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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.”

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Dublin Port has today reported trading figures for the nine months to the end of September 2021.

Overall port throughput declined over the period from January to September 2021 by -3.3% to 25.9 million gross tonnes compared to the same period in 2020. Imports from January to September increased by +0.4% to 15.7 million gross tonnes but exports declined by -8.4% to 10.2 million gross tonnes.

Trade Volumes Ebb and Flow in First Nine Months

The outturn after nine months comes after a volatile first three quarters:

  • Weak first quarter v Q1 2020: - 15.2% to 7.8 million gross tonnes
  • Strong second quarter v Q2 2020: + 13.1% to 9.0 million gross tonnes
  • Decline in the third quarter v Q3 2020: - 5.4% to 9.1 million gross tonnes

Brexit Drives Large Growth in Volumes on Continental European Routes

Notwithstanding the decline of -3.3% in overall gross tonnes, the number of containers and trailers in the Ro-Ro and Lo‑Lo modes - the largest part of Dublin Port’s business - declined by just -0.5% to 1,060,445 units but with very different trends between the two modes:

  • Ro-Ro volumes declined by -6.6% to 707,212 units
  • Lo-Lo volumes increased by +14.4% to 353,233 units (equivalent to 637,514 TEU)

Behind the different trends in Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo, there has also been a large and consistent change in the geographical mix of Dublin Port’s trade since the introduction of Brexit border controls in January 2021.

Whereas overall unitised volumes were down by just -0.5%, volumes on routes to Great Britain declined by -21.2% to 537,680 in the nine months (primarily Holyhead, Liverpool and Heysham).

On the other hand, volumes on routes to Continental Europe increased by +36.3% to 522,765 units (mainly Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Antwerp and Cherbourg).

As a result, unitised volumes on routes to Great Britain now account for just over one half (51%) of all unitised trade where, before Brexit, they accounted for approaching two-thirds (64%).

Allied to this, the proportion of Ro-Ro units which are driver accompanied (181,605 after nine months) has fallen from 32% to 26%.

Evidence of Increasing Economic Activity

As a sign of increased economic activity, new vehicle imports in the nine months from January to September increased by +19.0% to 63,000.

By comparison with the volume decline in the unitised modes of Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo, volumes in the non-unitised modes were ahead after nine months by +3.7% to 4.4 million tonnes:

  • Bulk Liquid imports (mostly petroleum products) increased by +1.3% to 2,868,000 tonnes
  • Imports and exports of Bulk Solid commodities increased by +6.0% to 1,453,000 tonnes

Notwithstanding growth in passenger and tourist volumes on ferries over the third quarter from July to September, passenger numbers (including HGV drivers) after nine months are behind last year by -12.7% to 568,000 and tourist vehicles are down -1.8% to 167,000.

Dublin Port’s Chief Executive comments

Commenting on the January to September 2021 figures, Dublin Port’s Chief Executive, Eamonn O’Reilly, said:

“After nine months, the impact of Brexit on the profile of Dublin Port’s trade has become clear with volumes on unitised services to Great Britain declining by just over one-fifth while volumes on services to Continental Europe increased by more than a third. Because of this, our unitised volumes are now split 50/50 between GB ports and ports in Continental Europe. Before Brexit, GB ports accounted for almost two-thirds.

“The movement of Irish trade to EU markets and away from the UK has also had the effect of reducing the number of trailers that move through Dublin Port which are driver-accompanied. Over the nine months, nearly 60,000 loads which would have been driver-accompanied before Brexit were shipped as unaccompanied trailers. This is bad news from a port capacity perspective.

“In addition, we have seen a much larger decline in gross tonnes in the unitised modes than we saw in the number of containers and trailers; 3.3% compared to 0.5%. Our interpretation of this is that the average size of a load in a container or trailer has reduced because operational efficiencies which the Single European Market had facilitated in trade with Britain have been removed because of Brexit.

“The only positive thing we have seen since Brexit is that the much-feared congestion and delays as a result of border controls have not materialised. The average number of physical inspections on trailers coming off ferries from Britain is less than three per sailing. However efficient the border inspections by State agencies are, some Ro-Ro operators are now opting to use Northern Irish ports instead of Dublin. We believe that this dislocation of trade to ports in Northern Ireland will be a permanent feature. The dislocation is a reversal of what happened in Dublin Port when the Single European Market came into being thirty years ago.

“The long-established year-on-year growth trend we have seen in Dublin Port has been disrupted by Brexit and by Covid-19. However, we believe that this is a temporary phenomenon and that the growth we are seeing in volumes on services to Continental European ports, will, by 2023, drive throughput volumes back to the record levels of 2019.

“In the meantime, the different patterns in UK trade compared to EU trade are creating capacity pinch points in some parts of the port and we currently have two shipping lines looking to commence services in Dublin which cannot be accommodated. To remove these capacity pinch points, we need to continue our capital investment programme to increase port capacity in the short-term. This includes relocating the last four empty container depots from Dublin Port to Dublin Inland Port in order to free up six hectares of land for cargo handling.

“Looking to the longer-term, we are progressing with the 3FM Project - the third and final Masterplan project required to bring Dublin Port to its ultimate capacity by 2040 - and will shortly commence public consultation before we start into detailed design and environmental impact analysis. We will lodge a planning application with An Bord Pleanála for the 3FM Project in 2023.”

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Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, T.D., has today officially opened a new state-of-the-art playground for the 240 pupils of St. Joseph’s Co-ed. Primary School in Dublin’s East Wall.

This is the first time in more than 10 years that the school has been able to carry out a major upgrade on the senior playground for pupils at the 62-year old school, which is located just 10 minutes from Dublin Port. The playground is part of the local community benefit from Dublin Port’s MP2 Project.

The new facilities bring to life what was once a large open space on the senior playground in the school grounds. In its place is a new multi-purpose all-weather pitch that is wheelchair accessible, with equipment to cater for both team sports and individual play. Basketball, football, gymnastics bars, a swing, roundabout and boxing bags have all been incorporated into the new design, finished in a cushioned surface.

Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance and T.D. for Dublin Central, who unveiled a plaque at the school, said: “I am delighted to open the new playground at St. Joseph’s Co-Ed Primary School in East Wall. My compliments go to the entire school team who have created a vibrant outdoor space where pupils of all ages and abilities can learn and play. Recreation is such an important part of the school experience, supporting children’s development and the wellbeing of the wider community. I have no doubt that the playground will be a huge hit with the boys and girls who returned to school in September to discover their school yard transformed.”

Maureen O’Sullivan, Chairperson of St. Joseph’s Co-Ed Primary School in East Wall, said; “The entire school community is excited to celebrate the opening of the new playground with Minister Donohoe as guest of honour. A special word of thanks goes to Dublin Port Company whose ongoing support has been such a positive in the lives of our community. It means so much to provide the pupils with a dedicated and modern space designed to encourage healthy, active lifestyles from a young age.”

Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company, said; “Dublin Port’s Masterplan includes a commitment to sustainable economic development in ways that improve quality of life for the port’s communities. Our MP2 Project to develop part of the north port area prioritised local education as a community gain, and the school then identified a real need for modern playground facilities. It’s wonderful to see the playground come to fruition and finished to such a high standard. I have no doubt the benefits will be enjoyed by all at St. Joseph’s for generations to come.”

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Dublin Port Company (DPC) has today announced that Dublin Inland Port will open in early November 2021, with Dublin Ferryport Terminals (DFT) confirmed as the first company licenced to begin operating at the state-of-the-art facility in North Dublin.

The move will enable DFT, as the operator of one of the country’s largest container terminals, to increase its total throughput handling capacity at Dublin Port by 20%.

DPC has invested more than €48m to date acquiring and developing Dublin Inland Port on a 44-hectare site some 14km from Dublin Port, with direct access to the M50 and to Dublin Port via the Dublin Port Tunnel.

The opening of Dublin Inland Port delivers on a key commitment in DPC’s Masterplan 2040 to maximise the use of existing port lands by allowing port-related, but non-core activities - such as empty container storage - to be relocated away from Dublin Port.

Alec Colvin, DFT Terminal Director, Declan Freeman, Managing Director of ICG’s Container and Terminal Division, Cormac Kennedy, Head of Property at Dublin Port Company at the new €48m Dublin Inland Port which Dublin Port Company opens in November and where DFT is the first company awarded a licence to operate at the state-of-the-art logistics facility in North DublinAlec Colvin, DFT Terminal Director, Declan Freeman, Managing Director of ICG’s Container and Terminal Division, Cormac Kennedy, Head of Property at Dublin Port Company at the new €48m Dublin Inland Port which Dublin Port Company opens in November and where DFT is the first company awarded a licence to operate at the state-of-the-art logistics facility in North Dublin

The development at Dublin Inland Port will result in more efficient use of the Dublin Port Tunnel and of Dublin Port’s internal network by diverting HGVs dropping off or collecting empty containers to Dublin Inland Port.

DFT Awarded First Licence to Operate at Dublin Inland Port

The first operator at Dublin Inland Port is Dublin Ferryport Terminals (DFT). DFT has signed a 20-year lease with DPC to run a new five-hectare empty container depot at the facility. The empty container depot will be run under the brand name Dublin Ferryport Inland Depot (DFID).

DFT, owned by Irish Continental Group (ICG), is also the operator of one of Dublin Port’s three container terminals, identifiable by its red cranes.

Growing Demand for Lo-Lo Freight Handling

DFT will relocate its current empty depot business to Dublin Inland Port from its container terminal in Dublin Port, thereby freeing up capacity to handle more full containers. The freed-up space at DFT will increase its capacity by 20% from the second half of 2022 after completion of further development at the terminal including the delivery of five new Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes.

Declan Freeman, Managing Director of ICG’s Container and Terminal Division, said; “The new licence to operate our Dublin Ferryport Inland Depot (DFID) at Dublin Inland Port comes at an important time for our business. To meet growing customer demand for our Lo-Lo freight handling services, we need to be able to move containers through the DFT terminal at Dublin Port in greater numbers than before, and more frequently. Dublin Inland Port will give us the flexibility, and much needed additional capacity to do that.

“Dublin Inland Port is in an ideal location just off the N2 at Coldwinters, only 15 minutes from our terminal in Dublin Port. It will allow our customers to maximise their trucking capacity and provide a modern empty depot facility with the enhanced possibility to upgrade both dry and refrigerated containers to meet the growing demands of exporters in the pharmaceutical and agri-food sector.

“The relocation of our empty depot business, the investments we will make in groundworks and the delivery of five new Rubber Tyred Gantries (RTGs) at our DFT terminal will provide much needed capacity in Dublin Port from the second half of 2022. We are delighted to partner with Dublin Port on this exciting development at Dublin Inland Port and assist Dublin Port in delivering on its Masterplan 2040 objectives.”

Cormac Kennedy, Head of Property, Dublin Port Company, said; “DPC has invested more than €48m to date acquiring and developing this state-of-the-art hub. This first phase of Dublin Inland Port will be ready to hand over to DFT in time to commence operations in November. We look forward to welcoming DFT and seeing their business go from strength to strength at the facility.

“This depot has been constructed to the highest of standards and occupies one of the best locations to access Dublin Port. The current phase at Dublin Inland Port is capable of accommodating up to 6,000 shipping containers at any one time when fully operational, in an area the same size as Merrion Square. Other shipping and logistics operators will join DFT at the facility as DPC continues to maximise the capacity of Dublin Port’s existing footprint to meet national port capacity requirements in the period of Masterplan 2040.”

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Dublin Port Company is recruiting for the role of vessel traffic services (VTS) operator. The successful candidate once appointed will join a highly skilled team at Dublin Port.

Working as part of a self-relieving and interdependent team of VTS operators, the successful candidate will be a key team member within a larger team of pilots, marine operatives and the shipping desk delivering timely and accurate information and responses to developing and dynamic situations.

The full profile of this role can be found on the Dublin Port website HERE. Prospective candidates can apply via LinkedIn Easy Apply or alternatively send full personal, career and current remuneration details to Human Resources at [email protected]

The closing date for applications for this position is this Sunday 5 September.

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Dublin Port Company has hailed the recent Blessing of the Boats ceremony and flotilla from Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club, which was officiated by Fr Ivan Tonge.

The annual blessing of the boats and fleet is a time-honoured tradition which dates back many centuries with some origins traced back to early Greek fisherman, the port company says.

Events in ports around the world can range from a simple ceremony to a multi-day festival including church services, parades, dancing, feasting and contests.

Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club’s 2021 Blessing of the Boats flotilla at the mouth of the LiffeyThe flotilla at the mouth of the Liffey | Credit: Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club

Published in Dublin Port

The Naval Ship LE Samuel Beckett, with Minister for Defence Simon Coveney on board, sailed through Dublin Port and the Tom Clarke Bridge to Sir John Rogerson’s Quay today accompanied by an Air Corps flyover as part of the Naval Service’s 75-year anniversary celebrations.

The vessel berthed alongside the James Joyce, William Butler Yates & George Bernard Shaw vessels which arrived on Monday.

This week’s manoeuvres saw the fleet converge on the capital, first with a Guard of Honour for Defence Minister Simon Coveney in Dun Laoghaire Harbour this morning at 9.15 am.

At 10 am, the LÉ Samuel Beckett departed Dun Laoghaire for the River Liffey in Dublin under a gun salute from the Army’s 2 Brigade Artillery Regiment.

On arrival in the city, the vessel took a salute from sister ships of the P60 class at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, where there was also be an Air Corps helicopter fly-past.

The fleet is open to the public on Wednesday.

Naval Service 75 Year Anniversary Celebrations at Dublin Port. Photo Gallery by Shane O’Neill

Published in Navy

Dublin Port Company has come on board to support Water Safety Ireland for the first UN “World Drowning Prevention Day” on July 25th by illuminating Dublin’s Diving Bell in blue, one of several landmarks taking part in the global initiative to raise awareness of World Drowning Prevention Day on July 25th. 

Meanwhile, Dublin Port Harbourmaster, Captain Michael McKenna is urging sailors, anglers, kayakers, windsurfers, kitesurfers, paddleboarders, swimmers and jetski users to remember to “Get your bearings — always think water safety” on the lower reaches of the Liffey and out into Dublin Bay.

McKenna was talking with Afloat's Lorna Siggins on the Wavelength's podcast here.

 More on World Drowning Prevention Day here 

Published in Dublin Port

“Get your bearings — always think water safety”. That’s what Dublin Port harbourmaster Capt Michael McKenna is urging sailors, anglers, kayakers, windsurfers, kitesurfers, paddleboarders, swimmers and jetski users to remember on the lower reaches of the Liffey and out into Dublin Bay.

Actor and comedian Darren Conway has been enlisted for the port’s water safety campaign, which coincides with UN World Drowning Prevention Day this weekend.

In an interview with Wavelengths, Capt McKenna explains how it came about, and welcomes the increase in and activity on the water in recent months.

The campaign outlines eight steps (listed below) for water users to remember, starting with planning a voyage and checking weather, wind, and tides.

Dublin Port's new water safety flyerDublin Port's new water safety flyer

Dublin Port is handling up to 50 ship movements a day, and so Capt Mc Kenna urges craft seeking to cross shipping channels to call up the port’s vessel traffic system (VTS) on VHF channel 12.

VTS can advise the leisure craft as to when it is safe to cross the channel – and can also advise ships arriving and leaving to look out for smaller craft, he explains.

The benefits are two-fold. Kayaks and small white yachts or paddleboarders on a breezy day can be difficult to spot, he says.

“And the person on a smaller leisure craft has a much shorter horizon,” he explains.

If in a kayak or on a board, “you can’t yet see the ship coming over the horizon and it might be on top of you in six minutes,” he says.

“Please don’t be shy to call – VTS will be delighted with the call,” he says.

Compact VHF radios in waterproof pouches are a good investment for smaller craft users, he says.

Capt McKenna also reminds people in recreational craft to wear personal flotation devices (PFDs) at all times.

The PFD is no use in the boot of a car, he says, and he appeals to crew on larger yachts to remember this too.

“Isn’t it great to see so many people out on the water,” he adds.

You can listen to him on Wavelengths below

Dublin Port’s eight safety steps, which apply to anyone on the water right around the coastline, are:

  1. Plan your voyage: check the wind, weather and tide.
  2. Tell someone where you are going and your time of arrival/return.
  3. Wear a personal flotation device.
  4. Ensure your safety equipment is working, including VHF radio for boat users.
  5. Familiarise yourself with the location of the shipping lanes in Dublin Port.
  6. Keep a sharp lookout for other boats by sight and by sound, and radar if you have one.
  7. Call VTS on VHF Channel 12 to get traffic updates and permission to cross the shipping channel, or traffic routing schemes, at Dublin Port.
  8. In an emergency, call the Coast Guard on VHF Ch 16 or phone 112.

More information is on dublinport.ie

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Dublin Port Company has today reported trading figures for the second quarter of 2021 and for the first half of the year.

Following a weak first quarter, (when volumes declined by -15.2% in the first three months after Brexit), there was a +13.1% increase to 9.0 million gross tonnes in Dublin Port’s volumes for the second quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. After six months, volumes are now only ‑2.1% behind last year.

Imports from April to June increased strongly by +20.3% to 5.4 million gross tonnes while exports grew by 3.7% to 3.5 million gross tonnes.

Unitised trade (Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo) accounted for 84% of all cargo volumes in the quarter and the number of trailers and containers combined increased by +16.5% to 374,000 units. Within this, Ro‑Ro increased by +12.4% to 253,000 units while Lo‑Lo grew by 26.2% to 121,000 units (equivalent to 220,000 TEU).

The strong growth in the second quarter brings Dublin Port’s unitised volumes (Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo) to 692,000 units for the first half of the year, +1.6% ahead of 2020.

As a sign of increased economic activity, new vehicle imports in the second quarter more than doubled to 22,000 units and Bulk Liquid imports (mostly petroleum products) increased by +34.4% to 969,000 tonnes.

Imports and exports of Bulk Solid commodities grew by +22.3% to 474,000 tonnes in the three months from April to June.

Passenger and tourist volumes on ferries also showed signs of growth with passenger numbers (including HGV drivers) ahead by +41.0% to 125,000 and tourist vehicles up by +26.0% to 30,000 in the quarter.

Although volumes recovered strongly during the second quarter of 2021, cargo throughput in the first half of the year is still behind where it was before Brexit and pre-pandemic.

While volumes after six months are down by just -2.1% compared to 2020, they are -12.7% lower compared to the record levels of 2019. Within the overall volume figures, unitised trade is still -7.4% lower than it was two years ago.

Commenting on the Q2 2021 figures, Dublin Port’s Chief Executive, Eamonn O’Reilly, said:

“As each month goes by, the negative impact of the exceptionally weak start to the year post Brexit is being reduced. In the circumstances, a decline of just -2.1% after six months is not too bad a performance. However, we remain nearly -13% behind where we were in the record year of 2019.

“The effects of Brexit on the pattern of trade through Dublin Port are now becoming clearer with very strong growth of 40% on Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo services to Continental European ports compared to a decline of -19% on services with ports in Great Britain. As a result, our unitised volumes are now split 50/50 between GB ports and ports in Continental Europe. Before Brexit, GB ports accounted for almost two-thirds.

“Border inspections on imports from GB are operating very efficiently with no queuing or significant delays. On average only three trailers are being called for some form of physical inspection on each ferry that arrives. While volumes on services from Holyhead are some way behind where they were last year, there are clear signs that the landbridge is being re-established and we anticipate the steady recovery we are seeing in GB Ro-Ro volumes to continue.

“With much higher growth on direct services to Continental Europe, the proportion of unitised loads which are driver accompanied has dropped from 23% to just 17% in the first half of the year. This effect - taken together with the loss of 14.6 hectares (20 football pitches) for border inspection facilities – is putting increased pressure on port capacity, particularly in the western end of the port where works are continuing to complete Ireland’s largest Ro-Ro freight terminal. This is due to come into operation in the first half of next year.

“With long-term growth trends beginning to re-emerge, we anticipate a return to record levels of throughput by 2023. The long-term planning to provide additional port capacity for future growth never stops and we have recently commenced pre-application consultation with An Bord Pleanála for the 3FM Project, the third and final Masterplan project required to bring Dublin Port to its ultimate capacity by 2040. We aim to lodge a planning application for this project in 2023.”

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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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