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It was another record performance achieved at Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) as the western port revealed its annual report for 2018.

According to SFPC, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were €6.8million. As for operating profits in the period they remained exceptionally strong at €4.8million, €1.2million or 34% higher than five years ago, 2014. Revenue increased by 4.9%.

The company’s main ports on the Shannon Estuary, Foynes and Limerick, again achieved record tonnage levels, with an 11.7% increase in throughput. However, overall tonnage throughput was down by 5.5% to 10.7million due to a reduction of activity at privately managed terminals on the estuary.

This is the sixth year in succession that general cargo terminals have increased year on year.

Tonnages at Foynes and Limerick terminals for 2018 are some 50% higher at end 2018 than at end 2013 and exceed previous historically high tonnage levels experienced during 2006 by 11.2%.

To read more click the download here. 

Published in Shannon Estuary

In the mid-west the Shannon Foynes Port Company is pursuing an unprecedented investment programme at pace to transform the Shannon Estuary into a major economic hub and act as an economic counter-pole to Dublin, consistent with Government’s National Planning Framework.

According to the Limerick Post, the port authority, which is responsible for all commercial navigation of the estuary, has a €64 million investment programme already underway that will add an additional two-thirds capacity at its general cargo terminals of Limerick and Foynes.

A new road will transform accessibility to the West Limerick town while an ambitious plan for Limerick Docklands could see up to €100m of investment in growing capacity there and maximising non-core assets such as disused buildings and unused lands.

The Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) is already Ireland’s second largest port operation, handling trade valued at €8.5 billion per annum. It is also designated as a Core Network Port (TEN-T) by the European Union – essentially the EU determining that SFPC is not just of national but international importance, a status that strengthens its hand when it comes to investment confidence.

The transformational programme was launched in 2013 through Vision 2041, an ambitious plan aimed at maximising the enormous potential of the Shannon Estuary as an economic hub for the region.

For further reading click the link here.

Published in Shannon Estuary
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At the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) annual Conference held in Port of Livorno, Italy, three ports were congratulated today among them Shannon Foynes Port Company for achieving the EcoPorts’ environmental management standard (PERS).

The other ports that received PER status were awarded to the Port of Melilla in Spain and the Port of Ceuta, a Spanish autonomous city in north Africa neighbouring Morocco.  

Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO’s Secretary General, Eamonn O’Reilly, ESPO’s Chairman, and Sotiris Raptis, EcoPorts coordinator, handed over the PERS certificates to the ports’ representatives during the annual ESPO Conference in Livorno.

“I would like to congratulate Port of Ceuta for getting EcoPort’s environmental standard and Shannon Foynes Port Company and Port of Melilla for renewing it. European ports are clearly stepping up their efforts to communicate about their environmental policies and to engage with the surrounding citizens and community. The 2019 citizen wants to be better informed and is more engaged. Ports have to respond with more transparency regarding both externalities and environmental performance, but also have to show how the port in its different functions and responsibilities can contribute to the well-being of the city, the region and the citizen,” says ESPO’s Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost.

It is encouraging that the number of ports that joined EcoPorts is continuously increasing. Environmental challenges such as climate change, air quality, noise and water quality are key priorities for European ports. EcoPorts enables ports to further improve how they deal with the environmental challenges and to communicate to local communities, policy makers, research and civil society their priorities and the progress they make,” says EcoPorts coordinator, Sotiris Raptis.

Compliance with the PERS standard is independently assessed by Lloyd’s Register and the certificate has a validity of two years. PERS is revised after the 2-year period to make sure that the port continues to meet the requirements.

You can find more information on EcoPorts’ PERS and on the ESPO Environmental Report here in addition to this link.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#ShannonEstuary - The port of Shannon Foynes writes The Irish Times, could take any post-Brexit strain off Irish east coast ports should Border checks lead to congestion, its chief executive has said.

Pat Keating, chief executive of Shannon Foynes Port Company, said the country’s largest bulk port for non-container freight could take further capacity on completion of a general cargo terminal.

The State-owned company is investing more than €20 million converting 83 acres on the eastern side of the port for marine-related industry as part of a €64 million development plan.

As part of the expansion, the company plans to next year commence lift-on/lift-off operations of container freight that would allow it to take traffic from Dublin Port should Brexit congest freight traffic moving across the Irish Sea to UK ports.

To read much more click here. 

 

Published in Dublin Port
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#Shannon - A €35m revolutionary floating data centre in Limerick Docks is being planned in a move which could create 124 jobs.

As The Limerick Leader writes the city has beaten a number of locations across Europe to the investment, with Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan hailing it as “yet another element of the city’s rejuvenation”.

With centres providing information technology power for businesses being highly sought after, the Shannon Foynes Port Company has teamed up with Californian firm Nautilus, which plans to moor a floating vessel providing commercial data storage at Ted Russell Dock.

For further reading on the proposed project, click here. 

Published in Shannon Estuary

#ShannonEstuary - Plans to transform 75 acres of Limerick docklands estate writes The Irish Times, into an economic hub will create more than 1,000 jobs and involve a minimum of €100 million of development, organisers have said.

The Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) published on Friday its Limerick Docklands Framework Strategy (click Video) designed to transform the area just off Limerick city centre.

The assets earmarked for development include disused buildings and greenfield land banks that are surplus to the operational needs of the thriving Ted Russell Docks.

“The docks have been and will remain the core SFPC commercial activity at the Limerick docklands estate, which extends 2.15km along the river Shannon waterfront,” said the company.

“However, the strategy is the first time that non-core assets will be explored for their commercial potential in a programme that will attract significant inward investment and potentially in excess of 1,000 jobs.”

The company said the programme could involve a minimum of €100 million of development, potentially delivering 75,000sq m of new and existing buildings at the Ted Russell Docks, Corcanree Business Park and other sites off the Dock Road.

The company has already had discussions with a number of potential partners on individual projects within the wider scheme with a view to enabling works to begin on initial projects next year.

For more on the major redevelopment click here.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#ShannonEstuary - Another boost this week for Shannon Foynes Port Company, is the news that funding worth more than €4m is on the way from the European Union.

As the Limerick Leader writes the company has been cleared for almost €4.5m in EU transport funds, which will be used for further development work at the Foynes facility.

Two years ago, SFPC received over €3m from the same fund. This time, the grant has been allocated to join existing jetties at Foynes, infill an area behind these jetties, and develop 90 acres of land for ancillary port storage and port-related activities.

MEP Deirdre Clune, a member of the EU transport committee, said it was a vote of confidence in Limerick.

For more on the story click the link here.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#PERSaward - The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) has awarded Shannon Port Authority and four other ports for achieving the Port Environmental Review System (PERS) certification.

Congratulates went also to the Port of Barcelona (Spain), Port Authority of Melilla (Spain), Niedersachsen Ports Emden (Germany) and Shoreham Port Authority (UK) .

ESPO Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO Chairman, Eamonn O’Reilly, and Sotiris Raptis, EcoPorts coordinator, handed over the PERS certificates to the ports’ representatives during the ESPO Conference dinner, which took place yesterday evening at Casa Llotja de Mar in Barcelona, Spain.

“The number of ports under the EcoPorts network certified with the PERS standard has recently risen to 28 members. This marks the anniversary of 20 years of EcoPorts and further strengthens the network whose primary objective is to assist more European ports to protect the environment, improve public health and address the challenges of climate change”said Sotiris Raptis, EcoPorts coordinator and senior advisor for environment at ESPO.

PERS is the only port sector specific environmental management standard. It is the flagship product of the EcoPorts network and is offered as part of the ESPO services to its members through the EcoPorts website: www.ecoports.com

Compliance with the PERS standard is independently assessed by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance and the certificate has a validity of 2 years. There are 25 ports in Europe and its neighboring countries currently certified by PERS. ESPO encourages all ports within its membership to implement the scheme and to get certified.”

Published in Shannon Estuary
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#RecordGrowth - Limerick and Foynes both key ports of Shannon Foynes Port Company have reaffirmed the company’s strong performance and contribution to the regional economy in 2016 with growth of 11.4% in year on year tonnages.

For the second successive year, the two largest directly managed SFPC ports have now delivered 10% plus growth, significantly ahead of national and international standards.

Overall tonnages delivered across the company’s activities last year were at just over 11m, marginally behind the company’s record tonnage levels and reflecting the very significant resurgence at the company over the past five years. The tonnage increases were largely driven by strong performing sectors such as construction, oil distribution, agri and renewables.

The growth levels are also in excess of the upper end scenarios envisaged in the company’s Vision 2041 Masterplan published in 2014 and validate, SFPC CEO Patrick Keating states, the ongoing programme of infrastructural investment in quay infrastructure and land capacity.

Furthermore, he states, they reinforce again the growing need for the upgrade of Limerick to Foynes road network, without which the company’s ability to maintain growth and help drive the regional economy.

Reflecting specifically on the 2016 tonnage breakdown, Mr Keating said that while growth at the two premier ports was very positive, tonnages at Limerick really stood out. “The tonnages at Limerick Docks are particularly impressive as our tonnages last year were unprecedented and illustrate again the value and importance of Limerick Docks as a viable port not just for SFPC but for the region. Exports from Limerick docks more than tripled imports in 2016 so that shows just how much an asset it is for business in Limerick and the wider region.

“We have a long term plan for our property in the Limerick Docklands area but this will primarily be centred on maximising the docks as working port and improving connectivity thereto.

Mr Keating added “We have just completed a Limerick Docklands Framework Strategy that maps out the future requirements for the working port at Limerick, as well as plans to reinstate historical buildings such as Bannatyne Mills over time. This Strategy will be launched shortly and we are confident it will have a very positive economic and visual impact on the Dock Road area based on our stakeholder consultations.”

In keeping with its previously announced capital expenditure plans, 2016 also saw the company complete Phase 1 (€12m) of its expansion programme in Foynes.

It also recently acquired a further 90 acres for storage and port development purposes to facilitate growth in Foynes and will lodge a planning application for further multiple phases of its current €50m capital investment programme shortly.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#ShannonGrowth - Tonnage growth at Ireland’s largest bulk port, Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) revealed that the 2015 throughput was almost back to the peak of the last decade and this is evidence of the recovery taking hold in the regions.

SFPC handled just over 11.1m tons in 2015, up from just over 10.1million in 2014, and this comes off the back of a €2.8m profit recorded in its most recent annual accounts, for 2014. Tonnages in 2015 saw the company, which operates six ports on the Shannon Estuary and facilitates international trade valued at over €6bn, almost return to peak levels (11.35m tons) in 2006.

Announcing 2015 tonnages this week, SFPC said that the company is achieving the growth targets revealed three years ago with the launch of its masterplan, Vision 2041, and that this reaffirms the need for major investment in road and rail infrastructure to ensure its potential can be maximised. The tonnages also copper-fastens the company’s position as the largest dry bulk port in the country.

Cargo volumes last year at the SFPC general cargo terminals at Limerick and Foynes were particularly robust with 10.73% year on year growth. Among the key growth sectors were petroleum products tonnages, which increased by 7.4% and cement exports, which rose by over 200%. Agri related cargo also grew steadily, with trades such as fertilisers increasing by over 4%.

SFPC CEO Patrick Keating said, “This growth reflects the resurgence in the domestic and export economy and, of course, in our own business. SFPC is a really good economic indicator for the region. We had some challenging years but the turn-around in our business has been remarkable, to the extent that we are now almost replicating tonnages from the height of the last decade and expect to surpass those levels over the coming years.

“We are very confident about the potential of the Shannon Estuary as a major economic engine room for this region thanks to its unrivalled natural water depths. This year alone we have completed the biggest investment in quayside infrastructure in any Irish port so far this decade with the infill of our East Jetty, as part a wider €50m capital spend at Foynes. Our investment programme is also attracting significant private interest, with €40m in private investment also now coming on stream.”

SFPC Chairman Michael Collins also commenting on the port performance said, “SFPC is proving one of the great success stories of the recovery in this region. This impressive turnaround is very much down to a dynamic team and its determination to deliver the robust but attainable targets we have set for the company.

“Last year was another very solid year in terms of traffic throughput but future growth can only be sustained by delivering additional capacity and putting the road and rail infrastructure in place. If this doesn’t happen, the company’s potential to be a major engine for growth in this region will be curtailed.”

Published in Shannon Estuary
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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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