As a maritime nation and as an economy, we are heavily dependent on seaborne transport, which facilitates international trade and is an indispensable part of a supply chain that links Irish industry to world markets. Our ports and maritime services also support Ireland’s tourism industry by providing ferry services to and from ports in the UK and Continental Europe. In meeting the needs of trade and tourism, the maritime industry has shown itself to be flexible and resilient and has demonstrated the ability to respond appropriately to growth and contraction in the Irish economy.
A recent report by the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) of NUI Galway shows that Ireland’s marine economy is outperforming Ireland's general economy, with the shipping and maritime services sector, comprising Irish sea-based transport operations for freight and passenger transport, as well as associated services, playing a key role in driving growth.
In 2016, Ireland’s marine economy had a turnover of €5.7 billion, 37% of which is attributable to the shipping and maritime services sector. The direct economic value of Ireland’s marine economy was €1.8 billion in 2016, or approximately 0.9% of gross domestic product (GDP), which represents an increase of 20% on 2014.