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Port Of Cork Company & Bantry Bay Port Trade Traffic Up 8.6% In 2017

22nd January 2018
The Rhein Carrier is a regular cargo ship visitor to the Port of Cork. Combined total traffic through the Portand Bantry Bay Port Company reached 10.3 million tonnes in 2017 The Rhein Carrier is a regular cargo ship visitor to the Port of Cork. Combined total traffic through the Portand Bantry Bay Port Company reached 10.3 million tonnes in 2017 Credit: Afloat.ie

Combined total traffic through the Port of Cork and Bantry Bay Port Company reached 10.3 million tonnes in 2017, a very good increase of 8.6% compared to 2016. Total imports increased by 6.4% while exports increased by 12.3%. The Port of Cork total container volumes through both Tivoli and Ringaskiddy Container Terminals grew by 3.7% compared to 2016 figures, with a total of 217,763 TEU’s handled in 2017.

Oil traffic, predominantly handled through Whitegate Oil Refinery now owned by Canadian company Irving Oil, saw an increase of 2%. Trade in dry bulk cargos such as animal feed, fertilisers and cereals saw increases throughout the year.

In 2017 the Port of Cork handled 68 cruise liners bringing over 140,000 passengers and crew to the region, while in Bantry Bay five cruise liners visited the harbour, with MV Prinsendam making her maiden call to Bantry, the first liner to do so in 30 years.

Brendan Keating, Chief Executive said: ‘We are encouraged by the increase in trade traffic through the Port of Cork and Bantry Bay Port in 2017. An 8.6% increase in total trade traffic shows the positivity in the markets which were showing a marginal decrease in 2016. We are particularly encouraged by the growth in container traffic through both Tivoli and Ringaskiddy which increased by 3.7%. This increase is a clear indication that consumer markets are beginning to open up with both imports and exports on the rise through Cork.’

He continued: ‘In 2017 the Port of Cork saw over 34,000 trade vehicles imported through Cork. The trade car market is very important for Cork, however unfortunately we saw some decreases in the volume of cars imported. With regards to tourism, the Port of Cork had a very positive year with 68 cruise liners calling bringing over 142,000 passengers and crew to visit the Munster region. Furthermore, in 2017, for the second year running, Cobh was named the second Best Cruise Destination in the British Isles & Western Europe in the Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards, a further endorsement of our cruise business.’

Commenting on Bantry Bay Port Company, Brendan Keating said: ‘In August 2017, we successfully completed and opened Bantry Harbour Marina, part of the inner harbour development. This new sheltered harbour facility will be of great benefit to both commercial and leisure users bringing increased activity to Bantry Harbour and Town. The cruise business has doubled with ten cruise liners expected to call in 2018.’

Following the recent announcement by Brittany Ferries on their new twice weekly Ro-Pax route from Cork to Santander due to commence in April 2018, Mr. Keating said: ‘In 2018 Brittany Ferries celebrate 40 years operating in Ireland and we are very pleased with the announcement of this new route both in terms of tourism and trade. The current weekly route from Cork to Roscoff continues to strengthening with Brittany Ferries carrying over 80,000 passengers in 2017 and we look forward with great optimism to additional passengers availing of Brittany Ferries new service and the second call to Roscoff per week.’

In 2017 the Port of Cork Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NextDecade Corporation (NASDAQ: NEXT), a U.S.-based Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to explore a joint development opportunity for a new Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) and associated LNG import terminal infrastructure in Cork Harbour 

Mr. Keating said: ‘As an entry point into the Irish energy market, the Port of Cork is an attractive location for an FSRU-based LNG import terminal. Surrounded by existing marine infrastructure and industrial facilities, the proposed site is less than 2 km from Gas Networks Ireland Grid and would benefit from relatively benign and attractive conditions.’

He continued: ‘Discussions are ongoing with the Port of Cork and NEXTDecade, as well as other key industry players, who are supportive of this project and we are excited by the opportunities that this project could present.’

In 2015 An Bord Pleanala granted a 10-year planning permission to Port of Cork for the redevelopment of the existing port facilities at Ringaskiddy and in 2017 An Bord Pleanala granted permission for alterations to the terms of the Ringaskiddy Port Development. The permission will enable the Port to deliver more efficient container handling facilities, replacing the existing container terminal at Tivoli, and securing Cork Container Terminal as an international gateway for trade well into the future. 

Ringaskiddy Port Redevelopment will future proof Cork trade and Port of Cork look forward to the project progressing in 2018.

Published in Port of Cork
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Port of Cork Information

The Port of Cork is investing €80 million in a container terminal development in Ringaskiddy. The Cork Container Terminal will initially offer a 360-metre quay with 13-metre depth alongside and will enable larger ships to berth in the port. The development also includes the construction of a 13.5-hectare terminal and associated buildings as well as two ship to shore gantry cranes and container handling equipment.

The development of new container handling facilities at Ringaskiddy was identified in the Port of Cork’s Strategic Development Plan in 2010. It will accommodate current and future container shipping which can be serviced by modern and efficient cargo handling equipment with innovative terminal operating and vehicle booking systems. The Port of Cork anticipates that Cork Container Terminal will be operational in 2020.

The Port of Cork is the key seaport in the south of Ireland and is one of just two Irish ports which service the requirements of all shipping modes.

The Port of Cork also controls Bantry Bay Port Company and employs 150 people across all locations.

A European Designated Core Port and a Tier 1 Port of National Significance, Port of Cork’s reputation for quality service, including prompt and efficient vessel turnaround as well as the company’s investment in future growth, ensures its position as a vital link in the global supply chain.

The port has made impressive strides in recent decades, most recently with the construction of the new €80m Cork Container Terminal in Ringaskiddy which will facilitate the natural progression of the move from a river port to a deepwater port in order to future proof the Port
of Cork. This state-of-the-art terminal which will open in 2020 will be capable of berthing the largest container ships currently calling to Ireland.

The Port of Cork Company is a commercial semi-state company responsible for the commercial running of the harbour as well as responsibility for navigation and berthage in the port.  The Port is the main port serving the South of Ireland, County Cork and Cork City. 

Types of Shipping Using Port of Cork

The Port offers all six shipping modes from Lift-on Lift-off, Roll-on Roll-off, Liquid Bulk, Dry Bulk, Break Bulk and Cruise liner traffic.

Port of Cork Growth

The port has made impressive strides in recent decades. Since 2000, the Port of Cork has invested €72 million in improving Port infrastructure and facilities. Due to its favourable location and its modern deepwater facilities, the Port is ideally positioned for additional European trading as well as for yet unexploited direct deep-sea shipping services. A well-developed road infrastructure eases the flow of traffic from and to the port. The Port of Cork’s growing reputation for quality service, including prompt and efficient vessel turnaround, ensures its position as a vital link in the global supply chain. The Port of Cork Company turnover in 2018 amounted to €35.4 million, an increase of €3.9 million from €31.5 million in 2017. The combined traffic of both the Ports of Cork and Bantry increased to 10.66 million tonnes in 2018 up from 10.3 million tonnes in 2017.

History of Port of Cork

Famous at the last port of call of the Titanic, these medieval navigation and port facilities of the city and harbour were historically managed by the Cork Harbour Commissioners. Founded in 1814, the Cork Harbour Commissioners moved to the Custom House in 1904.  Following the implementation of the 1996 Harbours Act, by March 1997 all assets of the Commissioners were transferred to the Port of Cork Company.

Commercial Traffic at Port of Cork

Vessels up to 90,000 tonnes deadweight (DWT) are capable of coming through entrance to Cork Harbour. As the shipping channels get shallower the farther inland one travels, access becomes constricted, and only vessels up to 60,000 DWT can sail above Cobh. The Port of Cork provides pilotage and towage facilities for vessels entering Cork Harbour. All vessels accessing the quays in Cork City must be piloted and all vessels exceeding 130 metres in length must be piloted once they pass within 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km) of the harbour entrance.

Berthing Facilities in Cork Harbour

The Port of Cork has berthing facilities at Cork City, Tivoli, Cobh and Ringaskiddy. The facilities in Cork City are primarily used for grain and oil transport. Tivoli provides container handling, facilities for oil, livestock and ore and a roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro) ramp. Prior to the opening of Ringaskiddy Ferry Port, car ferries sailed from here; now, the Ro-Ro ramp is used by companies importing cars into Ireland. In addition to the ferry terminal, Ringaskiddy has a deep water port.

Port of Cork Development Plans

2020 will be a significant year for the Port of Cork as it prepares to complete and open the €86 million Cork Container Terminal development in Ringaskiddy.

Once operational the new terminal will enable the port to handle up to 450,000 TEU per annum. Port of Cork already possess significant natural depth in Cork harbour, and the work in Ringaskiddy Port will enable the Port of Cork to accommodate vessels of 5500 to 6000 TEU, which will provide a great deal of additional potential for increasing container traffic.

It follows a previous plan hatched in 2006 as the port operated at full capacity the Port drew up plans for a new container facility at Ringaskiddy. This was the subject of major objections and after an Oral Planning Hearing was held in 2008 the Irish planning board Bord Pleanala rejected the plan due to inadequate rail and road links at the location.  

Bantry Port

In 2017 Bantry Bay Port Company completed a significant investment of €8.5 million in the Bantry Inner Harbour development. The development consisted of a leisure marina, widening of the town pier, dredging of the inner harbour and creation of a foreshore amenity space.

Port of Cork Cruise Liner Traffic

2019 was a record cruise season for the Port of Cork with 100 cruise liners visiting. In total over 243,000 passengers and crew visited the region with many passengers visiting Cork for the first time.

Also in 2019, the Port of Cork's Cruise line berth in Cobh was recognised as one of the best cruise destinations in the world, winning in the Top-Rated British Isles & Western Europe Cruise Destination category. 

There has been an increase in cruise ship visits to Cork Harbour in the early 21st century, with 53 such ships visiting the port in 2011, increasing to approximately 100 cruise ship visits by 2019.

These cruise ships berth at the Port of Cork's deepwater quay in Cobh, which is Ireland's only dedicated berth for cruise ships.

Passenger Ferries

Operating since the late 1970s, Brittany Ferries runs a ferry service to Roscoff in France. This operates between April and November from the Ro-Ro facilities at Ringaskiddy. Previous ferry services ran to Swansea in Wales and Santander in Spain. The former, the Swansea Cork ferry, ran initially between 1987 and 2006 and also briefly between 2010 and 2012.

The latter, a Brittany Ferries Cork–Santander service, started in 2018 but was cancelled in early 2020.

Marine Leisure

The Port of Cork has a strategy that aims to promote the harbour also as a leisure amenity. Cork’s superb natural harbour is a great place to enjoy all types of marine leisure pursuits. With lots of sailing and rowing clubs dotted throughout the harbour, excellent fishing and picturesque harbour-side paths for walking, running or cycling, there is something for everyone to enjoy in and around Cork harbour. The Port is actively involved with the promotion of Cork Harbour's annual Festival. The oldest sailing club in the world, founded in 1720, is the Royal Cork Yacht Club is located at Crosshaven in the harbour, proof positive, says the Port, that the people of Cork, and its visitors, have been enjoying this vast natural leisure resource for centuries. 

Port of Cork Executives

  • Chairman: John Mullins
  • Chief Executive: Brendan Keating
  • Secretary/Chief Finance Officer: Donal Crowley
  • Harbour Master and Chief Operations Officer: Capt. Paul O'Regan
  • Port Engineering Manager: Henry Kingston
  • Chief Commercial Officer: Conor Mowlds
  • Head of Human Resources: Peter O'Shaughnessy

At A Glance – Port of Cork

Type of port: deepwater, multi-model, Panamax, warm-water
Available berths: Up to ten
Wharves: 1
Employees: 113
Chief Executive: Brendan Keating
Annual cargo tonnage: 9,050,000
Annual container volume: 165,000

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