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French Minister for Transport Elisabeth Borne (pictured centre above) witnessed the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between Mr Mériadec Le Mouillour (left) on behalf of the Union des Ports Français (UPF) and Mr Michael Sheary, on behalf of the Irish Ports Association (IPA).

The new memorandum of understanding was signed at Dublin Port to strengthen maritime links between French and Irish ports as previously reported by here

Published in Dublin Port
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French Minister for Transport Elisabeth Borne will be in Dublin Port for a meeting of the Irish Ports Association and the Union des Ports Français on Friday 23rd November.

Following a first workshop gathering Irish and French ports on 26 July 2018 this meeting aims at discussing the future of maritime routes between Ireland and France.

The Irish Ports Association and the Union des Ports Français will sign a Memorandum of Agreement in the presence of Minister Borne.

Published in Dublin Port
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A plaque has been unveiled to remember 200 local women who manufactured 18 pounder shells in the Dublin Dockyard War Munitions Factory at Dublin Port

As reported earlier, a seminar to mark the centenary of the end of WWI was held in the Dublin Port Company's Port Centre building on Alexandra Road today.

The event was held in advance of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, and involved talks from distinguished historians who told the story of Dublin Port and City from 1914-18.

Published in Dublin Port
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Dublin Port Company today announced growth in cargo volumes of 4.7% to 28.4m gross tonnes for the first nine months of 2018. Within this total, imports grew by 6.0% and exports by 3.0%.

82% of the port’s volumes are in Ro-Ro trailers or Lo-Lo containers. Ro-Ro volumes grew by 4.3% to 768,000 units in the first three quarters while Lo-Lo containers grew by 5.5% to 544,000 TEU.

Imports of new vehicles grew by 6.0% to 78,000.

Dublin Port accounts for the major part of Ireland’s importation of liquid fuels (petrol, diesel and aviation fuel) and volumes in the year to September were ahead by 9.3% to 3.4m tonnes.

82% of the port’s volumes are in Ro-Ro trailers or Lo-Lo containers

Trade in Bulk Solid commodities increased by 15.9% to 1.7m tonnes. The large increase is due, in particular, to increased imports of animal feeds due to the combination of a very dry summer following on from a harsh winter.

On the tourism side, passenger numbers were ahead by 3.3% with the growth coming from cruise passengers.

Gross tonnes

Q3 2018 YTD

Q3 2017 YTD

% change









Total throughput





Ro-Ro Freight








Trade Vehicles





Bulk Liquid




Bulk Solid




Break Bulk




Total bulk products





Ferry passengers




Cruise passengers




Total passengers




Tourist vehicles




Commenting on the trade figures, Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Dublin Port Company said:

On growth and investment

“Port volumes in Dublin continue to grow at an extraordinary rate and by the end of this year we are looking at 36% growth in just six years. This rate is outstripping our long-term Masterplan growth rate of 3.3% per annum and underpins the need for us to accelerate our capital investment programme to ensure that Dublin Port has sufficient capacity for future growth.

“After decades of underinvestment in port infrastructure, we need to invest €1 billion in the next ten years. This year alone, we are investing €132m, guided by our Masterplan 2040.

“While we continue to work on the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR) Project, we will shortly bring our second major strategic infrastructure project to An Bord Pleanála to ensure that we have a pipeline of consented projects ready to go.”


“We have begun construction of primary border control infrastructure to ensure that Dublin Port is prepared for whatever BREXIT might throw at us. Our preparations are closely coordinated with the various State agencies who will have to carry out inspections on UK freight once BREXIT happens. Having come through the worst of recessions from 2008, our volumes are already 23% higher than they were in 2007. In the timescale of port infrastructure projects, we need to press ahead with our infrastructure projects notwithstanding the uncertainties of BREXIT.”

Published in Dublin Port
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The Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett today launched the ‘RMS Leinster WW1’ art exhibition sponsored by Dublin Port Company at the National Maritime Museum of Ireland, Dun Laoghaire.

The exhibition commemorates the centenary of the sinking of the mailboat RMS Leinster by a German submarine in October 1918 which resulted in the greatest ever loss of life in the Irish Sea and the highest ever casualty rate on an Irish-owned ship. More than 500 people – civilians and military - died after the boat was torpedoed by a German submarine during World War One.

The collection of steel sculptures by artist Philip Murphy will be on public display at the museum until the 21st of October, and includes items recovered from the wreck and a list of the names of all those who died in the sinking. It is one of several tributes to be held to mark the disaster that took place on 10th October 1918, and the displays serve as a reminder of war and the destruction it brings.

Artist Philip Murphy said: “The imagery in the exhibition was inspired by the works of art of three WW1 poets, David Jonas, Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Their poetry gave a deep understanding of experiencing the war on the front line, I have worked to espouse those emotions into the sculptures and have tried to capture the enormity of the tragedy of the sinking.”

The National Maritime Museum houses a plethora of captivating pieces on all aspects of maritime heritage each abound with enthralling stories of discovery, heroism, war and disasters at sea. The ‘RMS Leinster WW1’ collection features 18 sculptures highlighting the largest ever loss of life in the Irish Sea which occurred 12.25 nautical miles (22.7 kms) from the Museum, just one month before World War One ended.

The RMS Leinster was one of the fastest ships at sea with a speed of 24 knots. She weighed 2,640 gross tons and operated between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire – then known as Kingstown.

On the ill-fated journey, the German submarine UB12 spotted the RMS Leinster and fired a torpedo that crossed her bows. The submarine’s second torpedo struck the port side, where the postal sorting room was situated. The subsequent explosion blew holes through both her port and starboard sides and began to slowly sink. As lifeboats were being launched another torpedo struck the ship on the starboard side, causing catastrophic damage. The Leinster sank completely soon afterwards.

The mail boat was carrying 680 passengers on board, 187 were civilians, with most of the other passengers being military personnel from Ireland, Britain, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia. The official death toll amounted to 501 people, however further research over the years has revealed the death toll to be at least 567.

Commenting on the exhibition Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett said, “The sinking of the RMS Leinster resulted in a terrible loss of life that people still remember and remark upon, with a particular poignancy that it came so close to the end of the war. The memory of the Leinster is very important to the Defence Forces and it is an honour to participate in the remembrance of those lost with the deserved recognition of their service and sacrifice."

Dublin Port Company Chief Executive Eamonn O’Reilly added: “Dublin Port Company is proud to be involved in a project that pays fitting tribute to a devastating loss of life in Irish waters. Dublin was an extremely important city during World War One and 57 members of the Dublin Port & Docks Board served in the Royal Navy and British Army, with four of them losing their lives. Philip Murphy’s artwork collection is a sensitive reflection on that particularly sad October morning when the Leinster was lost, and I encourage the public to come and view it.”

Published in Dublin Port
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#DublinPort - A lunchtime lecture programme based on the theme of 'Dublin Port & Dockers' will bring five fascinating talks held throughout next month, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The programme of talks guest-curator is Francis Devine who along with speakers will host the admission free lectures every Tuesday (1.10-1.50pm) throughout October. The venue will be in the splendid architectural gem of Dublin City Hall on Dame Street (beside Dublin Castle).

Doors will open at 12.30 in the historic hall's Council Chamber with seating for 110 people

Opening the lecture programme which starts next week is as detailed below. 

Date: Tuesday 2 October
Lecture: A History of Dublin Port from 1707
Speaker: Lar Joye, Port Heritage Director at Dublin Port.
Song: ‘The Ouzel Galley’ sung by Luke Cheevers

For further background information on the speaker and subsequent lectures to be held during the month, click here.

The venue Afloat adds in the heart of the capital which is apt given next door is Dublin Castle, where the origins of the city's name (Dubh Linn) 'black pool' derived from where a stream, Poddle met the River Liffey to form a deep pool.

Published in Dublin Port

“One good Tern deserves another,” I was told in a discussion during the past week about the increasing importance of Dublin Bay in marine conservation terms – around the same time as Dublin Port announced that it was not going to extend itself any further in a way that might have caused disharmony - no more infilling and no eastwards extension.

That announcement extended, not the port itself, but its desire to increase friendship with the neighbours and ended a development process which dated back to the 18th century and the Great South Wall.

All of which seems to mean that Dublin Port will continue on the pre-determined course which the CEO, Eamon O'Reilly, outlined to me in a previous interview, of becoming a good neighbour with all the other interested parties who use Dublin Bay and that includes the leisure sector.

"A greenway overlooking the Tolka Estuary is amongst promised developments"

A greenway overlooking the Tolka Estuary is amongst promised developments and current works to deepen the port to 10 metres will be the final deepening. Previous plans to go to 12 metres will not proceed.

Dublin Port and Bay seems set for an interesting future with positive relations and there are very interesting island locations in the Bay, such as Rockabill and Dalkey, though there has been some trouble for the residents of the latter island.

Listen to the Podcast below for more about these developments

Check out Birdwatch Ireland's Rockabill Roseate Tern appeal below: 

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Dublin Port today launched its Masterplan 2040 Reviewed 2018, updating the long-term development plan for the port first published in 2012.

Masterplan 2040 Reviewed 2018 sets out four key changes to the port’s development plans:

  • The port will now be developed based on an average annual growth rate of 3.3% from 2010 to 2040 rather than the 2.5% originally proposed in 2012.
  • The capacity of the port will be increased to cater for a growth to an ultimate capacity of 77m gross tonnes by 2040 rather than the 60m gross tonnes as originally proposed in 2012.
  • This will be accomplished with no further infill into Dublin Bay. The option of increasing port capacity by an eastwards expansion into Dublin Bay has been definitively ruled out.
  • Where Masterplan 2012-2040 had envisaged deepening the port ultimately to 12.0m, this will not now happen and the current works to deepen the port to 10.0m will be the final deepening of Dublin Port, the end of a process which commenced in the 18th Century with the completion of the Great South Wall
  • Achieving a higher throughput on a smaller footprint than originally envisaged is being made possible by two initiatives:
  • Firstly, the development of the 44-hectare Dublin Inland Port located 14 km from Dublin Port just off the N2. Work has commenced on the development of Dublin Inland Port and the first facilities are due to be operational there during 2019.
  • Secondly, the specification of projects to maximise the use of port lands on the Poolbeg Peninsula based on enhanced access via a new Southern Port Access Route (SPAR).

Masterplan 2040 Reviewed 2018 is the culmination of an 18-month review period, supported by extensive public consultation and the completion of major environmental studies, including a Strategic Transportation Study and a Strategic Environmental Assessment, which identifies reduced environmental impact from the developments now proposed compared to what was originally proposed in 2012.

From the plans highlighted in Masterplan 2040 Reviewed 2018, Dublin Port will bring the second major Masterplan project (the MP2 Project) forward for planning before the end of the year. This project will provide much needed additional capacity on the north side of the port for Ro-Ro and
Lo-Lo services to both the UK and Continental European markets.

Beyond this the Masterplan describes developments for port lands on the Poolbeg Peninsula including the building of a new Southern Port Access Route (SPAR) to provide access between the Dublin Port Tunnel and the south port lands. These developments will constitute the third and final major Masterplan project and will be completed before 2035.

The Masterplan also identifies the need for reviews of port infrastructure charges to ensure that Dublin Port can be developed in line with Government policy (no exchequer funding) and in compliance with the EU Port Regulation 2017/352 due to come into effect in March 2019.

Commenting on the revised Masterplan, Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive said:

“The revised Masterplan is founded on our commitment to the proper planning and sustainable development of Dublin Port. We have identified a series of projects which will bring the Port to its ultimate capacity by 2040 and, in doing this, support the objectives of Project Ireland 2040.

“Achieving sustainability is a considerable challenge and we are committed in Dublin Port to doing that in the case of port operations. Critically, the Masterplan provides certainty on the ultimate extent and environmental impact of the Port.

“As we build more capacity on the same footprint in Dublin Port, we will continue to work to achieve a re-integration of the Port with the City. Next year, for example, will see construction start on a 4km greenway for pedestrians and cyclists on the northern fringe of the port overlooking the Tolka Estuary. In the meantime, work is continuing on the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment Project and on other projects and we will invest €132m in port infrastructure this year alone.”

H1 2018 Trade Figures – 5.2% growth in cargo volumes

The launch of Masterplan 2040 Reviewed 2018 comes as Dublin Port trade figures for the first half of 2018 show growth of 5.2% with increases in both imports and exports. In the high value unitised cargo modes, Ro-Ro freight increased by 4.6% to 508,000 units signalling the likelihood that volumes for the full year will pass the one million units mark for the first time. The port’s container volumes increased by 5.8% to 356,000 TEU.

Imports of new trade vehicles have increased substantially with nearly 63,000 units passing through the port in the first six months of the year, an increase of 11.7% year-on-year.

Tourism volumes are ahead with 2.7% growth bringing ferry passenger numbers to almost 800,000 in the first six months of the year. There has also been substantial growth in cruise calls with 64 cruise calls so far this year compared to 50 last year.

Finally, imports of petroleum products and animal feed drove growth of 11.5% in bulk commodities to 3.4m tonnes.

Commenting on the half-year trade results, Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive said:

“We had budgeted for growth of 5.0% this year but are now running at the higher rate of 5.2%. At this level, by the end of 2018, we will have seen growth of 37% in just six years. This is significantly higher than our Masterplan planning growth rate of 3.3% and highlights the need for us to build additional port capacity at a faster rate. Where we had been planning to invest €600m in the decade to 2027, we now know we need to spend €1,000m if we are to continue to provide capacity for our customers.

“Our investments match those of the major shipping lines such as Irish Ferries, Stena Line and CLdN, all of whom have already or will shortly introduce new larger ships on services between Dublin and both the UK and Continental Europe.

“There is much commentary on BREXIT at the moment and we continue to work with State Agencies such as Revenue and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to ensure that essential border control and inspection facilities are in place for March 2019, for December 2020 or whenever they might be required, if at all.

“Critically, however, we have not allowed BREXIT and all its uncertainties to diminish our focus on the long-term plans for the development of Dublin Port.”

Published in Dublin Port
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The new Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring, yesterday took to the waters of Dublin Bay to take part in the annual ‘Casting of the Spear’ ceremony.

The ‘Casting of the Spear’ is a tradition dating back 530 years and the first official duty for Lord Mayor Nial Ring as Honorary Admiral of Dublin Port at his investiture from Dublin Port Chairperson Lucy McCaffrey. The title of Honorary Admiral of Dublin Port has been bestowed on the Lord Mayor of Dublin for over 20 years.

Historical records show that the maritime tradition of the Casting the Spear dates back to 1488 when Thomas Mayler, who was then Lord Mayor of Dublin, rode out on horseback and cast a spear as far as he could into the sea - this was to mark the city’s boundaries eastwards. Centuries later, the re-enactment ceremony reminds us of Dublin’s role as a port city in medieval times and highlights Dublin Port’s remarkable history since its establishment as a trading post some 1,200 years ago.

Newly invested Honorary Admiral of Dublin Port Nial Ring said; "As someone who was born and reared beside Dublin Port, I am absolutely thrilled to have the honour of ‘Casting the Spear’ and marking the eastern boundary of the City. Also, having the distinction of becoming the Honorary Admiral of the Port is also very exciting and I'm delighted to assume this prestigious role. The year ahead is a particularly busy and active for Dublin Port as it continues to develop, expand and grow and I will be working closely with Dublin Port Company CEO Eamonn O'Reilly and his team to progress its projects under the Masterplan.”

There to witness the Casting of the Spear ceremony were members of the local port community enjoying the launch of the annual South Docks Festival. The South Docks Festival is run by the St. Andrew’s Resource Centre of Pearse Street in collaboration with a number of local clubs and groups, including Pearse Area Recreational Centre. It is a celebration of community and heritage, taking pride in the identity inherent in the South Dublin Docklands area. The festival began on Friday 13th July and will run until Friday 20th July with activities, fun and games for all.

Dublin Port Chairperson Lucy McCaffrey commented at the ceremony; “I would like to thank Lord Mayor Ring for his participation in the Casting of the Spear, a ceremony that celebrates our heritage as a port city. Looking back to the origins of the ceremony, now more 500 years ago, it is extraordinary to think that our city’s boundaries were established by Thomas Mayler’s spear in the waters of medieval Dublin. Today’s re-enactment is symbolic of Dublin Port’s continued commitment to preserving, for the city and its people, an understanding of the history that binds the port and the city.”

“It is great to celebrate the South Docks Festival, which brings together the communities of our docks and our nearest neighbours. I would like to congratulate the organisers of the festival on a tremendous programme of events and to encourage everyone to come along and enjoy the festivities.”

Published in Dublin Port
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The hoped-for Parade of Sail at the end of Dublin's Tall Ships Regatta on the June Bank Holiday weekend will not be taking place. Instead, the ships will leave earlier on Bank Holiday Monday Morning. 'The Ships will leave together from Dublin but a parade of sail is unlikely and low key', according to a spokesperson.

As reported earlier, the Tall Ships Regatta sails into Dublin Port from Friday, 1st June to Monday, 4th June. Organised by Sail Training International, the stopover in Dublin is hosted by Dublin City Council & Dublin Port Company.

This year, the Regatta features seventeen ships racing from Liverpool to Dublin. They will then continue on to the historic Bay of Biscay, finishing up in Bordeaux, France. While this event is not on the scale of the Tall Ships Races of the past, it will give maritime enthusiasts a flavour of what these majestic ships are like, up close.

More information here

Published in Tall Ships
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