UK ports handled 562 million tonnes (Mt) of freight traffic in 2008, 19 million tonnes (3 per cent) less than in 2007, and 6 million tonnes (1 per cent) less than in 1998.
Compared with 2007, inward traffic fell by 11 Mt (3 per cent) to 346 Mt and outward traffic fell by 8 Mt (4 per cent) to 216 Mt. Over the ten years since 1998 inward traffic has increased by 13 per cent and outward traffic has decreased by 18 per cent. Liquid bulk traffic accounted for 43 per cent of the total, dry bulks 23.5 per cent, container and roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) traffic 29 per cent and other cargo 4.5 per cent. Liquid bulk traffic was 4 per cent lower than in 2007, and 16 per cent down on 1998. Dry bulk traffic was marginally lower than in 2007, but 12 per cent up on 1998. Container and ro-ro traffic was 3 per cent down on 2007, and 23 per cent up on 1998.
The leading ports by tonnage in 2008 were: Grimsby & Immingham (65.3 Mt), London (53.0 Mt), Tees and Hartlepool (45.4 Mt), Southampton (41.0 Mt) and Forth (39.1 Mt).
Dover, the leading ro-ro port, handled 2.3 million road goods vehicles and unaccompanied trailer units (3 per cent lower than in 2007). Felixstowe, the leading container port, handled 1.9 million containers (3.1 million TEU), a 6 per cent decrease on 2007.