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Dublin Port Company is supporting the State’s effort to recover from the Four Courts fire of 1922 by funding the conservation of 200-year-old records concerning Dublin Port.

On 30 June 1922, the Public Record Office of Ireland at the Four Courts was destroyed in the opening engagement of the Civil War. In the aftermath of the fire of 1922, over 25,000 sheets of paper and parchment were retrieved from the rubble. These records, which date from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries, are known as the ‘1922 Salved Records’. They are now held at the National Archives.

Most of this collection remained unopened until the last five years. As the successor of the Public Record Office of Ireland, the National Archives is a Core Partner in the Beyond 2022 project—an all-island and international research programme hosted at Trinity College Dublin and funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under Project Ireland 2040. The project is working to reconstruct what was lost in 1922.

During a recent investigation of unopened parcels of salved records through the Beyond 2022 project, archivists identified five parcels of significance to the history of Dublin Port.

The thousands of sheets of paper are historically significant both as survivors of the destruction of 1922, and as fresh evidence for the historical development of Dublin PortThe thousands of sheets of paper are historically significant both as survivors of the destruction of 1922, and as fresh evidence for the historical development of Dublin Port

Now, with generous support from Dublin Port Company, these records are being restored by the conservation team at the National Archives of Ireland. The conservation work is being undertaken by the Beyond 2022 Project Conservator, Jessica Baldwin, under the guidance of Zoë Reid, Keeper, Public Services and Collection. The documents all show some evidence of damage from the heat of the flames, as well damp and rain from exposure to the weather following the fire. Despite the damage, conservation will mean that documents not seen for 100 years can soon be consulted again by historians and the public.

The thousands of sheets of paper are historically significant both as survivors of the destruction of 1922, and as fresh evidence for the historical development of Dublin Port. These papers create an incredible snapshot of the bustling live of the busy port with hundreds of people from around the country, from ports in Killybegs, Strangford and Youghal coming to collect salaries, pensions and trade in goods. They contain details on salaries and compensations, and many names of inspectors and collectors of customs taxes. They provide accounts about wine, bounties on beef and pork, allowances on silk, detail repayments of taxes on fish, ash, salt, and linen. For example, over 50 documents relating to the Bounty Payments for Fish in the summer of 1817 give a fascinating insight, as they include information on the ship, listing crew members and detailing the size and type of catch. These are important details of trade and commerce in Dublin Port that do not exist elsewhere.

Following the conservation, the documents dating from 1817–1818 will be available for research and suitable for digitization.

Speaking about the partnership, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said: “This partnership between Beyond 2022, the National Archives and Dublin Port is an important and significant one. The process of saving the recovered records from the fire at the Public Record Office in June 1922 is a flagship project under the Government’s Decade of Centenaries Programme led by my Department's Commemorations Unit.

“The care that staff in the Public Record Office demonstrated over 100 years ago in their mission to save as many records as possible is now being continued by a highly skilled and committed team of archivists and conservators working together to uncover and reveal a snapshot of what life looked like at Dublin Port in 1922.”

Eamonn O’Reilly and Orlaith McBrideEamonn O’Reilly and Orlaith McBride examine the archive

Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port, said: “Our own rich archive is an important and actively used resource which we routinely rely on to tell the story of Dublin Port. We are delighted now to be able to add to the additional archive materials related to Dublin Port which the National Archives holds by supporting the conservation of records recovered after the burning of the Four Courts a century ago.”

Orlaith McBride, Director of the National Archives, said: “The conservation of these records represents a significant contribution to the State’s key legacy project from the Decade of Centenaries. The National Archives as successor institution to Public Record Office has held these records, salvaged from the fire in 1922, in its care for almost 100 years and has now begun the process of conservation. This support from Dublin Port is invaluable in terms of allowing us to progress this work.”

Dr Peter Crooks, Trinity College Dublin and Academic Director of the Beyond 2022 project, said: “As each page of these fascinating archives is restored, another page of Irish history is returned to the public record. These documents provide a fascinating insight into everyday life 200 years ago - not only in Dublin, with its extensive trading network, but also across Ireland at large.”

Published in Dublin Port
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Dublin Port’s volumes have recovered strongly in the first quarter of 2022 with growth of 13.7% to 8.9 million gross tonnes compared to same period in 2021.

Reporting its trading figures for Q1 today (Wednesday 20 April), Dublin Port company also confirmed that imports from January to March grew by +14.2% to 5.4 million gross tonnes, and exports also grew, by 12.8% to 3.5 million gross tonnes.

Unitised trade (Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo) accounted for 82% of all cargo volumes in the quarter and the number of trailers and containers combined increased by +13.3% to 363,000 units.

Within this, there was a strong recovery in Ro‑Ro with growth of 22.9% to 250,000 units. This was partly offset by a decrease in Lo‑Lo of -3.5% to 112,000 units (equivalent to 202,000 TEU).

While overall unitised volumes grew to 363,000 units, trends were very different geographically:

  • Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo to and from ports in the Cherbourg to Rotterdam range increased by +1.8% to 152,000 units.
  • Unitised volumes (mainly Ro-Ro) to and from the GB ports of Holyhead, Liverpool and Heysham grew by 23.0% to 192,000 units.
  • Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo with other EU ports and with non-EU ports in the Mediterranean increased by +26.4% to 19,000 units.

Elsewhere in Dublin Port’s unitised trades, imports of new trade vehicles declined by ‑8.0% to 25,000 units as land constraints continue to impact the port’s transit storage capacity.

Bulk liquid imports of petroleum products returned to the pre-pandemic record levels of 2019 with strong growth of +20.2% to 1.1 million tonnes, emphasising Dublin Port’s importance as a national energy hub.

Bulk solids (including agri‑feed products, ore concentrates and cement products) finished the quarter +8.0% ahead at 0.6 million tonnes.

Outside of Dublin Port’s cargo business, passenger and tourism volumes have partially recovered post-pandemic. Passenger numbers on ferries (including HGV drivers) increased by more than 150% to 209,000 while tourist vehicles more than doubled to 58,000 (+238%).

However, both passenger numbers (-23%) and tourist vehicle volumes (-29%) remain significantly behind their pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

‘The level of growth we are now seeing at the start of 2022 suggests that record throughput levels will again be seen by 2023 or 2024’

Commenting on the Q1 2022 figures, Dublin Port’s outgoing chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly said: “Given that the first quarter of 2021 was very weak in the wake of Brexit — with overall cargo volumes back by -15% — we anticipated, and, duly saw, a strong recovery of +14% in the first quarter of the year to nine million gross tonnes.

“Dublin Port accounts for four-fifths of all trailers and containers handled in ports in Ireland and, in the first quarter of 2022, volumes grew strongly by +13% to 363,000 units.

“This recovery was driven, in large part, by the +23% growth to 192,000 units in freight volumes on services to the ports of Holyhead, Liverpool and Heysham. However, volumes on these routes are still -18% below their pre-Brexit levels

“Elsewhere, volumes of trailers and containers on services to the EU and beyond – which had increased by +18% last year – grew in the first quarter of 2022 by a further +2% to 171,000 units.

“Imports of petroleum through Dublin Port account for nearly one-third of all of the country’s energy needs and, in the first quarter, volumes of petrol, diesel and other fuels increased by one-fifth.

“Dublin Port’s last record year was 2019 and volumes in the first quarter of this year were -8% lower than they had been three years ago. The level of growth we are now seeing at the start of 2022 suggests that record throughput levels will again be seen by 2023 or 2024.

He added: “This growth maintains the pressure on us to continue to deliver our large capital programme at pace. This will not be easy against the background of high inflation which is particularly evident in the construction sector.”

Published in Dublin Port
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Dublin Port Company has taken delivery of a new Pilot Boat named DPC Dodder.

The state-of-the-art vessel represents a significant investment to support the critical service performed by the pilots and pilot boat crews on the River Liffey and Dublin Bay.

Built by Goodchild Marine, the boat was accompanied on its journey home by its sister ship, the DPC Tolka and flanked by tug boats Beaufort and Shackleton.

Dublin Port Company has taken delivery of a new Pilot Boat, named DPC Dodder. The state-of-the art vessel, which represents a significant investment to support the critical service performed by the pilots and pilot boat crews, arrived in Dublin Port having set sail from Great Yarmouth last week.

Taking delivery of the 17.1 metre ORC vessel in Dublin Port was Harbour Master Captain Michael McKenna and Assistant Harbour Master Paul Hogan. The latest addition to the Port’s fleet is the second incarnation of the DPC Dodder, as the original was retired in 2020 following 23 years of service. The new Dodder joins pilot boats Liffey, Camac, and Tolka amongst the Port’s fleet of working vessels, which also includes tugboats Shackleton and Beaufort and multi-purpose workboat the Rosbeg.

Piloting the new vessel on her maiden voyage to Dublin was Alan Goodchild of the leading UK boat builder Goodchild Marine Services Limited, the Norfolk-based company that built DPC Dodder having secured the contract to construct the boat in 2020. This is the second pilot boat that Goodchild Marine has supplied to the Port in recent years, having delivered the DPC Tolka in 2019.Piloting the new vessel on her maiden voyage to Dublin was Alan Goodchild of the leading UK boat builder Goodchild Marine Services Limited, the Norfolk-based company that built DPC Dodder having secured the contract to construct the boat in 2020. This is the second pilot boat that Goodchild Marine has supplied to the Port in recent years, having delivered the DPC Tolka in 2019. Photo: Conor McCabe

Designed by French Naval Architect Pantocarene for both fuel efficiency and performance in challenging weather conditions, DPC Dodder features the latest navigational and safety equipment on board, including a dedicated Pilot workstation in the wheelhouse and hydraulic Man Overboard Recovery Platform at the stern.

With shipping companies increasingly deploying longer, deeper ships capable of carrying more cargo, DPC Dodder represents a vital upgrade and expansion in the provision of pilotage services at the Port and will allow Dublin Port’s team of highly skilled marine pilots to reach and board these ships in all weather conditions from a greater distance out into Dublin Bay.

Dublin Port Company has taken delivery of a new Pilot Boat named DPC Dodder.

Dublin Port Harbour Master, Captain Michael McKenna, said: “Dublin Port Company is delighted to take delivery of DPC Dodder, another state-of-the-art vessel from Goodchild Marine. Demand for pilotage continues to grow as the Port does, and DPC Dodder will help meet the operational and navigational needs of both regular customers and visiting vessels in the years ahead. We were delighted to work with Goodchild Marine again and thank them for their skills and workmanship in designing and delivering this vessel.”

Dublin Port Company has taken delivery of a new Pilot Boat named DPC Dodder.

Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company, said: “At Dublin Port we are always investing in infrastructure, but that is not simply confined to marine engineering works such as building quay walls, but also extends to the fleet that keeps the Port operational around the clock. Our pilots increasingly need to embark and disembark from much larger capacity ships, often in poor weather conditions or at peak times when demands for pilotage services are highest. DPC Dodder has allowed us to upgrade our equipment in line with customer investment in new ships and additional capacity on existing routes.”

Published in Dublin Port

"The only proven way young people will get to know their job and environment is learning while doing". That's the verdict of the Irish Nautical Trust's Jimmy Murray, who has launched a new River Liffey-based maritime training course on the capital's waters.

The community initiative sponsored by Google began this year and had the dual mandate of preserving the area's nautical heritage and creating long-term sustainable employment in the Dublin Port and Docklands.

Dublin Port and Docklands is a busy commercial port with many different types of vessels operating on the River LiffeyDublin Port and Docklands is a busy commercial port with many different types of vessels operating on the River Liffey

"We are hopeful that doing this will help those who come on board to obtain a certified level of maritime skills to enable them to gain sustainable employment in the maritime industry", Murray told Afloat.

The Trust aims to put up to 75% of its trainees in permanent employment within local maritime companies, with a further 15% going on to further maritime education.

Dublin Port Company operates a variety of boats on the River Liffey Dublin Port Company operates a variety of boats on the River Liffey including its newest Pilot Boat, named DPC Tolka pictured here on arrival greeted by tugboat Shackleton and pilot boat Liffey arriving into Dublin Port. The state-of-the-art vessel will allow marine pilots to reach and board larger ships in all weather conditions from a greater distance out into Dublin Bay. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

"The objective of our project is to create a maritime training programme to educate local unemployed people so they can attain a certified level of employment in the marine industry at Ireland's busiest port", Murray says.

There are no existing solutions to supply a certified workforce for maritime employment opportunities in Dublin Port.

Historically, maritime knowledge in the port has passed down between generations, and Murray hopes to keep this tradition alive by adding commercial certification for its course graduates.

The courses run by the Trust and supported by the Dublin Port Company are, according to Murray, unique to the Liffey environment and the Dublin Port area.

Seafaring technicians from the local area as well as external contractors approved by the Marine Survey Office (MSO), Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and Irish Sailing (ISA) will carry out the courses over a series of different modules.

Courses in 2022

The aim is to operate three courses in 2022. Each course will be carried out over 14 weeks under the Nautical Trust's Head instructor, Jimmy Dent.

Students do not require any educational qualifications or previous marine experience before joining the course, but Safe Pass and Manual Handling certification are required before the course starts.

The plan is for the courses to provide opportunities on the Liffey similar to what is available at the Maritime College in Cork and the Seamanship Centre in Donegal.

The experience gained from the introductory Marine Training Programme will give trainees the foundations to seek employment in the marine industry and prepare them to advance into further marine education.

The Irish Nautical Trust has devised a 14-week community based comprehensive Maritime Training Course for up to 10 students per course.Student tuition - The Irish Nautical Trust has devised a 14-week community based comprehensive Maritime Training Course for up to 10 students per course. The training is suitable for looking to begin a pathway to the Maritime Industry. Photo: INT

Seafaring

Course modules will include an introduction to Dublin Port and a code of practice for anyone involved in dock work. There will also be classes on seamanship, navigation and pilotage, as well as marine engine and hull maintenance. 

An introduction to powerboating will demonstrate safe boat handling for Irish waters and the course includes a period of practical workboat experience on the river. 

The skills learned are essential for anyone considering a career on any boats that ply the Liffey, such as tour, cruise and ferry boats. Workboats such as tugs and pilot boats and educational boats such as training vessels.

"We hope to establish a working relationship with marine businesses by creating a linked work experience programme with the many companies that already operate within the port", Murray says. 

Irish Nautical Trust logo

At the end of five years, Murray says he expects the Trust will have graduated a minimum of 120 students into full-time employment or further education in the maritime sector.

In the future, Murray also hopes the training model will go beyond the Dublin Docklands and grow to include other communities throughout Ireland that wish to embrace this type of training.  

Irish Nautical Trust Maritime Training Entry Requirements

• Minimum 18 years of age
• Not in full-time education
• Genuine interest in pursuing a career in the maritime sector
• Ability to work as part of a team
• Working knowledge of the English language
• Standard Medical fitness to include an eye test including colour vision

Courses began in February 2022. Contact Irish Nautical Trust at [email protected] or call 01- 66 88 113

Irish Nautical Trust Maritime Training

Published in River Liffey

The debate about the future form of Dublin Port moved up a gear or two in mid-February with the revelation of the existence of the Docklands Business Forum, and its enthusiasm for moving the working docks elsewhere. With 200 or so members, and more than a few of them from the heavy hitters among the docklands-headquartered global hi-tech communications companies, it has all the makings of a nice little earner, coming complete with a Chief Executive and supportive quotes from some universally-recognised corporate names.

Fair play to all involved, it seems to have struck a viable chord at a time when marketable new business ideas are strenuously sought. That said, knowing the hidden difficulties of a mega-project like port re-location (particularly in the constrained circumstances of the East Coast of Ireland), we can’t help but wonder if it’s just an attractive and marketable idea rather than a viable concept.

Major ports are three-dimensional entities, and the most important dimension is the one you can’t see – the depth of the water. Yet most of mankind tends to see the sea as no more than a watery surface. Thus this new movement’s current central theme is slightly reminiscent of the Boris Bridge across the North Channel, whose proponents argued that as the shortest sensible distance – between Donaghadee in Ireland and Portpatrick in Scotland – is only 19 miles, then it should be perfectly possible to build a bridge, as there already is a 37-mile long bridge in China.

But as it happens, many miles of the Chinese Bridge were built across water so shallow it could have been a causeway. Making it an impressive bridge was something of a vanity project. By contrast, where the tide-riven storm-tossed North Channel isn’t already quite deep, it is instead very deep indeed, with those ultra-depths filled with dumped World War II explosives for an added construction challenge.

Dublin Port’s situation is – in the broadest sense – unique, and it has to find its own solutions instead of expecting to draw on “international best practice”.Dublin Port’s situation is – in the broadest sense – unique, and it has to find its own solutions instead of expecting to draw on “international best practice”

So the idea was quietly discarded (after a Feasibility Study costing more than €1 million), and those attracted to grandiose infrastructural projects will probably have turned their attention elsewhere, such as towards the Let’s Cover Ireland With An Astrodome Movement, or the Dublin Airport Should Be Underground Project.

But enough of that. Let’s be clear that in Dublin, the Docklands Business Forum is putting forward serious ideas in promoting the re-location of Dublin Port’s activities regardless of the problem of depth requirement elsewhere, and the Forum is doing so in the genuine belief that their ideas will improve and enhance the city’s waterfront environment.

If implemented, their ideas would certainly improve and enhance the already large collection of fine old banknotes held by certain high-profile property developers. But we’ll set that aside for now, and respect the fact that despite the highly-regarded skill with which Dublin Port is managed within its constrained activities space, powerful spokesmen for the DBF demand that Dublin follow “international best practice” elsewhere, and move the port, even if it involves the dispersing of its activities to several locations.

By so doing, they argue, space would be created in the former docklands estate to build much-needed accommodation for their expanding staff. Occasionally the word “housing” comes in, but it’s difficult to escape the feeling that they’re talking of apartment blocks, and in Ireland apartment blocks aren’t housing, let alone homes - they’re flats, which are fine for couples, but few families like them.

Dublin Port have already identified Bremore north of Balbriggan as the best possible location for an alternative port, but to function successfully its construction would have to be a “mega-project” of incalculable expense, unjustifiable for the foreseeable future.Dublin Port have already identified Bremore north of Balbriggan as the best possible location for an alternative port, but to function successfully its construction would have to be a “mega-project” of incalculable expense, unjustifiable for the foreseeable future.

In their promotion of this, we’re surely justified in asking why - if they’re really so enthusiastic to radically change the nature of the port area - why were they so keen to build their shiny new HQ blocks in the dockland area in the first place? Why didn’t they cluster their glass cities out in agreeable business parks up towards the Dublin Mountains where they’ll be able to create a sense of remoteness from the nitty-gritty of real life, which is currently to be found in the contemporary dockland scene where ships come and go with frequency every day, and there’s a continuous and invigorating sense of visible commerce and trade.

For of course they were drawn to the Docklands because of the fascinating sense of colourful character about the place, energised by its sense of everyday dynamic interaction with the sea and shipping with a vibrant maritime culture which the Dublin Port authority actively encourages in a laudable and visionary way. Yet in hoping to move the port activities elsewhere, they would be tearing the living beating heart out of it all.

If the corporate office tenants in the Dublin Docklands find shipping and its activities so difficult to live with, then why did they choose to locate there in the first place?If the corporate office tenants in the Dublin Docklands find shipping and its activities so difficult to live with, then why did they choose to locate there in the first place?

If they have their way on this potentially trendy idea, Dublin Port would become no more than Port Disneyland, and the short coastline at Bremore close north of Balbriggan would become the location of a hugely expensive yet totally soul-less ships’ cargo handling installation run by minimal staff, an Orwellian setup with little organic connection to its hinterland.

An Orwellian monster….. if the possible alternative port at exposed Bremore was built to standards of “international best practice”, its cost would be prohibitively expensiveAn Orwellian monster….. if the possible alternative port at exposed Bremore was built to standards of “international best practice”, its cost would be prohibitively expensive

Yet in its favour, we’ll hear that cliché about “following best international practice”. As Dublin generally manages to be a moderately entertaining and liveable place by quite often not following best international practice, that’s a statement which deserves examination, and where better to see the result of leading and very trend-setting international practice than in New York?

Admittedly the significant visit was 25 years ago, but the Big Apple being what it is, even in 1997 New York was a glimpse of today’s possible future in Dublin. Needless to say, it was a sailing-related business, as we’d been down at Annapolis for the 75th Anniversary Ball in the Naval College for the Cruising Club of America’s Blue Water Medal, and we arrived in New York high on the adrenalin of having been shooting the breeze with such Blue Water medallists as Carleton Mitchell, John Guzzwell, Tim Curtis and our own Paddy Barry.

All skyline and no shipping nor sense of the sea nearby – New York’s example would be a mistake for Dublin. Photo: W M NixonAll skyline and no shipping nor sense of the sea nearby – New York’s example would be a mistake for Dublin. Photo: W M Nixon

But you need to be in full fighting trim as you hit New York, otherwise it will hit you first. We happened to be staying in the NYYC which has its little formalities, and in the morning when our bull-necked Commodore arrived down for breakfast with an open-neck shirt, he was politely requested to wear a neck-tie. He stumped off to his room and returned – still steaming - wearing his Royal Cork tie, loudly informing the waiter that he was wearing the tie of a club which had been in existence for more than a hundred years when the site of his little club was still marshland. So thereafter we had our casual breakfasts in Joe’s Diner or some such place next door, while close beyond it was the wonderful Algonquin Hotel to provide an added alternative should the Commodore find further NYYC house rules irksome.

Personally I found the NYYC enchanting, as sailors are my tribe, our clubhouses are our temples, and the NYYC in New York is one of the best of them, while also providing the most convenient of bases for a two-and-a-half day blitz on Manhattan. Even in only that short time space, one day runs into another, but on sunny days in May such as we experienced, I can recommend an early visit to Wall Street and the Stock Exchange, as the smell of serious money first thing in the morning sets you up for the day.

Then maybe a cross-river jaunt on one of the ferries to savour the skyline, for in those long-gone days the Twin Towers still set the tone. Then as it was getting near the thirsty time of day, when the Commodore said he’d go anywhere except McSorley’s expletive-deleted saloon, I suggested Fraunce’s down near The Battery, Fraunce’s being the historic Tavern where George Washington took farewell of his troops on December 4th 1783 after their final War of Independence victory.

We bellied up to the bar in accepted New York style, and the barman took one look at the Commodore and threw the top of the gin bottle into the bin. Apparently Fraunce’s can get crowded later in the day, so we were having the best of it in terms of attention, friendliness and generosity, such that we concluded that it’s not only a wonder that George Washington could get back on his horse after savouring the Fraunce’s experience, but it’s a miracle that once in the saddle, he was actually facing the right way…..

The QE2 starts her stately progress down the empty Hudson RiverThe QE2 starts her stately progress down the empty Hudson River

To clear your head after Fraunce’s Tavern, zoom straight to the very top of the Empire State building. It’s one of those special life experiences that don’t disappoint, like arriving with the dawn into Venice on a cruising boat, or seeing the mighty botafumeiro whoosh across the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela after you’ve had a decidedly brisk sail southwards across Biscay.

And yet it was atop the Empire State Building on a sunny May afternoon that we finally fully grasped the real meaning of what happens when a great port moves its ship movements elsewhere. For although the city buzzed far below as only New York can, all around the edge was the dead skeleton of a port, and utterly empty were nearly all the berths which had previously heaved with life to give New Yorkers the feeling that they interacted with the wonders of the sea every bit as much as they very clearly interacted with the pure beauty of money.

Of course, with our luck, there were actually two ships berthed among the many vacant berths, and one of them slowly emerged stern-first into the Hudson and headed downriver. She was the QE2. She was the only vessel moving in the entire visible waterway.

With the World Trade Center Twin Towers still standing in 1997, the QE 2’s solitary seaward departure past the Statue of Liberty was perfectly framed. Photo: W M NixonWith the World Trade Center Twin Towers still standing in 1997, the QE 2’s solitary seaward departure past the Statue of Liberty was perfectly framed. Photo: W M Nixon

We watched her head seaward past the Statue of Liberty, and then remembered that somewhere far below us in the empty docks, there was one basin temporarily occupied by a small fleet of sailing superyachts preparing for the NYYC’s Transatlantic Challenge. We found them, and among them we found Peter Metcalfe from Strangford Lough as skipper aboard an enormous purple machine, while just across the way was an extremely good replica of the schooner America, looking as wonderful as ever.

Skipper Peter Metcalfe of Strangford Lough aboard “some big purple yoke” in New York as the fleet of superyachts prepare for the NYYC Transatlantic Challenge 1997, with the replica schooner America in background. Photo: W M NixonSkipper Peter Metcalfe of Strangford Lough aboard “some big purple yoke” in New York as the fleet of superyachts prepare for the NYYC Transatlantic Challenge 1997, with the replica schooner America in background. Photo: W M Nixon

Hello New York – the schooner America and the Empire State Building beyond made for a faint maritime link in ManhattanHello New York – the schooner America and the Empire State Building beyond made for a faint maritime link in Manhattan

But that was it as far as direct interaction is now to be found between New York and the sea which created it in the first place. Manhattan has enclosed itself in a stockade of skyscrapers, and if you move into the city for only a hundred yards, the sea behind you might just as well not be there.

Yet Manhattan is a fortress island, whereas Dublin is an inclusive estuary. Our city embraces the sea. With great ingenuity, the port engineers over the centuries have created massive bull walls which guide the ebb tide to scour the significant dredged depths which provide access to a transport hub for large ships and their many cargoes. Dublin Port, in short, is a work of genius. It behoves us to respect this by keeping it active, instead of turning it into some sort of residential, commercial and hospitality theme park.

For our experience had shown us that if you wanted off-the-wall entertainment for a couple of days, then New York was tops. But as somewhere to live and work and have a connection with real life by land and sea, Dublin is in a league of its own.

Manhattan project for Dublin Port 2050? That could almost be the Ferryman Inn….. Photo: W. M.NixonManhattan project for Dublin Port 2050? That could almost be the Ferryman Inn….. Photo: W. M.Nixon

Published in W M Nixon
Tagged under

Dublin Port has announced its regret that the Chief Executive, Eamonn O’Reilly, is departing the company. He informed the Board of his decision to leave at the end of August 2022.

Mr O’Reilly has been in the position since 2010. Over the past twelve years, the company’s business volumes have grown by one quarter and profits by more than one-third, and under Mr O’Reilly’s leadership, the strategic direction of the company has been transformed by Masterplan 2040. He has overseen capital investment of €500 million in nationally critical port infrastructure and there is now a pipeline of projects and finance in place to allow development to continue to bring Dublin Port towards its ultimate capacity by 2040.

In his early days, Mr O’Reilly devised the concept of a 30-year Masterplan for Dublin Port which has provided a long-term blueprint for port development and, within that, he identified the need for a transformation in the relationship between the Port and the City. The success in achieving this essential strategic objective has resulted in new and diverse cultural, heritage and community initiatives to strengthen this important link.

The Board is now beginning the task of recruiting a new Chief Executive to ensure that the progress that has been made during Mr O’Reilly’s tenure continues in the years ahead.

The Chairman of Dublin Port Company, Mr Jerry Grant, commented as follows:

“I and the Board are very sorry to see Eamonn depart. We are very grateful to him for his professionalism since taking on the role in 2010 and we wish him every success in the next phase of his career. Eamonn has made a great contribution to Dublin Port over the past twelve years and has built up a top-class management team to continue the work of Masterplan 2040 in the coming years. Eamonn fulfilled his dual role as Chief Executive and as a Board member with dedication, enthusiasm and drive. He has left a lasting legacy in terms of the strategic development of the port, its reintegration with the City and the exceptional executive team managing this vital public infrastructure.

“The position of Chief Executive of Dublin Port is both challenging and exciting and our challenge now is to ensure that the recruitment process that has commenced will attract a strong field of candidates, leading to the appointment of a worthy successor to Eamonn.”

"I have relished every day of my time in Dublin Port and enjoyed the challenge of developing and implementing Masterplan 2040"

Eamonn O’Reilly reflected on his departure as follows:

“When I took the job in 2010, I did not envisage that I would still be here twelve years later. I have relished every day of my time in Dublin Port and enjoyed the challenge of developing and implementing Masterplan 2040. Having gone through Brexit and with all three Masterplan projects up and running - two under construction - it’s the right time for me to move on.

“At this stage, Dublin Port is well resourced in terms of plans, finance and people to maintain the momentum needed to deliver the additional cargo handling capacity that is required and to consolidate the revived relationship between the Port and the City. I will leave Dublin Port with great memories of the colleagues and friends I have worked with both in the Port itself and in local docklands communities. Dublin Port was the eighth chapter of my career and I am looking forward with excitement to the new challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Published in Dublin Port

Aware, the national charity supporting people impacted by depression and bipolar disorder, has announced the live return of its annual Harbour2Harbour Walk. A popular and successful fundraising event for over 15 years, the walk takes place on St. Patrick’s Day and follows a beautifully scenic route around Dublin Bay. Registration for the walk costs €25 and can be done at www.aware.ie/harbourtoharbour. All participants will receive a t-shirt as part of their registration and are encouraged to wear these while taking part in the walk to increase awareness.

The event’s return comes following a two-year break in live fundraising events due to Covid-19. The Harbour2Harbour Walk offers an alternative outdoor activity on Ireland’s national holiday and is an opportunity for the public to engage with Aware and support its important work. People taking part in the event posting to social media are asked to share using the hashtag #WeAreAware.

Over the last year, close to 30,000 people have directly engaged with Aware’s support services and a further 8,000 people took part in education programmes facilitated by Aware. The Covid-19 pandemic has further fuelled the need for such supports, with Aware expecting sustained high levels of demand during 2022.

Speaking about the 2022 Harbour2Harbour Walk, Dominic Layden, Aware CEO, said, “The return to live events gives us a chance to come together on St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy a rewarding walk around Dublin Bay and also to reflect on the last two years.

“We are encouraging as many people as possible to take part in our Harbour to Harbour Walk to help raise funds for our vital services. It promises to be a great day out, and an opportunity to take part in something special that can make a real difference in the lives of people experiencing depression or bipolar disorder. I would like to sincerely thank our sponsor Dublin Port Company for their continued partnership which makes this event possible.”

The event is a 26km walk around Dublin Bay from Dún Laoghaire to Howth or vice versa and aims to raise funds and draw attention to the important work done by Aware. It last took place in 2019, when it attracted almost 2,000 participants. People taking part can begin their walk at either end of the route at approximately 10.30 am, although this start time is flexible. The walk is suitable for all levels of fitness and takes approximately four and a half hours to complete.

At the halfway point of the walk, Dublin Port Company will host the Halfway Gathering at Dublin Port Plaza, where fundraisers have an opportunity to take a break, grab a refreshment, and enjoy some of the entertainment on show, including a magician and a DJ. Participants can also take a moment to themselves by visiting the Reflection Tree at the Plaza. Under the Reflection Tree, participants can leave a personal message, or thought, about their experience during the pandemic. Aware will share some of these anonymous messages on social media.

The Director of Services at Aware, Stephen McBride, said, “This event and other fundraisers help to ensure that individuals across Ireland experiencing mental health difficulties know they are not alone and are provided with the knowledge, advice and tools they need to improve their wellbeing. We couldn’t do this without the support of the public and we are so happy to back hosting Harbour2Harbour again.”

Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive at Dublin Port Company said, “Dublin Port Company is happy to be in a position to support Aware with this important fundraising event. We look forward to welcoming walkers to Port Centre’s public plaza at the Halfway Gathering and our team will be on hand with refreshments and plenty of support to all taking part in this great cause.

To further mark St. Patrick’s Day, the Port will be going green again this year by lighting up Port Centre, Crane 292, Odlums and the Diving Bell.”

Published in Dublin Bay
Tagged under

Rotterdam based Value Maritime has secured a contract from shipping operator BG Freight Line (see previous story) to install its Filtree and carbon capture system on two feeder vessels, BG Onyx and BG Ruby.

Chartered from German shipowner HS Schiffahrt, these ships are scheduled to be retrofitted in the summer.

Upon completion of the upgrades, the ships will continue to sail in North-West Europe (where BG Freight's 'feeder' links call to UK and Ireland via Dublin Port and the Port of Cork)

They will emit less carbon and use Value Maritime outlets across the region to reuse carbon on land.

Value Maritime’s Filtree includes a Clean-Loop system and Carbon Capture feature.

Ship Technology has more on the contract to the container company which is a subsidiary of Peel Ports Group, the UK's second largest ports operator.

Published in Ports & Shipping

One of the UK’s largest port operators, Peel Ports Group which among its facilities includes a container terminal in Dublin Port, has announced major changes to its senior leadership team which is to take effect from 4 April 2022.

Having grown on average by 10% year-on-year for the last decade, and with over £1.2 billion being invested into its operations over the same period, the group’s announcement reinforces its ambition to future-proof the business whilst delivering the next phase of its long-term strategy.

⦁ Chairman Tom Allison is standing down but will remain on the board representing shareholder interests of Peel Group as a non-executive director.
⦁ Mark Whitworth will stand down as Chief Executive Officer but will assume the role of Chairman, overseeing the strategic development and governance of the group.
⦁ Claudio Veritiero will take over as new CEO as the group readies to commence a new investment programme across its primary assets

Mark Whitworth said: “For more than a decade we have consistently been at the forefront of the UK ports industry for the delivery of growth and investment. This has been a transformational period for the business and one that has enabled the group to create thousands of high value jobs within our existing and new facilities.”

“Given that stability in the company leadership has been a cornerstone of our success, the changes we are announcing today have been two years in the planning to ensure a smooth transition.”

“We have ambitious plans to maintain the growth trajectory, which in turn will continue to create positive results not only for our company, but also for the regions and communities we operate within, for many years to come.”

“The time is right for change and Claudio will be integral to making that change happen as he leads the business into an exciting new era.”

Mark Whitworth joined Peel Ports as Chief Executive in 2010 and over his tenure has led major transformations across the business, including the concept and launch of Liverpool2, a £400 million deep water container terminal, the £100m development of a custom-built biomass import terminal for Drax Group plc and the ongoing regeneration of major hubs such as Hunterston PARC and the Inchgreen Dry Dock in Scotland.

Significant acquisitions including the Port of Great Yarmouth and Quality Freight (now known as Peel Ports Logistics) are also included in Mark’s successful portfolio, all contributing to three-fold growth in profitability from when he joined the business.

Speaking about Tom Allison’s retirement as chairman, Mark added: “Tom has been an outstanding mentor throughout his time with our group and has overseen an unprecedented period of success. His business acumen and strategic counsel have been critical over the last 25 years and we are privileged to have him continuing to support the company as a non-executive director.”

Tom Allison was appointed Chief Executive of Clydeport PLC in 1997 and subsequently led the creation of Peel Ports Group in 2003. He then combined the role of CEO and Chairman, overseeing the acquisition of Mersey Docks and Harbour Company in 2005.

Claudio Veritiero joined Peel Ports in 2021 with over 25 years of experience working in the infrastructure, logistics, property development and financing markets. He was previously Chief Operating Officer of Kier Group Plc and has held roles as Chief Operating Officer of Speedy Hire and in the investment banking advisory division of Rothschild & Co.

Claudio said: “Since joining Peel Ports a year ago, I’ve been taken by the calibre of our people, our operations and our customer relationships. I’m delighted to be taking on the role of CEO and will look to build on the unprecedented success that Mark has led over 12 years. One of my priorities will be to take stock of the changing needs of our customers and the port communities in which we operate so that we can further enhance our offering and customer experience.”

“Ports are a vital catalyst for the whole economy, not just the supply chain, with a crucial role to play in creating jobs and enabling economic regeneration. I look forward to working closely with the leadership teams across the business, our customers and our commercial and community partners, as we deliver the next phase of our growth journey.”

Latest Department for Transport data confirms Peel Ports to be one of the fastest growing port groups in the UK, already handling 70 million tonnes of cargo per year and with 15% of the UK’s total port traffic traveling through its waters.

Peel Ports’ key facilities include Port of Liverpool, Manchester Ship Canal, Heysham Port, Clydeport, Great Yarmouth, London Medway and in Dublin Port, the Marine Terminals Ltd container terminal. (Afloat adds the MTL facility is located on the south quays, see photo above).

The ports group also owns BG Freight, the short-sea shipping operator that offers a range of freight and logistics services through Peel Ports Logistics. The group has seen significant growth, averaging 10% year on year across the last 10 years and outlaying over £1.2bn into projects over the same period.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Dublin Port Company will temporarily close access to both the Great South Wall and the Bull Wall bridge tomorrow (Friday 18 February) due to the arrival of Storm Eunice.

The Great South Wall wall be closed from midnight tonight until 7am on Saturday, while bridge access to the Bull Wall will be closed from 10am to 4pm tomorrow.

These times will be subject to review and adjustment as necessary over the next 24 hours, the port company says.

Meanwhile, Met Éireann has upgraded its warnings for Storm Eunice as it tracks inland this evening.

A Status Red storm warning is now in place from Howth Head to Roches Point to Erris Head and on the Irish Sea south of Anglesey, as cyclonic variable winds veering northwesterly will reach storm force 10 or violent storm force 11 at times overnight and tomorrow morning.

There will also be a risk of coastal flooding, especially at high tide, in counties Clare, Kerry, Cork and Waterford.

For the latest updates visit Met.ie.

Published in Weather
Tagged under
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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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