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Belfast Harbour's new corporate plan details investments worth £92m (€103m) in improving the port and supporting renewable energy.
Handy Shpping Guide reports that the single biggest investment in the three-year-plan is a £40m (€44.7m) scheme for a logistics terminal to support offshore wind farms in the Irish Sea.
While the port acknowledges that the economic downturn means only marginal growth is forecast for tonnages through the Port of Belfast, it says "significant opportunities" exist in diversitying into other sectors such as the 'green economy'.
Belfast Harbour commercial director Joe O’Neill says the corporate plan also "sets the framework" for future development and expansion of the port over the next 20 years.

Belfast Harbour's new corporate plan details investments worth £92m (€103m) in improving the port and supporting renewable energy.

Handy Shpping Guide reports that the single biggest investment in the three-year-plan is a £40m (€44.7m) scheme for a logistics terminal to support offshore wind farms in the Irish Sea.

While the port acknowledges that the economic downturn means only marginal growth is forecast for tonnages through the Port of Belfast, it says "significant opportunities" exist in diversitying into other sectors such as the 'green economy'.

Belfast Harbour commercial director Joe O’Neill says the corporate plan also "sets the framework" for future development and expansion of the port over the next 20 years.

Published in Ports & Shipping
At its Annual General Meeting today, Dublin Port Company which operates Ireland's largest port, handling over half of Ireland's trade, announced it will pay a €6.5 million dividend to the State in June 2010 based on its Financial Results for the year ended 31 December 2010 together with a special dividend of €10 million. This will bring the total dividend payments to its shareholder to €36.6 million over the last five years.

At today's AGM the Annual Report for 2010 was presented to the Shareholders in advance of publication later this year after it has been laid before the Oireachtas.

Dublin Port Company also outlined its trading outlook for the remainder of the year after a return to growth in throughput in 2010 following two years of decline in trade. These results showed an increase of 6.1% on the previous year to 28.1 million tonnes which is just 9% lower than the historic high of 30.9 million tonnes in 2007.

Addressing Dublin Port Company's AGM, Ms. Lucy McCaffrey, the company's chairperson, said; "I was pleased to report to our shareholders, the representatives of the Minister for Transport and Minster for Finance, that Dublin Port Company will pay a dividend of €6.5 million in respect of the 2010 financial out-turn along with a payment of a special dividend of €10 million. The €16.5m paid this year will bring total distributions to €36.6 million in a five year period. In addition to paying a dividend to our shareholder we remain committed to investing in the port's infrastructure to ensure that Dublin Port remains the efficient modern competitive port it has become. We recently launched a major consultation exercise with all our stakeholders to create a Masterplan for the future development of Dublin Port to ensure that it can continue to serve the trading needs of the city and country for generations to come."

Speaking about the financial performance of Dublin Port Company for 2010, Dr. Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Transport said; "I congratulate the company on its strong financial performance for 2010 which has enabled it to pay a further dividend to the State. It is encouraging that the company remains a profitable enterprise which continues to pay a dividend to the State, in line with current Government policy in relation to the commercial State companies. Furthermore, it is encouraging that the financial strength of the company will allow it to invest significantly in the future development without recourse to exchequer funding. This country's return to economic prosperity will be export-led and Irish ports will play an important role in facilitating that trade. In this regard the current Masterplan consultation process the company has embarked on is a timely and necessary exercise in preparing for the future."

Published in Dublin Port
18th March 2011

Ports Must Not be Sold

The self-appointed group of 17 business, public and political figures who drew up their Blueprint for Ireland's Recovery were well-intentioned but appear to have lacked maritime awareness. To propose the sale of the country's ports is a nonsense which must be rejected. At a time when an Irish Government appears to have recovered its appreciation of the importance of the marine sphere it would be a travesty to turn control of the nation's primary channels of access and exit over to private interests. This would be akin to a householder, strapped for cash, selling the doorway to his home and then having to pay others for the right to enter and leave.

Over 90 per cent of the nation's exports and imports move by sea. Our ports are the essential avenue, the doors to Ireland. They are the property of the nation and must work for the people, whose future has been destroyed by the greed of private interests. To suggest that recovery can be achieved by sale of these vital assets is a nonsense and damaging to the interests of the nation.

What is needed is a clear, definitive national ports policy in which the government sets down what the ports are to do for the nation. Their role should be identified clearly, their boards and managements told what they are expected to achieve on behalf of the nation, with penalties for failure.

Fine Gael had committed in its election manifesto, to replacing the existing boards of all State Port companies and Harbour Commissioners within one year of entering government.

Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats in government had turned the port companies into semi-private entities, responsible for their own financial operations. While it was indicated that this would improve competitiveness and provide better and more cost-friendly services for users, who would be represented on the company boards, there are differing views about how effective this has been.

Competition is not necessarily always the harbinger of effective service or provision of choice. A small island nation with a limited number of primary ports could have a policy maximising effectiveness, delineating between primary and minor ports providing commercial services, supporting the fishing industry and leisure sectors. There must be containment of costs, efficiency of operation and the best services for exporters and importers. There should be investment where required and could even be provision for private investment. But the ownership should remain with the State on behalf of the people.

The ports are national resources, not to be sold off to private interests.

Those who drew up the recovery report which proposes the sale of the ports represented private interests and included are banking and speculative development interests. They echo, in regard to the ports, a similar proposal in the 'second coming' of Bord Snip Nua'. There are some aspects of their suggestions which merit further consideration, but it is regrettable that people at high levels of position in Ireland appear to not fully appreciate that the nation is a small island for whom the sea and its approaches are of vital importance.

Published in Island Nation

Ireland could yet have a Tall ship to replace the Asgard II and the Lord Rank, if a new sailing group formed to press for a replacement is successful. The news is in this morning's Irish Times newspaper. Groups representating different interests from maritime to tourism to economic are getting together for a special conference on March 26th in Dublin Port. The full Irish Times story is HERE. Next week in Afloat magazine's March/April issue an article called 'Tall Order for Ireland' gives all the details on the conference. It includes a 'call for contributions' from key stakeholders who would support a Tall Ship for Ireland. More details HERE. And in a separate article WM Nixon looks at the realities of national sail training in the 21st Century.  This new move on a replacement seems to have entirely appropriate timing; Asgard II was commissioned in Arklow 30 years ago this week, on March 7, 1981.

Looking for further reading on Tall Ships in Ireland? Click the links below:

Click this link to read all our Tall Ships Stories on one handy page


Previewing Ireland's Tall Ships 2011 Season


Can Ireland Get a New Tall Ship?

Published in Tall Ships

Fine Gael has pledged to reinstate the Department of the Marine in its election manifesto published today. Under the heading 'steering the marine' Fine Gael also says it will replace the Boards of all State Port companies and Harbour Commissions within one year of entering government. The full chapter dealing with Marine is below:

1.11 Supporting the Seafood Sector and Marine
Expanding the Industry: Fine Gael believes Ireland, as an island nation with a strong and valued fishing tradition has huge potential to succeed as a serious competitor in the international seafood sector. The seafood industry currently generates annual revenues of €718 million and provides direct employment for 11,000 people. With an estimated 40 million tonnes of seafood to be required annually by 2030, there is significant scope for further expansion.

Common Fisheries Policy:

We will negotiate the best possible deal for Irish fishermen in the context of the ongoing review of the Common Fisheries Policy. Our priorities are:
• A progressive reduction of discards, fishery by fishery and in all maritime regions in the EU.
• Protection of the Hague Preferences.
• A uniform and transparent regulation regime.
• A clear, independently audited database of infringements across the EU.
• The development of a sustainable aquaculture plan.
• A strong focus on seafood marketing, labelling and country of origin to ensure imports meet the same
standards on safety, hygiene, traceability, recall, information and audit.

Sea Fisheries Bill:

We will publish legislation to replace the criminal sanctions system for minor fisheries offences with an administrative sanction system to bring Ireland into line with other European jurisdictions.

Funding for Fisheries:

Fianna Fáil and Green Party in-fighting has limited Ireland's ability to draw down EU funds for seafood development. We will resolve difficulties blocking the drawdown of available funds. Aquaculture Licensing: An additional 42 million tonnes of farmed seafood will be required to keep pace with demand each year by 2030, just 20 years away. We must increase our raw material supply and expand our aquaculture sector. We will remove administrative obstacles and clear the backlog of aquaculture licences currently preventing the creation of thousands of jobs in the aquaculture sector.

Value Added Products:

Currently, 85% of all Irish seafood is commodity traded. There is a significant opportunity to generate more value from this raw material base. Fine Gael will task Bord Iascaigh Mhara with assisting Irish companies in adding value to their products through innovation.

Single Food Label:

We will create and market a single label for all Irish produce and will drive a targeted marketing campaign to grow the Irish brand in new markets.

1.12 Steering the Marine

Marine Department:

Marine and fisheries policy is currently spread across three Departments. Fine Gael will merge these responsibilities under one Department for better co-ordination in policy delivery.

National Marine and Coastal Plan:

We will develop an integrated marine and coastal planning process to reach the full potential of our coastline in fishing, aquaculture, ocean energy and tourism.

Ports Development:

We will support the development of our ports and marine sector as important drivers of economic growth. We will also replace the Boards of all State Port companies and Harbour Commissions within one year of entering government.

The manifesto is HERE

Published in News Update

Representatives of Tanzania, the Maldives, Ghana, Indonesia and Malaysia have benefited from the experience of Ireland's largest and most successful port management company.

Dublin Port Company today announced it has completed a training programme for five developing countries as part of its UN-appointed role under UNCTAD's TrainForTrade programme.

Efficient maritime transport and port services are essential for creating sustainable economies in the developing world. The TrainforTrade programme helps ports in developing countries build better local economies by attracting and generating greater trade volumes using improved commercial handling practices learned from their training partner. In 2007, Dublin Port Company was chosen as the United Nation's partner to deliver training to ports in English-speaking countries in the developing world.

Representatives from the ports of Tanzania, the Maldives, Ghana, Indonesia and Malaysia, who have successfully completed their Train for Trade programme were today presented with their certificates by the Minister of State for Overseas Development, Mr. Peter Power TD, at a ceremony in Dáil Éireann.

Speaking at the presentation of certificates to course participants, Minister of State for Overseas Development, Mr. Peter Power, TD, said: “I congratulate Dublin Port Company on successful completion of UNCTAD’s TrainforTrade programme. Five ports in developing countries have benefited significantly from the skills and knowledge from Ireland’s largest and most successful port management company. This programme is important for improving trade in the developing world and driving economic growth.”  

Responding to the Minister, Mr. Eamonn O'Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company, said: "Dublin Port is proud to have been able to contribute to the UN's English-speaking pilot port training programme.  We became involved in this initiative as part of our wider CSR programme and we hope that we have made a positive contribution and left a lasting legacy to help developing countries build stronger, more efficient ports for the future."

Dublin Port Company is a self-financing, private limited company wholly-owned by the State, whose business is to manage Dublin Port, Ireland's premier port. Established as a corporate entity in 1997, Dublin Port Company is responsible for the management, control, operation and development of the port. Dublin Port Company provides world-class facilities, services, accommodation and lands in the harbour for ships, goods and passengers.

Located in the heart of Dublin City, at the hub of the national road and rail network Dublin Port is a key strategic access point for Ireland and in particular the Dublin area. Dublin Port handles over two-thirds of containerised trade to and from Ireland and 50% of all Ireland's imports and exports, making it a significant facilitator of Ireland's economy. Dublin Port also handles over 1.5 million tourists through the ferry companies operating at the port and through cruise vessels calling to the port.

Published in Ports & Shipping
The latest figures from the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) on Irish shipping trade volumes and port traffic data for the first half of 2010 indicate that shipping volumes on the key trade corridors have stabilised with a largely positive underlying trend.

The midyear data in particular points towards trade volume growth in three of the principal freight segments; most significantly in lift-on/ lift-off (lo/lo) export trades which we estimate grew by 5%. Roll-on/Roll-off export traffic was also up 5% per cent on an all island basis. Dry bulk volumes through ROI ports increased by 15% for the first six months compared to the same period last year. Shipments in April this year saw the strongest monthly volume of bulk cargoes in over 2 years.

Roll-on/roll-off (ro/ro) traffic on an all-Island basis continued to make a steady recovery with an increase of 2%, up to 771,585units for the first half of 2010. The ro/ro segment is largely weighted towards services to and from the UK which remains our largest trading partner.

The most significant change in volume has been in the main lo/lo trades. Overall total volume including export and imports fell only marginally by 1% to June with 517,552 units being handled. However this compares to a -24% reduction for the same periods last year.

A key factor in the positive upward movement has been the continued strong performance of export volumes which as noted was up 5% year on year. Import volumes were down 2% which is largely as a result of continued weak domestic demand. Nonetheless the rate of decline in import volumes has eased sharply which is possibly also offset by demand for industrial imports used as inputs for the merchandise export trades.

The sharp fall in import units over the last 24 months has inversely created a problem for export companies as there is now reduced supply of export quality containers available in Ireland. As a result shipping lines have to reposition empty containers from the UK and Continent which in turn adds to the overall cost of the export box.

Dry bulk (Bulk carrier) trades recovered some of the record volume losses seen in 2009 with a strong 15% increase between January and June. Part of this recovery is attributed to stronger domestic demand for grains, fertilizers and other agricultural products, while improved global demand for steel and other ore aggregates also pushed up volume throughput.

Breakbulk volumes through ROI ports linked to construction inventories such as steel and timber continued to decline by 11%, which is half the recorded figure for 2009. Nonetheless volume activity in this segment remains at a historically low level.

Liquid bulk (Tanker) volumes such as oil fell by 4%, with lower transshipment storage for the US market and other seasonal factors impacting on demand. The outlook for continued short term volume recovery remains largely contingent on the external recovery in the global economy.

Published in Ports & Shipping
30th November 2009

Port of Ballina

Port of Ballina

Coordinates: 54°07′00″N 9°10′00″W / 54.1167°N 9.1667°W / 54.1167; -9.1667

Ballina (Irish: Béal an Átha or Béal Átha an Fheadha, lit. mouth of the ford) is a large town in north Co Mayo in Ireland. It lies at the mouth of the River Moy near Killala Bay, in the Moy valley and Parish of Kilmoremoy, with the Ox Mountain range to the east and the Nephin Beg mountains to the west. The town occupies two Baronies; Tirawley on the west bank of the Moy River, and Tireragh on the east bank.

The recorded population of Ballina's urban area is 10,409. Census 2006 figures released by the Central Statistics Office in September 2007 showed that Ballina had the highest rate of unemployment amongst large towns in the Republic of Ireland. Some 15.8% of Ballina's population was out of work when the 2006 census was taken. Unlike neighbouring towns such as Castlebar and Sligo, it is claimed that Ballina suffered from a lack of government investment for many years because it was not effectively represented in Dail Eireann.

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica the first signs of settlement on the site of the town dates from around 1375 when an Augustinian friary was founded. Belleek, now part of the town, pre-dates the town’s formation, and can be dated back to the late 15th century, or early 16th century. However, what is now known as Belleek Castle was built in 1831. Ballina was officially established as a town in 1723 by O'Hara, Lord Tyrawley.

Belleek Estate

The Belleek estate once occupied lands from the Moy River to the modern-day Killala Road. This included part of the ‘Old French Road’ which General Humbert marched on from Killala, and beside part of which in the Killala Road-Belleek area was Belleek’s reservoir – presumably destroyed in the construction of Coca-Cola’s ‘Ballina Beverages’ factory; the ‘Old French Road’ is now closed off at that point, with what amounts to diversion road signs claiming Humbert marched where he did not.

Old Borders

Ballina is located on the west side of the County Mayo - County Sligo border. Part of what is now the town was once (prior to the Local Government Act, 1898) part of County Sligo, with the border for the most part once being the River Moy, east of which was in Sligo, including Ardnare], and Crockets Town (the Quay).

 

Port of Ballina, River Moy Harbour Commission, The Quay, Ballina, Co. Mayo. Tel: 096 21208.

Published in Irish Ports
Page 4 of 4

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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