Northern Ireland

Warrenpoint overtakes Larne as second biggest NI freight port

Warrenpoint has overtaken Larne to become the second biggest freight port in Northern Ireland the latest official figures show.

The Ports Traffic Report shows that in 2013 66% of freight moved through Belfast with 11% through Warrenpoint and 9% through Larne.

In 2012 Larne accounted for 12% of freight traffic while Warrenpoint was on 10%.

Unlike Warrenpoint, Larne also has a significant passenger ferry business.

The total tonnage through Northern Ireland ports in 2013 was 25.3m tonnes, an increase of 7.5% on the figure of 23.6m tonnes for 2012.

Belfast experienced the joint largest percentage increase in total traffic of all UK ports.

Alongside Tees & Hartlepool it saw an increase in tonnage of 11%, primarily due to the amount of coal handled in 2013.

Earlier this year East Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan said he was concerned by the "dramatic" fall in the number of passengers and freight going through Larne port.

However, Port of Larne managing director Keith Millar said that, since July 2013 the market had "improved significantly" and the port was seeing an increase in the forecasted volume of traffic.