swift action will follow on from this.

Minister for Trade Joe Costello TD, formally launching the publication, commented: “As one of the world’s most open economies – exporting 80 per cent of what we produce – Ireland relies heavily on its transport links and infrastructure.  They are vital components supporting the Government’s Trade Strategy – Trading and Investing in a Smart Economy.  I am very grateful to the IEA for this timely publication, which – in addition to being a key tool for both exporters and transport companies – provides plenty of information for all of us who are interested in finding out more about this vital sector of the Irish economy.”

Rob Burrows, UPS country manager for Ireland, the supporting sponsor for the publication stated at the launch: “At UPS, we have long been committed to breaking down barriers and encouraging the economic growth and jobs that come with increased international trade.”

Key statistics from the IEA 2013 publication shows:

* Export volumes have risen from 14.9 million tonnes to 15.7 million tonnes from 2011 to 2012 while the value of these merchandise exports has risen from €91.2billion to €92.1 billion.

* On the imports side, the overall picture shows volumes continuing their long-term dropping pattern, falling from 34.3 million tonnes in 2011 to 33.8 million tonnes in 2012 while at the same time the value of these imports rose from €47.4bn to €48.2bn.

* One area of concern is the decrease in airfreight export values of 11 per cent from €32.8bn in 2011 to €29bn in 2012. The US is the main airfreight destination with 50 per cent of all airfreight and 51 per cent of imports into Ireland. The main export products being pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

* Another area of concern is the road freight dependence of Irish exports and the rising difficulties of using the UK land bridge to mainland Europe. The EU policy push to reduce CO2 emissions, combined with more stringent regulation of drivers’ working time and restrictions and charges imposed by the authorities on road freight traffic in certain jurisdictions such as the UK and France is likely to have significant impact on Ireland’s traditional road freight patterns across the UK land bridge with a push to direct to continent alternatives opening further service provision opportunities for entrepreneurial undertakings at Ireland’s ports of national significance.

* The ports of Dublin and Cork are the most diversified of Ireland’s ports with capability to handle all modes of seaborne traffic. Between them they handle 62 per cent of all seaborne trade, with Dublin accounting for 43 per cent and Cork for 19 per cent. Shannon Foynes is Ireland’s premier dry bulk port and handles 63 per cent of all dry bulk movements in Ireland.