The UK Department for Transport has published national statistics on UK port traffic. This report is the second in the Focus on Ports series. It gives comprehensive statistical information about commercially active UK ports, including trends in traffic since the 1960s for unitised cargo types such as containers, road goods vehicles and trailers, and by broad commodity groups such as crude oil and oil products, ores, coal and general cargo. It gives information about individual ports around the coast including details about ownership, type of operation carried out, and the sorts of traffic handled. The report also includes information on UK port employment and accident rates. The report as a whole comprises information which is already publicly available.
There are more than 650 ports in the UK for which statutory harbour authority powers have been granted, of which around 120 are commercially active. They range from ports such as the Port of London, which extends 95 miles from Teddington to the North Sea, to small harbour trusts responsible for quays, piers and other facilities which are only of local significance. Around 95 per cent by volume and 75 per cent by value of the UK's international trade is transported by sea. In 2004 total UK imports across all transport modes were valued at £249 billion and exports at £191 billion, which indicates that approximately £330 billion of the UK's international trade was moved through its seaports.
The UK ports industry is the largest in Europe in terms of freight tonnage, handling a total of 573 million tonnes of foreign and domestic traffic in 2004. Each year around 50 million international and domestic passenger journeys are made through UK ports. In 2004 there were 27 million international ferry and cruise passenger journeys to and from the UK, a further four million domestic passengers on sea crossings and 19 million on inter-island services such as the Isle of Wight and Scottish Islands.