Warrenpoint Port has released details of its tonnage for 2020 which held up significantly. It was down by less than 5% on 2019 volumes and only 0.9% behind pre- Covid expected volumes. This is despite lockdown and a complete drop off in volume for part of the year.
The robust figures have been attributed to several factors: – including a strong relationship with existing customers, an investment in the Port team; and a focused effort by hauliers to front load prior to Brexit and to find routes that minimise disruption, post Brexit.
David Holmes has been at the forefront of this delivery since he took over as CEO of Warrenpoint Port in August 2019.
David said, “We have been in a period of transition and change literally since I joined the Port. We have a small senior management team, so we’ve had to work efficiently and effectively. We spent the best part of 2020 preparing for what impact Brexit would have on our services, while dealing with a global pandemic.
“We continue to do this as we navigate new systems and processes with our customers. We have had some success including the granting of Office of Transit Status and AEO Status. Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status is an internationally recognised quality mark that shows your business’s role in the international supply chain is secure and has customs control procedures that meet UK and EU standards. Office of Transit status means that Warrenpoint Port can be used as an office of departure or office of destination for any unitised cargoes transiting the port. This may be used for goods with origin or destination in the EU.
“It has certainly been a challenging year but one which we have worked together as a team and delivered for our customers. Managing Covid-19 and protecting our employees has been a key theme across the last 12 months. Like Brexit it is a challenge that we continue to navigate. We have however, continued to improve our internal communications as well as working on our place in the community. Over Christmas, with the support of our customer and supply chain base, we were able to donate almost £12,000 to 23 organisations in our local community to deliver some festive cheer.
“The theme of communication and engagement is something we will continue to build on in 2021. This is particularly true for anyone in the local community who wishes to have meaningful engagement with us.”
David Holmes added, “I am immensely proud of what the team has achieved in 2020 and how we turned the year around after the first lockdown. I want to thank our team for the effort and commitment they put in to making us such a vital component of our island economy.
“We can all see from the start of this year; how important it is for us to keep goods flowing. We are poised and ready to continue to do this in 2021 with new and existing customers. We are prepped and ready for the challenges that lie ahead, and we look forward to working with our local community, our customers, and stakeholders to deliver post Covid economic recovery for our area when the time comes.
“In a final note I would like to pay tribute and thanks to our outgoing Chairman Stan McIlvenney for all the wisdom, knowledge and good counsel he has brought to our Trust Port over the last five years. We wish him well in his future endeavours and we look forward to getting to know our new Chairman Dr Gerard O Hare when he joins us in February.”
Warrenpoint Port is Northern Ireland’s second largest port by volume. It is almost 250 years in existence as a Port and Warrenpoint Harbour Authority will celebrate its 50th Anniversary later this year.