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Dublin Port Company: A Year in Review 2017

15th December 2017
On her maiden call to Dublin Port was CLdN’s MV Celine, the largest short sea Ro-Ro vessel in the world with a capacity of 8,000 lane-metres, capable of carrying over 600 freight units. She will operate on a new service between Dublin Port and the ports of Zeebrugge and Rotterdam, providing additional capacity on routes to Continental Europe On her maiden call to Dublin Port was CLdN’s MV Celine, the largest short sea Ro-Ro vessel in the world with a capacity of 8,000 lane-metres, capable of carrying over 600 freight units. She will operate on a new service between Dublin Port and the ports of Zeebrugge and Rotterdam, providing additional capacity on routes to Continental Europe Credit: Conor McCabe

2017 has been a very productive year for Dublin Port. There has been sustained, significant growth across the business, from cargo to cruise, and it has also been a year of firsts on a number of fronts.


Latest trade figures show growth of 4.2% to the end of Q3 2017. A continuation in the current rate of growth to year–end would see 2017 become a third successive record year for Dublin Port. Total throughput (imports and exports) for the nine months to the end of September was 27.1 million gross tonnes, with 5,932 ship arrivals during the period. This is the fifth year in a row for Dublin Port to see substantial growth in the first nine months. Within that, growth was particularly strong in Ro-Ro freight with 736,462 units in the first nine months, an increase of 5.3% on the previous year. Meanwhile Lo-Lo containers grew by 4.1% to 515,718 TEU. Overall, volumes in Dublin Port have grown by 30.1% in just five years. 

Infrastructure Development 

With a return to the trend of year-on-year increases seen in the decades before the crash of 2008, and five years of consistent growth, works to increase the capacity of Dublin Port are advancing on the basis that growth will continue for many years to come. Works progressed throughout 2017 on both the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR) Project and the development of Dublin Inland Port located on a 44-hectare site just 14km from the Port. During the year, we also turned our attention to our next major project which, like all major port development projects, is being guided by Dublin Port’s Masterplan 2012-2040. The next significant project will focus on providing much needed additional capacity for Ro-Ro freight and container traffic to the UK, and increasingly to Continental Europe. 

CelebrityEclipseCruise 211The 317m Celebrity Eclipse cruise arriving in Dublin on May 10 carrying over 4,000 passengers and crew on her maiden call to Ireland. The new arrival marked the start of Dublin Port’s 2017 cruise season that saw 130 cruise calls confirmed for Dublin Port this year, bringing over 200,000 passengers and crew to visit the city and benefit the local economy. Celebrity Eclipse will return to the city in 2018 when she becomes the first ship of a major cruise line to call Dublin Port a ‘home port’ Photo: Conor McCabe

Homeporting - A New Departure 

Four consecutive years of rising cruise tourism passengers to Dublin Port, and maiden calls by leading cruise lines, including MSC Cruises’ MSC Splendida, Holland America Line and Disney Cruise Line, have cemented Dublin Port’s position as a marquee cruise tourism destination on international passenger itineraries. Confirmation that Celebrity Cruises will base a number of Celebrity Eclipse turnarounds in Dublin next year, and news this year that one of the company’s newest Solstice class ships, Celebrity Reflection, will also homeport from Dublin in 2019, highlight growing momentum for turnaround cruises in the capital and, with that, bright prospects for the city’s wider tourism offering. 

Opening Up Port Centre 

An emerging port heritage trail now forms part of the city’s own tourism offering, and 2017 has been a landmark year in furthering its development with the opening up of Port Centre. The new public realm surrounding the company’s headquarters on Alexandra Road marks the largest physical intervention by the company to reintegrate Dublin Port with the city in 35 years and follows the reimagining of Dublin Port’s Diving Bell on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. 

The stone wall boundary surrounding Port Centre has been removed at intervals and replaced with new gate-like structures made from pre-rusted Corten steel. Opened, the gates reveal a newly reconfigured public plaza featuring a four-tonne stainless steel ball inspired by the Time Ball, which originally stood on the roof of the Ballast Office at the corner of Aston Quay and Westmoreland Street, and would drop to signal Greenwich Mean Time to ships in port. 

Completing the new environs of the 1981 Scott Tallon Walker building is Crane 292, a refurbished 1960s Stothert & Pitt crane that once served as a workhorse, loading and unloading bulky material from ships at Alexandra Quay from 1964 through to its retirement in 1997. Restored to its former glory, Crane 292 is illuminated at night, providing a new addition to the docklands skyline.

PortCentre 4An Taoiseach Mr. Leo Varadkar TD, (left) with Lucy McCaffrey, Chairperson of Dublin Port Company, Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mícheál Mac Donncha and Eamonn O’Reilly, CEO, pictured after unveiling the new art insulation entitled “The Sphere” at the official ‘opening up’ of Port Centre following completion of a 12–month project to soften the Port’s boundaries with the city Photo: Conor McCabe

New Perspectives on Port – River – City 

The modern port, its rich history and links with Dublin City and the River Liffey provided the inspiration and theme for Port Perspectives, Dublin Port’s visual arts commissioning series throughout 2017. During the year, the works of acclaimed Belgian artist Eugeen Van Mieghem went on display to Irish audiences for the first time in a major new exhibition at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, showing life in the Port of Antwerp at the turn of the 20th century.

Inspired by the exhibition, local community groups and schools saw their own works then go on display in the gallery. Sketches, watercolours, pastels and collages capturing images and memories from life at Dublin Port were created by young and old during a series of Drawing Club workshops. The artists ranged in age from as young as 11 to almost 80-years-old, and represented the communities of East Wall, Ringsend and Pearse Street. 

Port Perspectives also featured new artwork from commissioned artists, including Sheelagh Broderick, whose Port Walks podcasts give recreational walkers along the Great South Wall an insight into working life aboard the vessels that enter the Port each day.  Silvia Loeffler’s Transit Gateway mapped the changing shape of Dublin Port over the centuries, from its beginnings as a medieval shoreline to present day, in a series of seminars and accompanying artworks, while site-specific moving image installations were curated by Alice Butler & Daniel Fitzpatrick of Aemi and artist Cliona Harmey.

Ro-Ro in Focus 

In a new development, CLdN’s MV Celine, the world’s largest Ro-Ro freight vessel, made her maiden call to Dublin Port in October, marking the start of a new service between Dublin and the ports of Zeebrugge and Rotterdam. With a capacity of 8,000 lane-metres carrying over 600 freight units, she will provide additional capacity and flexibility for customers trading with Continental Europe, particularly post–Brexit. 

DrawingClubProject 114Dympna O'Halloran viewing her art work hung in Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane as part of Dublin Port's Port Perspectives Drawing Club Project in Ringsend and Irishtown Community Centre. More than 30 aspiring artists from Dublin's north and south inner city saw their art work displayed in Dublin City Gallery

In Review 

Earlier this year, Dublin Port Company published its report on the public consultation process for the first review of the company’s Masterplan 2012-2040, which makes provision for periodic reviews. The process, which involved extensive outreach to a wide range of stakeholders, will inform the revised Masterplan to be published. In the meantime, Dublin Port Company has undertaken a number of environmental, cultural, leisure and transport studies and assessments arising from the consultation process before finalising the review. 

The significant growth of recent years meant that it was timely to review the Masterplan in 2017 and thereby ensure that the framework guiding the Port’s future development continues to reflect changing circumstances such as developments in policies governing planning, national transport, the environment and the economy.

Keep up to date with all the latest Dublin Port News on here

Published in Dublin Port Team

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About Dublin Port 

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. 

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