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Report on Future Role of Dublin Port Is Published

7th August 2009
Report on Future Role of Dublin Port Is Published

The retention of Dublin Port in its present location together with onsite expansion would deliver the highest net present value in cost benefit terms according to a report published today by Minister Noel Dempsey. The study on the role of Dublin Port was conducted under the National Development Plan 2007-2013 and contains important conclusions in relation to Dublin Port and the wider port sector. Speaking today on the publication of the report Minister Dempsey said: “The future of Dublin Port has been the subject of much discussion in recent years. The future of this port is not just a local or regional matter it is of major strategic importance to the country as a whole. The National Development Plan recognised this fact by providing for this study.

As a trade dependent island nation we are reliant upon our ports to facilitate economic growth. Notwithstanding the current downturn and its associated effects in terms of decreased traffic volumes, the ports sector is one that demands long term forward planning and analysis.

This report is an important analysis not just of the future of Dublin Port but also provides a useful insight into the capacity challenges that face the sector as a whole.”

The study highlights the strategic importance of Dublin Port to the economy. Over 40% of national tonnage passes through the port and it plays a particularly important role in terms of fast moving high value cargos. The port has a 75% market share for roll on roll off trucks (RoRo) and 64% for lift on lift off containers (LoLo). The port is also vital in terms of the State’s energy supply, handling 45% of national oil imports.

Highlights from the study include the following:

  • A projection that national port throughput will continue to decline in 2009 and into 2010 and that traffic throughput will not return to 2007 levels until post 2011.
  • Traffic projections have been formulated at a time of great uncertainty, but this does not impact on the key conclusions reached.
  • There is a need to develop significant additional port capacity by 2025 - 2030 as a result of future capacity constraints in existing port facilities.
  • There are two significant projects at different stages of the planning process at present. Dublin Port’s proposed expansion is currently with An Bord Pleanála and the proposal for a new port at Bremore is at the pre-planning stage. The study identifies considerable uncertainties with regard to both projects. It concludes that nothing should be done at a policy level to hinder either.
  • The cost benefit analysis of seven different future scenarios identifies potential benefits relating to the relocation or partial relocation of Dublin Port in terms of city sustainability issues arising out of increased urbanisation, greater usage of public transport and a related reduction in congestion. However, the costs of such a relocation are very significant in terms of the capital costs of building alternative capacity, the inevitable business disruption caused by such a relocation and increased traffic movements.
  • An important finding of the cost benefit analysis is in relation to the scale and value of the port estate if it were to be redeveloped. The study concludes that such redevelopment would have to take place over a considerable length of time, which could realistically reach a century.
  • The detailed cost benefit analysis of seven different scenarios concludes that retention of Dublin Port in its present location together with onsite expansion would deliver the highest net present value in cost benefit terms.

Minister Dempsey added; “The State ports played a vital role in facilitating the strong economic growth over the last decade, with tonnage increasing 50% over the ten years up to 2007. It was quite an achievement for the sector to accommodate such growth levels without any major disruption of trade and it is equally important that the sector is in a position to perform the same role when the economy returns to growth.”

The Ports Sub-Programme of the National Development Plan 2007 -2013 estimates port infrastructural expenditure of between €300 million and €600 million over the period of the programme. To date capital investment under the sub-programme is in line with this. Some €120 million has been invested in the first two years of the programme, with a further €75 million budgeted for 2009. This expenditure is being funded by the port companies themselves, without recourse to Exchequer funding.

The recently enacted Harbours (Amendment) Act 2009 contains a number of provisions designed to enhance the commercial ethos of the State owned port companies and to facilitate their continued growth and development.

A copy of the full report is available here

Published in Dublin Bay
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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

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