Whilst trade through Dublin Port fell by 10.5% in 2009, trade volumes in the final three months of the year broadly matched that of the same three months of 2008, leading Dublin Port Company to conclude that trade was starting to stabilise. The reduction in trade over the year was mainly focused on construction related materials and retail goods, and overall trade was down 14% on a 2007 peak, although up 4 to 5 times from 15 years previous.

In addition the DPC note that tourism traffic increased by 18% from 2008, rising from 1.3 to 1.5m, with a 24% growth in the number of cars carried. How much the additional ferry trade are tourists swapping from air to sea, as opposed to additional tourists is difficult to know, but 80 cruise liners visited the port in 2009, carrying 120,000 passengers and crew to Dublin.

To what extent this can be used as a barometer of trade stability for the country as a whole is unclear, but any stabilisation in trade will be a welcome sign for businesses looking for green shoots.