Coal unpopularity impacts UK volumes
The negative impact of coal aside, container traffic rose by 3% in 2016
Freight handled by UK ports in 2016 was down 3% due to a reduced demand for coal imports.
484m tonnes of freight were handled in 2016, down 3% from 2015, said the UK Department for Transport as it released its port freight statistics for the year.
Major port coal tonnage handled fell 53% from 2015, to 12m tonnes in 2016. Bulk freight, including liquid bulk and dry bulk, fell by 5% overall in 2016.
24.1m units of traffic
However, 24.1m units of traffic passed through UK ports in 2016, a rise of 2% which represents the fourth consecutive year of growth.
Container traffic rose by 3% to 5.9m units (or 10.2m teus) - a record high – and roll on - roll off cargo rose by 1%, with 18.2m units passing through UK ports in 2016.
Container traffic with the EU rose 8% in 2016 to 2m units.
EU container increase
Container traffic between the UK and non-EU European and Mediterranean countries rose in both directions. Inward container traffic rose to 424,000 teus (up 14% on 2015), and outward container traffic rose to 171,000 teus (up 17% on 2015).
Freight into major ports decreased 4%, whereas inward traffic into minor ports increased by 8% compared to 2015, seeing 7.8m tonnes being handled in 2016.
Outward traffic from UK ports decreased slightly by 1% to 180.9m tonnes in 2016.
90m tonnes of outward traffic is to the EU, this is down 2% from 2015.
The EU accounted for 66% of all outward traffic. A further 16% is to countries in Asia, notably China, which made up 6% of all outward traffic through UK ports.