The number of freight units carried by ferry companies on the English Channel and the Irish Sea increased by 4.8% last year to 4.41 million units, according to new research.
Figures published by industry body Discover Ferries showed the trend had continued into 2016, with a 3.1% year-on-year rise to 2.26 million units between January and June.
The research shows the vast majority of ferry freight units are trucks and trailers accompanied by drivers.
Growth has been seen across routes out of Dover, the Western Channel - all routes on the south cost west of Dover - and the Irish Sea.
William Gibbons, director of Discover Ferries, said: "These are very encouraging figures and they show that the ferry freight industry is in good health - driven by wider economic factors.
"The short sea routes have consistently been the powerhouse of the UK ferry industry but it is also encouraging to see such a good freight performance on the Western Channel and the Irish Sea.
"Ferry freight has proved to be resilient as business on the short sea routes increased despite disruption in June and July last year which led to a shortage of capacity."
Ferry services suffered delays last summer due to attempts by migrants to cross the Channel from France into England and strikes by French ferry workers.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, click on the link below to sign up for more similar stories in your region.
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement