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Provisional Port Statistics 2008

Logo: National Statistics The Department has published National Statistics on provisional figures for freight traffic at UK ports during in 2008 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Provisional figures show that in 2008:

  • Total freight traffic through UK ports was 563 million tonnes (Mt), a fall of 3.3 per cent on 2007. Of this traffic,  549 Mt (over 97 per cent) was through the 52 major ports.
  • Inwards traffic fell by 3.1 per cent to 347 Mt, whilst outwards traffic fell by 3.5 per cent to 216 Mt. 
  • Since 1988, total traffic has risen by 70 Mt (14 per cent). Inwards traffic increased by 28 per cent whilst outwards traffic decreased by 3 per cent. 
  • Grimsby and Immingham maintained its position as the UK’s leading port in 2008 with 65.3 Mt (down 1Mt on 2007), followed by London with 53.0 Mt (virtually unchanged) and Tees and Hartlepool with 45.4 Mt (down 4.3 Mt).
  • The breakdown of major port traffic by cargo type in 2008 was: liquid bulk 44 per cent; dry bulk and other general cargo 27 per cent; lift-on lift-off (lo-lo) containers 11 per cent; and roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) cargo 18 per cent.

 The top ten ports in 2008 in terms of tonnage were as follows:

  Million Tonnes
Grimsby and Immingham 65.3
London 53.0
Tees and Hartlepool 45.4
Southampton 41.0
Forth 39.1
Milford Haven 35.9
Liverpool 32.2
Felixstowe 25.0
Dover 24.3
Medway  15.0


UK Port Traffic by Direction, 1988 to 2008

1 Data for 2008 is provisional


1. This information is collected by the Department from ports as part of a statutory survey of port traffic.

2. The information relates to all cargoes loaded or unloaded by ship at ports in the UK. The traffic includes both international and domestic.  Major ports (52 in total) are ports handling at least 1 million tonnes annually plus a small number of ports with less tonnage. A breakdown by cargo type is included in response to user requests. More detailed final results will be published in Maritime Statistics 2008 in Septmber 2009.

3. From June 2009, provisional quarterly results for each of the major ports will be published on the DfT website.

4. For further enquiries about port statistics please telephone 020 7944 3087.

Publication details

Published on 14 May 2009 by Transport Statistics.

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For information about release of this product see National Statistics Online.

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