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Dublin Port Completes Major Road Works & New Traffic Management Measures in Advance of Brexit

14th December 2020
Dublin Port Completes Major Road Works & New Traffic Management Measures in Advance of Brexit

With just over two weeks to go before the re-introduction of border controls on goods arriving from Great Britain, Dublin Port Company (DPC) has today announced:

  • The completion of works to increase the capacity of Dublin Port’s internal road network; and
  • The introduction of new internal traffic management measures to keep traffic flowing through Dublin Port.

The new measures are being introduced this week and will be in full effect in advance of the introduction of the new border controls on 1st January 2021. 

The improvements and changes are detailed in a new booklet, Six Key Messages for Hauliers.

Even with additional road capacity and traffic management measures in place at Dublin Port, all operators and port users have their part to play to keep trade flowing and ensure that extreme contingency plans are not needed in response to congestion. This is especially so in the first 90 days of 2021. 

The challenge for State agencies - notably Customs and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) - is to apply border inspection controls efficiently around the clock on six times the volume of goods that were arriving off ferries 28 years ago when the Single European Market removed the need for such controls. 

As part of the challenge to prepare for Brexit, eight inspection facilities have been constructed for Customs and DAFM by DPC and OPW at six different locations in Dublin Port. Dublin is already a busy port and the additional requirement for hauliers to move trailers between ferry terminals and these eight different facilities will increase traffic levels within the port for the same volume of cargo.

Greater separation between the arrival times of the Holyhead ferries would greatly reduce the risk that the inevitable delays which border checks will cause might escalate to the point of congestion.

In addition to the timing of ferry arrivals, there are busy container terminals in Dublin Port with high levels of HGV traffic particularly in the early morning and late afternoon on weekdays. The collection of containers from terminals needs to be scheduled by the container terminal operators, the hauliers and the cargo owners to reduce peaks and prevent excessive queues building on the port’s internal road network.

Brexit delays are inevitable - congestion is not. 

Announcing the new measures, Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Dublin Port Company commented: 

“The continued congestion-free operation of Dublin Port post-Brexit requires all port users to play their part. Since 2018, DPC has spent €30 million to make assets and infrastructure available to OPW to provide Border inspection facilities on eight sites covering a land area of 14.6 hectares. There is now 16,000 square metres of warehousing with 25 loading bays giving an annual capacity for well over 100,000 physical inspections of containers and trailers.

“There is huge infrastructural capacity in place and the challenge now is to use this capacity efficiently to ensure that goods keep flowing. There is a simple and obvious measure of success and that is the ability of hauliers to provide their essential services without being delayed in Dublin Port. The six key messages we have published today are intended to help achieve this objective. Delays because of Brexit border checks are inevitable, but congestion is not. 

“Even with continuing works on the port’s road network in recent times, we have recently seen two of the busiest months ever for unitised trade and traffic has flowed smoothly into and out of the port. In October - the second busiest month in the history of Dublin Port - our unitised trade was 2.2% ahead of last year; November - the fourth busiest month ever - was 12.2% ahead. Now that the road works are complete - and even with the introduction of border controls in January - there is no reason why traffic should not continue to flow freely so long as all supply chain operators play their part.

“The closeness in the arrival times of ferries from Holyhead is an obvious cause of concern in January and brings with it the risk of delays being increased to the point of congestion on the road network within Dublin Port. We have asked the two ferry companies operating the Holyhead services to bring the arrival time of the first ship in each of the four daily waves forward and to bring the second ship in somewhat later in order to flatten the demand curve for incoming HGVs. In making this request we guaranteed to the ferry lines that they could return to their current slot times at any time during the first 90 days after the new border controls come into place. Disappointingly, one has refused our request and the other has yet to respond.

“Supply chain behaviour is going to have to change after Brexit and hauliers need to know what they can expect in terms of waiting times for border inspections by State agencies. It is important for hauliers and their customers - the cargo owners - to know how long the different types of checks by Customs and DAFM will take so that they have some sense of the delays they will face and are able to plan their operations accordingly.

“DPC and hauliers have a shared objective to keep goods flowing and we depend on the State agencies, the ferry companies and the container terminals to each do their part. We would particularly encourage hauliers to demand service levels from container terminals and sailing times from ferry companies that meet their needs.”

Summary of Traffic Management Measures inside Dublin Port

Port Entry and Exit routes – Major road works have been completed in the vicinity of the Circle-K service station and there is now full dual carriageway access and egress to Dublin Port along Promenade Road linking directly to the Dublin Port Tunnel.

From 1st January 2021, HGVs will no longer be permitted to exit Dublin Port from Alexandra Road onto East Wall Road.

Also, from 1st January 2021, HGVs accessing specified locations along Alexandra Road will be required to enter the port directly from East Wall Road. All other HGV traffic will enter via Promenade Road.

Ro-Ro ferries:

For green-routed HGVs and tourist traffic arriving directly from Holyhead ferries, there is a direct, simple and well signposted 1,800 metre route to the Port’s exit on Promenade Road.

For red-routed traffic, there are two specific routes to be followed to either T7 (1,400 metres) or T11 (1,500 metres) as required by Customs.

Post Brexit, the timing requirements and needs of hauliers and cargo owners may change to the extent that current ferry arrival times might no longer meet their requirements. If that is the case, DPC encourages hauliers to tell the ferry companies what their requirements are.

Container terminals – It will be necessary to prevent queues for container terminals backing out onto Alexandra Road and Tolka Quay Road. If this happens, DPC will manage these queues actively and HGVs may be asked to leave the Port to prevent the onset of congestion. DPC encourages hauliers to insist that container terminals provide booking slots to prevent drivers having to queue excessively.

Dublin Port Tunnel – In the worst case, the contingency plan recently announced by the Department of Transport to deal with the impact of port congestion on roads outside Dublin Port will be implemented. This could include U-turning traffic exiting the southbound bore of the Dublin Port Tunnel before it enters Dublin Port and directing it back through the northern bore of the tunnel to designated parking areas. 

All of the above measures are designed to maintain the efficient flow of HGVs within Dublin Port and prevent delays in port traffic escalating to the point where traffic on roads adjacent to the Port or on the national motorway network are affected.

The new booklet Six Key Messages for Hauliers is available to download below.

Published in Dublin Port Team

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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.