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Nation’s Largest Dry-Dock in Dublin to Close With Loss of 26 Jobs

28th April 2016
The 90m Arklow Fame became the final ship to use the 220m dry-dock in Dublin Port (the largest in the state) which closes tomorrow. The 90m Arklow Fame became the final ship to use the 220m dry-dock in Dublin Port (the largest in the state) which closes tomorrow. Photo: Photo Jehan Ashmore

#DryDockClosing – Its the end of an era as the nation’s largest dry dock is to close with the loss of 26 jobs as Dublin Port Company are to infill the site as part of the €227m Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR) project, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Dublin Graving Docks Ltd has operated Graving Dock No. 2 since 2002 under licence from Dublin Port Company. In recent years the marine engineering business have fought to retain the ship repair, maintenance and conversion facility, however the license expires tomorrow.

The shiprepairer had generated about €2.5m annually. Around 20 vessels have dry-docked each year. Vessels are mostly cargoships/short sea traders, dry bulk-carriers, ro-ro freight ferries, large trawlers, the port company's tugs and in 2014 the tallship Jeanie Johnston. Previous owners of the drydock worked on ferries which are now larger and go elsewhere, not including Cork Dockyard.  

For almost 60 years the 220m long dry dock which can handle one large or two smaller vessels at a time has served Irish owned ships and from overseas clients. The final ship to have worked carried out at the 1957 built dry dock was the 90m cargoship Arklow Fame. The 2,998 tonnes vessel called in mid-April and was floated-out with a departure yesterday afternoon.

Dublin Graving Docks had submitted a final observation to the An Bord Pleanála hearing held last year on the ABR which is a Strategic Infrastructure Development that was granted planning permission last summer. The decision leaves the capital port without a strategic ship repair and engineering facility.

The main reason why Dublin Port want to re-use this part of their port estate is to gain a higher financial yield per acre of land through the redevelopment of Alexandra Basin.

The ABR project is to enable much larger and deeper drafted cargoships and the largest cruiseships in the world to berth at a dedicated €30m cruise terminal located closer to the city centre.

Dublin Graving Docks cited they were not opposing the accommodation of giant cruise ships but they were against the reconfiguration and the scale involved in the ABR project.

At approximately 1.4 hecteres the area including the dry dock can handle ships up to 6.5m draft and is accessed by a dock gate 24.5m wide. Under the project this entrance is be blocked with a reconfigured quayside and consequent in-fill of the dry-dock to create additional space. As the port has broken trade figures this has led to critical requirement for additional capacity to cope with demand. 

The ABR will be the biggest single infrastructure capital investment development to be undertaken in the past 200 years of the port. Also the project marks phase one of Dublin Port's Masterplan 2012-2040.

Published in Dublin Port
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Dublin Port Information

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 capacity to store more than 2,000 shipping containers and infrastructure 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.

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