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Dublin Port Launches 3FM Project for Poolbeg Peninsula: €400m to Deliver 20% of the Port Capacity Required by 2040

18th November 2021
On the horizon. Launching the 3FM Project, the third and final Masterplan project to bring Dublin Port to its ultimate capacity by 2040 by developing port lands on the Poolbeg Peninsula, is Dublin Port Company Chief Executive, Eamonn O’Reilly onboard the DPC pilot vessel Tolka
On the horizon. Launching the 3FM Project, the third and final Masterplan project to bring Dublin Port to its ultimate capacity by 2040 by developing port lands on the Poolbeg Peninsula, is Dublin Port Company Chief Executive, Eamonn O’Reilly onboard the DPC pilot vessel Tolka Credit: Conor McCabe

Dublin Port Company (DPC) has today launched the 3FM Project, the third and final Masterplan project needed to complete the development of Dublin Port and bring it to its ultimate and final capacity by 2040.

The 3FM Project will deliver 20% of the capacity required by 2040 on one-fifth of Dublin Port’s lands, all located on the Poolbeg Peninsula, at an estimated cost of €400m (2021 prices).

Construction will commence in 2026 and be completed between 2030 and 2035.

The project is at the pre-planning stage and DPC will lodge a planning application with An Bord Pleanála in early 2023. Between now and then, the company will prepare the detailed project design and environmental impact reports required for large infrastructure projects. Today’s launch is the start of a detailed conversation with all stakeholders before that work begins.

Details of the 3FM Project are now available to view online at www.dublinport3fm.ie. Dublin Port Company is inviting people to submit comments and queries on any aspect of the project to: [email protected] by 31st December 2021.

3FM Dublin Port Project

3FM Project

The project has six elements:

1. A new private road called the Southern Port Access Route (SPAR) to link the north and south port areas, taking HGVs off the public road via a new bridge across the River Liffey immediately east of the Tom Clarke Bridge - giving pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users a less congested route for active travel across the city. 

2. The construction of the largest container terminal in the country in front of ESB’s Poolbeg Power Station with an annual throughput capacity of 360,000 containers (612,000 TEU)

3. The redevelopment of the existing blue container terminal to create a new Ro-Ro freight terminal in its place with an annual throughput capacity of 288,000 freight trailers

4. Creation of a 325 metre diameter ship turning circle in front of Pigeon House Harbour

5. Development of 6.1 hectares (15.1 acres) of new public parks in three locations on the Poolbeg Peninsula to provide community gain

  • 2.1 hectare (5.2 acre) sailing, rowing and maritime campus adjacent to the existing Poolbeg Yacht Club
  • 1.2 hectare (3.0 acre) Pigeon House Park beside Pigeon House Harbour
  • 2.8 hectare (6.9 acre) Port Park as a buffer between the port and the Pembroke at Dublin Four development
  • 5.5 km of cycle paths and pedestrian routes throughout the Poolbeg Peninsula

6. Provision of a 1.0-hectare site to accommodate utilities needed, firstly, for the City’s district heating scheme powered by the Covanta waste to energy plant and, secondly, to accommodate a range of utilities for the Pembroke at Dublin Four development.

Draft aerial impression of the SPAR adjacent to the existing Tom Clarke Bridge and showing DCC’s two proposed new bridges – the pedestrian and cycle bridge across the Liffey and the bridge from Sir John Rogerson’s Quay across the Dodder - and provision for a possible future LUAS extension to the Poolbeg Peninsula.Draft aerial impression of the SPAR adjacent to the existing Tom Clarke Bridge and showing DCC’s two proposed new bridges – the pedestrian and cycle bridge across the Liffey and the bridge from Sir John Rogerson’s Quay across the Dodder - and provision for a possible future LUAS extension to the Poolbeg Peninsula.

Investing in capacity for future growth ahead of time

The 3FM Project is being launched now to ensure that essential port capacity is available on time. Capacity pinch points are already evident in the north port area post Brexit and pending completion of consented Masterplan projects there – the ABR Project and the MP2 Project - which are already underway. [See notes to Editors for throughputs, capacities, and status update on all projects.]

Since 2010, Dublin Port Company has invested €500 million in the north port area to provide port capacity to cater for growth of 44% in overall port volumes in just ten years – equivalent to an annual growth rate of 3.7%.

In the Lo-Lo mode, volumes have grown by 37% between 2010 and 2020. However, since Brexit growth has accelerated and volumes in 2021 are 14% higher than last year. A key part of the 3FM Project is the construction of a new container terminal, the largest in the country, to provide an annual throughput capacity of 360,000 units (612,000 TEU). To put this into context, the new container terminal will have capacity for more than twice the number of containers handled in all other ports in the country last year. 

Proper planning and sustainable development

The development of Dublin Port is supported by National Ports Policy and the National Development Plan, by the NTA’s Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area and by the Dublin City Development Plan. Dublin Port Company is committed to proper planning and sustainable development and has already secured planning permissions for two large Strategic Infrastructure Development projects from An Bord Pleanála – the ABR Project (2015) and the MP2 Project (2020).

The company is working to secure planning permission for the 3FM Project by 2024 to ensure the continued provision of national port capacity in Dublin Port up to 2040.

Port-city integration

The 3FM Project will deliver not only the capacity objectives of Masterplan 2040, but also the objective to re-integrate Dublin Port with Dublin City. The City and local communities will benefit from three new public parks on the Poolbeg Peninsula, improved access to the waterfront and to the Great South Wall, all linked by more than five kilometres of new and improved pedestrian and cycle routes. These will tie in with 10km of greenways and active travel routes currently being built in the north port area, including the Liffey-Tolka Project.

How to take part in the conversation

The next step in the planning stage of the project is the preparation of a detailed design and environmental analysis in advance of lodging a planning application in 2023. Before beginning this work in January 2022, Dublin Port Company is starting a conversation with as wide a range of stakeholders as possible, particularly local communities. All feedback and any ideas received by the end of December 2021 will help ensure that the 3FM Project is carefully and properly designed.

Views, ideas and suggestions should be sent to: [email protected], or by post, to:

3FM Project
Dublin Port Company
Port Centre
Alexandra Road
Dublin 1

Dublin Port Company Chief Executive, Eamonn O’ReillyDublin Port Company Chief Executive, Eamonn O’Reilly Photo: Conor McCabe

Commenting on the launch of the 3FM Project, Dublin Port’s Chief Executive, Eamonn O’Reilly, said: “There is very little spare capacity for future growth of unitised trade in Dublin Port or in any other port in the country. Planning for long-term needs as far out as 2040 is very difficult and it is important for us in Dublin Port to plan early to ensure that we are ready to construct nationally essential port capacity in advance of demand.

“We are developing Dublin Port based on Masterplan 2040 at an overall estimated cost of €1.6 billion over the 30 years from 2010 to 2040. Port infrastructure is very expensive and, by the end of this year, we will have invested €500m in the 11 years since 2010. Over the next five years, we will invest a further €450m. We aim to begin to build the €400m 3FM Project in 2026 and to complete it between 2030 and 2035.

“Masterplan 2040 projects that Dublin Port will need capacity for an annual throughput of 3.1 million trailers and containers by 2040. The 3FM Project will deliver one-fifth of this capacity by way of a new Lo-Lo terminal - 360,000 containers per annum - and a new Ro-Ro freight terminal - 288,000 freight trailers per annum.

“The challenge of long-term infrastructure planning was well illustrated in the Dublin Transport Initiative (DTI) report of 1995. The DTI predicted Dublin Port’s cargo volumes would reach 12 million tonnes by 2011. However, volumes in 2000 – just five years after the report was published – had already reached 21 million tonnes. For the last two decades, Dublin Port has been playing catch-up and it is important for the next twenty years that we keep capacity ahead of demand.

“Active travel is now a feature of all development plans in the country and the 3FM Project will make a huge contribution to the provision of high-quality walking and cycling routes throughout the Poolbeg Peninsula. The new bridge we are proposing as part of the Southern Port Access Route will link this network across the river into the north side of Dublin Port where we already have ten kilometres of cycling and pedestrian routes under development.

“Over the decades that Dublin Port moved downriver, the port became invisible to the city. The 3FM Project will provide three new public parks on the Poolbeg Peninsula in the heart of the working port. These will open up to the river and to Sandymount strand and will help to re-establish the historical link between Dublin Port and Dublin City.”

Published in Dublin Port, Dublin Bay
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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. 

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