Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey T.D. today announced the launch of a national ports policy review with the publication of a consultation document.
There are ten State commercial port companies established and operating pursuant to the terms of the Harbours Acts 1996 - 2009; Cork, Drogheda, Dublin, Dundalk, Dún Laoghaire, Galway, New Ross, Shannon Foynes, Waterford and Wicklow.
It is estimated that approximately 99% by volume of all goods traded into and out of Ireland are handled at our ports. Dublin Port is the State's biggest port handling approximately 44% of all tonnage in 2009. Cork and Shannon Foynes were the second and third biggest ports respectively in 2009.
Today's consultation document provides stakeholders with an opportunity to help shape future ports policy.
Speaking today Minister Dempsey said; "In 2005 our national Ports Policy Statement outlined national ports policy in a single document for the first time. Since then the commercial, technological, and regulatory environment in which Irish ports operate has changed dramatically, both domestically and globally. It is now time to carry out a review of this policy framework to ensure that our ports are properly positioned for the future.
Since 2005 our ports have experienced both record highs and more recently sharp declines in tonnage throughput. The ports face considerable challenges and it is important that national policy helps address these. The indications are that the country's return to economic growth will be export led. In this regard, it is vital that the ports are in a position to facilitate this and to make their contribution to improving national competitiveness.
I would encourage all interested parties to engage fully in this important consultation process."
The consultation document provides an overview of developments in the sector since 2005 and poses a number of questions on the continued validity and future direction of national ports policy.
Important issues addressed in the document include planning and funding future port developments, the role ports have to play in delivering the "Smarter Travel" agenda, competition within the sector and the corporate governance regime for port companies.
The public consultation period is scheduled to continue until Friday 29th October 2010.
The full Consultation Document is available for download below
To make a submission click HERE
Read Tom MacSweeney's Island Nation blog on the importance of ports HERE