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Displaying items by tag: Exports

The Irish fisheries market both at home and abroad experienced an “extremely fragile” situation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest Annual Review and Outlook for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Published today (Wednesday 10 November) by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the report details that exports from a sector that employs 16,400 people “directly and downstream” totalled €531 million in 2020 — down nearly 8% on 2019.

“The sector has been severely impacted by COVID-19 which has affected the performance of all species across the sector, particularly within the shellfish category which suffered a 30% reduction in export values,” it said.

France — which is Ireland’s largest export market for seafood, accounting for 11% of exports in 2020 — was “extremely challenging for Irish exporters” last year, with values declining by almost one fifth, or €118 million — driven largely by pandemic-enforced closures across the hospitality sector. A similar depression was experienced across the other main EU markets of Spain, Italy, Germany and Poland.

Exports to Asia also “suffered major declines” last year, with exports of €46 million representing a 48% decline on 2019. Exports to China in particular fell by whopping 70%, and a rise in logistical costs also had a “negative impact” on returns.

It was a bad year for the Irish oyster sector, too, with export value (-30%) and volume (-29%) both down significantly. The only growth was experienced in exports to South Korea and Italy; however these markets “are relatively small”, the report notes.

Salmon exports told a brighter story in 2020, with values rising by 14% with an 11% growth in volume. Poland has now overtaken France as the largest market for Irish salmon, with exports almost doubling, while exports to Germany rose by 10%.

Regarding post-Brexit changes to Ireland’s quota share under the Common Fisheries Policy, the report outlines how quota balancing is being implemented on a phased basis. Pelagic stocks were quota balanced for the years 2018 and 2019, while balancing for the five key demersal (whitefish) stocks was implemented in 2020.

“At this point, it is not clear how the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU will be effectively managed from a fisheries perspective,” the report warns.

Despite the difficulties experienced during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Ireland’s fishing industry “has continued to keep food in our shops and on our tables during this extraordinary time”.

The report adds: “This has highlighted the vital role that the fishing industry plays in the food chain. This, in turn, underscores the importance of ensuring the sustainability of our fish stocks.”

Further details — including more detailed breakdowns of seafood exports by category, shellfish licensing and a briefing on the Clean Ocean Initiative — can be found in the Annual Review and Outlook for Agriculture, Food and the Marine which is available to download from Gov.ie HERE.

Published in Fishing

Exporters from Ireland selling into the key UK market may be weathering the disruption caused by the new Brexit border on the Irish Sea, even as imports from Britain are down sharply, new CSO figures suggest.

At €3bn, goods exports to Britain for the first three months of the year were down by only 3% from the same period in 2020, despite the disruptions to trade and truck movements at Irish Sea ports.

Exports of food and live animals to Britain accounted for part of the decline – sales across the Irish Sea fell to €648m from €871m in the same period in 2020.

Food and live animal export sales were also down to EU countries, to €855m from €914m a year earlier.

However, the CSO figures show a sharp fall, by €2bn, across a wide range of imports from Britain, down by €2bn to €2.2bn in the first quarter.

Further reading from the Irish Examiner

Published in Ferry
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Later this week Andrew Doyle, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, will lead Irish participation in Qingdao, China at the Seafood Expo, one of the largest seafood fairs in the world.

Irish seafood exports to China have grown rapidly to over €28 million last year, and there is potential for further growth. Up to 12 Irish seafood companies will be represented on the Origin Green Ireland stand.

This trade visit follows technical meetings to discuss meat market access held by DAFM officials in Beijing on Friday, and the Trade Mission to Indonesia and Malaysia led by Marine Minister Michael Creed, who also addressed the Our Ocean Conference in Bali last Monday.

“Market development, including understanding, accessing and growing new markets, is a key theme of our shared Food Wise 2025 strategy, and an important response to the challenges posed by Brexit,” Minster Doyle said.

Earlier in the week the minister will attend the CIIE (Chinese Import and Export Expo) in Shanghai. This Chinese government-led expo, to be opened by President Xi Jinping, is intended to serve as a showcase for China’s commitment to international trade.

The Irish delegation will be led by Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation and will feature a significant presence from Bord Bia and a total of 11 Irish meat and dairy companies.

Published in Fishing
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#SeafoodExports - Food and Marine Minister Michael Creed and his Chinese counterpart have agreed an export certificate which will permit the resumption of live crab exports to the critically important Chinese market.

The Irish seafood sector has been extremely anxious to resolve a number of certification issues which have hampered the trade, and exports are expected to resume in the very near future, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

The agreement was one of a number of issues settled between Minister Creed and Zhi Shuping, China’s minister with responsibility for the Chinese Quarantine and Inspection Service, during their meeting in Dublin this week at which they signed a landmark protocol for seafood, beef and thoroughbred horse exports.

The meeting on Tuesday (18 April) was the second formal bilateral meeting of the two ministers and comes after Minister Creed’s discussions with Minister Zhi in Beijing last September.

Commenting on the meeting, Minister Creed said: “China is now such an important partner for Ireland on agri-food issues and is our third largest trading partner in this sector,” said Minister Creed on the meeting, adding that the protocol signing “marks the culmination of intensive political, technical and diplomatic engagement with the Chinese authorities.

“I look forward to moving forward with the next steps as quickly as possible”

Irish agri-food exports to China have increased from some €240 million in 2012 to €780 million in 2016, a three-fold increase. This makes China the third largest market for Ireland’s agri-food sector in value terms after the UK and US for last year.

Published in Fishing
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Cargo volumes through the port of Drogheda have increased by 4% in 2010 compared to 2009 levels, notably due to the importation of agri-products. The rise in traffic figures recorded by the Drogheda Port Company, provides some positive economic news.
On the export front, the Co. Louth port performed well last year, particularly with increased volumes in cement and magnesite, bringing a boost to the local economy. In addition there was an un-expected and unique trade in potatoes, following a severe drought that gripped the Russian Federation.The inaugural shipment of over 2,500 tonnes was loaded on board the M.V. Blankenese in mid-November. The vessel sailed to St. Petersberg where a further three such shipments took place.

In order to facilitate the recovery of the economy, ports with increased capacity will play a vital strategic role in expanding export-driven trade. Plans by the Drogheda Port Company to the development of a proposed new port at Bremore in north Co. Dublin, remain a key objective of the company, with a planning application currently in preparation.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

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