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Poolbeg Peninsula Project 'Vital to Deliver Capacity Required for Dublin Port by 2040' - Public Consultation Opens on 3FM Project

21st March 2023
A new ‘Maritime Village - A modern sailing and rowing campus on the river Liffey as part of Dublin Port's 3FM Project. A modern sailing and rowing campus will provide enhanced facilities for a range of users, including sailing and rowing clubs, sea scouts, the Nautical Trust and local boat owners. The Maritime Village has been developed in consultation with local groups and will replace the current much smaller facilities as well as improving opportunities to view Port activities from the new waterside public plaza area. 
A computer-generated view of a new Liffeyside Maritime Village. A modern sailing and rowing campus on the river Liffey is envisaged as part of Dublin Port's 3FM Project. The campus will provide enhanced facilities for a range of users, including sailing and rowing clubs, sea scouts, the Nautical Trust and local boat owners. The Maritime Village has been developed in consultation with local groups and will replace the current much smaller facilities as well as improve opportunities to view Port activities from the new waterside public plaza area

Dublin Port Company has today commenced formal public consultation on 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 is focused on Dublin Port lands on the Poolbeg Peninsula, on the south side of the bay and will deliver 20% of the capacity required by 2040. The Poolbeg peninsula already houses the greatest cluster of major utility operations in Ireland, with the largest wastewater works, the biggest waste-to-energy plant as well as power stations and part of the National Oil Reserve.

The 3FM project follows on from the first two Masterplan phases focused on the Port lands north of the bay – Alexandra Basin Redevelopment, which is nearing completion and MP2 which has recently commenced construction. All three are pillars of Dublin Port Company’s highly strategic approach to maximising Port capacity, which has been underway since 2010.

A computer-generated view of a new proposed opening bridge across the river Liffey as part of Dublin Port's 3FM Project. This new 190m bridge will link the north and south port areas and will include a 45m lifting section to the east of the Tom Clarke Bridge

This period of public consultation will be open until Friday, April 28th. It follows initial conversations in 2021 with key stakeholders and also a first round of public engagement in November 2021. Feedback from this led to a number of important changes to the initial plans. Since then, Dublin Port Company has been engaged in the preparation of detailed designs and environmental analysis ahead of lodging a planning application in summer 2023. This latest consultation phase will include a number of Public Information Days in Poolbeg, Ringsend and Clontarf where the Dublin Port team can discuss the plans with members of the local communities.

Details of the 3FM Project are available to view online here

Highlights of the 3FM Project

The project has seven main elements:

A new 2.2km road called the Southern Port Access Road (SPAR).

This will link the north and south port areas, and will include a 190m bridge, with a 45m lifting section to the east of the Tom Clarke Bridge. This will take heavy goods traffic off local roads by providing a dedicated route for port traffic as well as other heavy goods traffic on the Poolbeg Peninsula. The SPAR will have a substantial ‘active travel’ provision comprising cycle and pedestrian ways, as well as capacity for public transport to Poolbeg.

A map of the Southern Port Access Road (SPAR) at Dublin PortA map of the Southern Port Access Road (SPAR) at Dublin Port

The SPAR Opening Bridge across the River LiffeyA computer-generated view of the SPAR Opening Bridge across the River Liffey

A CGI-View from SPAR looking East across the River Liffey A computer-generated view from SPAR looking East across the River Liffey

The development of the largest container terminal in Ireland in front of the ESB’s Poolbeg Power Station.

This terminal will have 650 metres of new deeper water berths at the east of the port and comprise a 9.1 hectare area for exports (Area N) at the waterside and a 5.9 hectare yard (Area O) on the southern side of the Poolbeg peninsula for imports. Altogether this terminal will have the capacity to handle 353,000 units (600,000 TEU) annually – more than twice the number of containers handled in all other ports in the country last year.

The relocation of container traffic to the east of the Port will allow the construction of a major new Ro-Ro terminal just north of the Sean Moore Roundabout.

This 12.6 hectare site will take trucks with containers (Roll On / Roll Off) for the increasing volumes of traffic coming directly from Europe post-Brexit. This terminal will add significantly to national strategic Ro-Ro capacity.

A new 325-metre ship turning circle in front of Pigeon House Harbour.

This has been the subject of extensive simulation modelling and will allow safe and efficient turning of 240m long ferries – the largest class of vessels.

A Utility Area

A 1 hectare to accommodate services provided by others, including the district heating system to be provided from the Covanta waste to energy plant and other services for the proposed residential developments in Poolbeg.

A new ‘Maritime Village’

a modern sailing and rowing campus which will provide enhanced facilities for a range of users, including sailing and rowing clubs, sea scouts, the Nautical Trust and local boat owners. The Maritime Village has been developed in consultation with local groups and will replace the current much smaller facilities as well as improving opportunities to view Port activities from the new waterside public plaza area. 

Extensive Community Facilities

Including a 2.8 hectare Port Park and adjacent landscaped area, with 5G floodlit playing pitches and dog run. It will also see the provision of 5.5 km of active cycle and pedestrian paths throughout the Poolbeg peninsula which when linked to the planned active travel routes on the north side of the river will provide over 16km of cycle & pedestrian paths.  

A computer generated image of the Greenway at the front of the Port CentreA computer generated image of the Greenway at the front of the Port Centre

A Vital Project for Ireland

Dublin Port is the facilitator of economic growth in Ireland and the Masterplan is based on maximising Dublin Port’s capacity up to 2040. Dublin Port Company has previously highlighted that new port facilities will be needed elsewhere on the east coast to cater for increased port demand after that point. Without 3FM, Dublin Port would reach its capacity much earlier – perhaps by 2030, prompting the risk of a national port capacity shortage.

3FM is seen as a project of national strategic importance and it is mandated through Project Ireland 2040, National Ports Policy and as part of the National Development Plan 2021-2030.

It is expected that a planning application for 3FM will be made to An Bord Pleanála in summer 2023 and based on a start date in 2026, the target completion date for the overall project is 2039.

Port-City Integration

The 3FM project will deliver on the capacity objectives of Masterplan 2040 but it will also address an ongoing key objective of Dublin Port Company – the reintegration of the Port with Dublin City. Citizens will benefit from the 2.8 hectare Port Park and adjacent landscaped areas and improved access to the waterfront and Great South Wall, all linked by more than 5km of new and improved pedestrian and cycle routes. These will tie in with over 10km of greenways and active travel routes currently being built in the north port area, including the Liffey-Tolka Project.

Commenting on the 3FM project, Dublin Port Chief Executive Barry O’Connell said:

“We are very pleased to be progressing the 3FM project – which literally means “third and final” project of Masterplan 2040.

“Growth in volumes has been driven by a vibrant economy which has resulted in an increase in household consumption but also a hugely successful export sector. Exports now account for 40% of all movements through the port with at least some of the 60% of imports also comprising of raw materials later to be exported. With the value of exports up to 3.5 times that of imports it is clear to see how important the export sector is to the economy and indeed, how successful the State’s FDI strategy has been. Dublin Port, whilst having no direct influence on demand, has a critical role to play in facilitating this economic growth which is why the 3FM project is of critical importance as we look to a future of continued economic prosperity.

Dublin Port CEO Barry O’ConnellDublin Port CEO Barry O’Connell

Dublin Port will need to maximise capacity within its existing footprint for an annual throughput of 3.1 million trailers and containers by 2040. The 3FM project will deliver 20% of this capacity through the largest Lo-Lo terminal in Ireland – 353,000 containers per annum and a new Ro-Ro freight terminal – 252,000 freight trailers per annum.

“Dublin Port Company takes a generational approach to development at the Port – large infrastructure projects take up to 20 years from inception to completion. We know what we have to deliver on to enable Ireland’s growth up to 2040 and beyond and our expert team has been actively engaged in delivering the Masterplan for more than 10 years now. The ABR project is coming close to completion and we are pleased to have recently commenced the MP2 project on our northern lands.

“The Masterplan would be unable to progress without the support of all of our stakeholders and the early conversations in 2021 on 3FM, particularly with the statutory agencies, the major utilities already in Poolbeg and our local communities were extremely important in shaping our plans to this stage. We look forward to even greater engagement in the weeks ahead.

“Enhanced amenities for local citizens are central to our planning and the wonderful amenities at Port Park, the Maritime Village and all along the additional 5km of active travel routes will open up the waterside in new ways to Dubliners and help deepen understanding of the huge contribution the everyday work of the Port brings to enable all of our work and home lives. Port-City integration is a major objective of Dublin Port Company and 3FM will link in seamlessly with our other important projects in strengthening that vital connection between the Port and the people it serves”. 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.