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Shannon Estuary's Deep Waters Hold Key to Trans Shipment Potential

9th December 2011
Shannon Estuary's Deep Waters Hold Key to Trans Shipment Potential

The potential for developing a 'transhipment port' on the Shannon Estuary topped the agenda of meetings held by Sean Kelly MEP and leading US politicians and business people at Jacksonville, USA - home to one of the largest commercial cargo ports on the Atlantic Coast.

International maritime consultant, John Martin, recently identified the Shannon Estuary as having potential for a bulk transshipment centre due to its 16 meter depth waters. Most UK and European ports have channel depth of just 10 meters, limiting the size of vessels that can be accommodated. This is a gap in the cargo market that Shannon can fill according to Mr Kelly.

"The study by Mr Martin indicated feasibility for the establishment of a port at Shannon to receive cargo vessels drawing in excess of 15 meters and particularly dry bulk goods. The cargo could be broken down in Shannon (Ships of 15+ metres draft) and shipped in smaller tonnage vessels (ships of 6.4 to 12.5 metres draft) to Nordic countries and European smaller ports. Mr Martin also pointed out that there could be significant savings for shipping companies using this method when transporting dry bulk goods when compared to using ports with limited water depth.

"The development itself would represent a multi-million boost for the region, creating employment both directly and indirectly through spin-off industries. It is an idea I would like to see fully investigated and that is why I raised the issue with US politicians on my visit to Jacksonville in the last few days, as part of my work as a member of the EU-US Parliamentary Relations Committee.

"Ireland and the US enjoy a proud tradition as trading partners and location-wise, a port facilitating North American shipping companies is very logical. US Senators, Congressmen and business leaders reacted positively to the idea and it is something I will pursue further as an MEP for Ireland South," Mr Kelly concluded.

Amongst those present at the talks was a US citizen with Kerry ancestry - Mike Breen the Senior Director International Department at Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Jerry Mallot - President at Cornerstone Regional Development Partnership.

Published in Ports & Shipping Team

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