21 March 2014

Figures for 2012 released by the EU's Statistical Office show that Immingham is the only UK port to make it into the Union's Top 10 busiest ports for goods handling, coming into the list at number seven.

Leading the way are Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg and Marseille, with Algeciras, Amsterdam, Le Havre, Bremerhaven and Valencia completing the Top 10.

In terms of passenger ports, however, Dover still takes first place with 12 million passenger movements, 500,000 more than Paloukia Salaminas in Greece.

The generally depressed state of the EU economy is reflected in the figures, with total weight of goods handled in the 28 Member States down by 1% in 2012, and the number of passengers down by 3%.

After growing steadily between 2002 and 2007, the total weight of goods handled in maritime ports in the EU remained nearly stable at 3.9 billion tonnes in 2008. It then fell by 12% to 3.5 billion tonnes in 2009, coinciding with the beginning of the financial crisis.

From 2010, the weight of goods handled increased again to reach 3.8 billion tonnes in 2011, and then decreased slightly by 1% to 3.7 billion tonnes in 2012.

The largest relative falls in 2012 were registered in Croatia (-13%), Estonia (-10%) and Finland (-9%). In absolute terms, the largest falls were observed in Italy (-23 million tonnes between 2011 and 2012), France and the United Kingdom (both -19 million).