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Dublin Port Launches 30-year Masterplan

29th February 2012
Dublin Port Launches 30-year Masterplan

#DUBLIN PORTDublin Port Company will invest €110m from its own reserves over next five years in the Capital's port it was announced this morning when a long term master plan was unveiled. The final Masterplan is available for download below.

Port Chief Executive Eamon O'Reilly says the size of the port will remain the same for the next 10 years, but after that, expansion will be needed.

"We reckon we have enough of a footprint at the moment to last us for growth for about a decade or maybe even a bit more than that," Mr O'Reilly told the Irish Examiner.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Vradkar launched Dublin Port Company's Masterplan 2012 to 2040 today. The plan sets out the framework for the long-term development of Ireland's largest and most important port. Implementing the plan will cost in excess of €600m over the next 30 years which will be financed from the company's own resources.

Dublin Port Company has already committed to investing €110m over the first five years of the Masterplan period.

The launch of the Masterplan follows a year-long consultation with business, community, industry and government stakeholders.


Launching Dublin Port Company's Masterplan 2012-2040, a framework for the long-term development of Dublin Port which will be financed from the company's own resources, were Minister for Transport, Mr. Leo Varadkar T.D., Mr. Eamonn O'Reilly, Chief Executive of Dublin Port Company, Ms. Lucy McCaffrey, Chairperson of Dublin Port Company and Dublin City Manager, Dr. John Tierney

Central to the Masterplan is ensuring Dublin Port's capacity to service Ireland's future import and export trading needs both efficiently and competitively. The Masterplan now provides Dublin Port Company and its stakeholders with a clear view as to how the port will be developed over the long-term.

In economic terms, it will mean Dublin Port Company will be ready to handle 60 million tonnes of goods by 2040, double its current throughput based on a modest assumed growth of 2.5% per annum.

The Masterplan is founded on three principles:

· Maximising the use of existing lands;

· Reintegrating the port with the city; and

· Developing the port to the highest environmental standards.

The Masterplan has clearly shown that Dublin Port will need to expand over the next 30 years. However, the port has some breathing space because of the economic downturn and can now cater for projected growth for a decade or more within its existing footprint. The initial investment under the Masterplan will be focussed on maximising the use of the port's existing capacity. Projects involving reclamation will only be advanced if and when they become necessary and if they can meet exacting planning and environmental protection standards.

Among the first projects that Dublin Port Company has identified to achieve its aims is the building of a dedicated car storage compound on a site between East Wall Road and the Dublin Port Tunnel. This facility would free up valuable quay-side space for port activity.

Another major initiative is the construction of a new cruise facility adjacent to the east of the East Link Bridge to accommodate over 135,000 passengers and almost 90 cruise liners each season. The company believes that the option identified in Dublin City Council's Cruise Tourism Local Action Plan of the North Quay extension would provide the optimum location for this, bringing high spending passengers and crew within easy reach of the Luas and city centre shops, eateries and attractions.

To progress this concept, Dublin Port Company has formed Cruise Dublin, a joint initiative with Dublin City Council and Dublin Chamber of Commerce aimed at further developing the cruise tourism trade in Dublin. The first step will be to undertake a study of the needs of the cruise industry and to learn from best practice elsewhere how a suitable cruise terminal can be provided in Dublin. The estimated cost of the development is €30 million. This study will be concluded later this year with a view to having a cruise terminal in place by 2015.

Integrating Dublin Port with Dublin city and its citizens is another core aim of the plan. In that context, improved walkways and cycle paths, public viewing platforms, the installation of maritime art displays and softer port boundaries are among the initiatives intended to bring real community gain. The plan also envisages the development of a visitor centre which could include: displays of archive materials; old equipment used in the port; video displays of port operations and interactive features such as simulated crane operating and piloting a vessel safely into the port.

The Masterplan has also identified the potential for rail freight to grow over the next 30 years using Dublin Port's direct rail connections to all major train stations in Ireland. The use of the existing port rail network already removes 4,000 trucks from Irish roads every year and there is significant scope to increase this.

The development of a dedicated port distribution centre under the Masterplan would provide a hub for smaller, greener vehicles to service the city's businesses in a greener, more efficient way.

Launching Dublin Port Company's Masterplan, Leo Varadkar, TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport said; "This is a comprehensive plan for the long-term development of Dublin Port on its current site. As Ireland's most important port, Dublin Port is a vital part of our national infrastructure. It has a significant role to play in growing exports, growing jobs, and also in growing tourism, with 87 cruise ships calling last year. This Masterplan follows a detailed consultation process and will ensure that Dublin Port continues to make a real contribution to the local economy, and to our export-led recovery."

Lucy McCaffrey, Chairperson of Dublin Port Company, said: "While the impetus for producing this Masterplan has been to provide Dublin Port Company and all its stakeholders with a clear view as to how Dublin Port will develop over the next 30 years, we have endeavoured to strike a balance between the economic needs of the city and improving the aesthetics of the port and better integrating it with the city. We look forward to embarking on a range of initiatives to bring this commitment and the Masterplan to life in local communities. Our plan also envisages the development of a visitor centre which will show Dubliners the history of the port and provide an insight into its workings in an innovative and interactive way."

Eamonn O'Reilly, Chief Executive of Dublin Port Company, said: "This is an exciting time in the development of Dublin Port. For the past year we've consulted extensively to get to the position today where we can unveil our Masterplan for the development of Dublin Port over the next 30 years. The projects identified under this plan will be advanced in stages based on capacity, economic demand and our ability to finance them. The fact that we're committing to a €110 million investment programme over the next five years shows our intent to implement the Masterplan. It is worth noting also that under the Masterplan, Dublin Port Company has committed to continuing to develop Dublin Port within its current footprint to the maximum extent possible before considering projects involving major land reclamation. Any projects from the Masterplan will be subject to the existing planning processes."

Welcoming the Masterplan, John Tierney, City Manager, said: "Dublin Port has always been a key part of Dublin city's economic infrastructure, facilitating trade and supporting jobs in the capital. It's hugely important that the appropriate facilities and infrastructure are in place at Dublin Port as the city looks to future growth and development both from a trade and tourism perspective. In particular, the launch today of Cruise Dublin shows how Dublin Port Company is working with Dublin City Council and others to develop the hugely valuable cruise tourism trade even further. Work is already underway to assess the feasibility of constructing a dedicated €30 million cruise terminal in Dublin Port by 2015."

The final Masterplan is available for download below


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About Dublin Port 

Dublin Port is Ireland’s largest and busiest port with approximately 17,000 vessel movements per year. As well as being the country’s largest port, Dublin Port has the highest rate of growth and, in the seven years to 2019, total cargo volumes grew by 36.1%.

The vision of Dublin Port Company is to have the required capacity to service the needs of its customers and the wider economy safely, efficiently and sustainably. Dublin Port will integrate with the City by enhancing the natural and built environments. The Port is being developed in line with Masterplan 2040.

Dublin Port Company is currently investing about €277 million on its Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR), which is due to be complete by 2021. The redevelopment will improve the port's capacity for large ships by deepening and lengthening 3km of its 7km of berths. The ABR is part of a €1bn capital programme up to 2028, which will also include initial work on the Dublin Port’s MP2 Project - a major capital development project proposal for works within the existing port lands in the northeastern part of the port.

Dublin Port has also recently secured planning approval for the development of the next phase of its inland port near Dublin Airport. The latest stage of the inland port will include a site with the capacity to store more than 2,000 shipping containers and infrastructures such as an ESB substation, an office building and gantry crane.

Dublin Port Company recently submitted a planning application for a €320 million project that aims to provide significant additional capacity at the facility within the port in order to cope with increases in trade up to 2040. The scheme will see a new roll-on/roll-off jetty built to handle ferries of up to 240 metres in length, as well as the redevelopment of an oil berth into a deep-water container berth.

Dublin Port FAQ

Dublin was little more than a monastic settlement until the Norse invasion in the 8th and 9th centuries when they selected the Liffey Estuary as their point of entry to the country as it provided relatively easy access to the central plains of Ireland. Trading with England and Europe followed which required port facilities, so the development of Dublin Port is inextricably linked to the development of Dublin City, so it is fair to say the origins of the Port go back over one thousand years. As a result, the modern organisation Dublin Port has a long and remarkable history, dating back over 300 years from 1707.

The original Port of Dublin was situated upriver, a few miles from its current location near the modern Civic Offices at Wood Quay and close to Christchurch Cathedral. The Port remained close to that area until the new Custom House opened in the 1790s. In medieval times Dublin shipped cattle hides to Britain and the continent, and the returning ships carried wine, pottery and other goods.

510 acres. The modern Dublin Port is located either side of the River Liffey, out to its mouth. On the north side of the river, the central part (205 hectares or 510 acres) of the Port lies at the end of East Wall and North Wall, from Alexandra Quay.

Dublin Port Company is a State-owned commercial company responsible for operating and developing Dublin Port.

Dublin Port Company is a self-financing, and profitable 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.

Captain William Bligh (of Mutiny of the Bounty fame) was a visitor to Dublin in 1800, and his visit to the capital had a lasting effect on the Port. Bligh's study of the currents in Dublin Bay provided the basis for the construction of the North Wall. This undertaking led to the growth of Bull Island to its present size.

Yes. Dublin Port is the largest freight and passenger port in Ireland. It handles almost 50% of all trade in the Republic of Ireland.

All cargo handling activities being carried out by private sector companies operating in intensely competitive markets within the Port. Dublin Port Company provides world-class facilities, services, accommodation and lands in the harbour for ships, goods and passengers.

Eamonn O'Reilly is the Dublin Port Chief Executive.

Capt. Michael McKenna is the Dublin Port Harbour Master

In 2019, 1,949,229 people came through the Port.

In 2019, there were 158 cruise liner visits.

In 2019, 9.4 million gross tonnes of exports were handled by Dublin Port.

In 2019, there were 7,898 ship arrivals.

In 2019, there was a gross tonnage of 38.1 million.

In 2019, there were 559,506 tourist vehicles.

There were 98,897 lorries in 2019

Boats can navigate the River Liffey into Dublin by using the navigational guidelines. Find the guidelines on this page here.

VHF channel 12. Commercial vessels using Dublin Port or Dun Laoghaire Port typically have a qualified pilot or certified master with proven local knowledge on board. They "listen out" on VHF channel 12 when in Dublin Port's jurisdiction.

A Dublin Bay webcam showing the south of the Bay at Dun Laoghaire and a distant view of Dublin Port Shipping is here
Dublin Port is creating a distributed museum on its lands in Dublin City.
 A Liffey Tolka Project cycle and pedestrian way is the key to link the elements of this distributed museum together.  The distributed museum starts at the Diving Bell and, over the course of 6.3km, will give Dubliners a real sense of the City, the Port and the Bay.  For visitors, it will be a unique eye-opening stroll and vista through and alongside one of Europe’s busiest ports:  Diving Bell along Sir John Rogerson’s Quay over the Samuel Beckett Bridge, past the Scherzer Bridge and down the North Wall Quay campshire to Berth 18 - 1.2 km.   Liffey Tolka Project - Tree-lined pedestrian and cycle route between the River Liffey and the Tolka Estuary - 1.4 km with a 300-metre spur along Alexandra Road to The Pumphouse (to be completed by Q1 2021) and another 200 metres to The Flour Mill.   Tolka Estuary Greenway - Construction of Phase 1 (1.9 km) starts in December 2020 and will be completed by Spring 2022.  Phase 2 (1.3 km) will be delivered within the following five years.  The Pumphouse is a heritage zone being created as part of the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment Project.  The first phase of 1.6 acres will be completed in early 2021 and will include historical port equipment and buildings and a large open space for exhibitions and performances.  It will be expanded in a subsequent phase to incorporate the Victorian Graving Dock No. 1 which will be excavated and revealed. 
 The largest component of the distributed museum will be The Flour Mill.  This involves the redevelopment of the former Odlums Flour Mill on Alexandra Road based on a masterplan completed by Grafton Architects to provide a mix of port operational uses, a National Maritime Archive, two 300 seat performance venues, working and studio spaces for artists and exhibition spaces.   The Flour Mill will be developed in stages over the remaining twenty years of Masterplan 2040 alongside major port infrastructure projects.

Source: Dublin Port Company ©Afloat 2020.