Sea Passenger Statistics 2008

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Logo: National Statistics The Department has published National Statistics on the UK international and domestic short sea passenger statistics for 2008, based on returns to the Department for Transport, according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

During 2008:

  • There were 22.8 million international sea passenger journeys to and from the UK, 3.5 per cent lower than in 2007.
  • Dover, the largest UK ferry port, handled 13.8 million journeys (3.3 per cent lower than in 2007). There were a total of about 2 million passengers each at Portsmouth (0.1 per cent higher) and at Holyhead (6.6 per cent lower). For comparison there were also 17.7 million passenger journeys through the Channel Tunnel (marginally up on 2007).
  • There were 3.4 million domestic passenger journeys (passengers travelling between mainland Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and Orkney & Shetland), 6 per cent lower than in 2007.

Over the period 1998-2008:

  • International sea passenger journeys to and from the UK fell by 10.4 million (a drop of 31 per cent) and journeys through Dover fell by 5.5 million (a drop of 29 per cent). Channel Tunnel passengers decreased by 1.5 million (a drop of 7.6 per cent).

International sea passengers and channel tunnel passsengers: 1990-2008 

  • Domestic sea passengers decreased by 0.5 million (a drop of 12 per cent).


1. Information on sea passenger traffic (the number of passenger arrivals and departures to and from UK ports and associated number of sailings, by route) is collected by the Department for Transport from UK ferry operators and agents in a statutory survey.

2. Provisional summary totals for international sea passenger traffic are now released monthly via the DfT website at Monthly Sea Passenger Statistics

3. Information on sea passenger traffic is also published in the Maritime Statistics Compendium and Transport Statistics Great Britain

Publication details

Published on 9 April 2009 by Transport Statistics.

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