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The Dublin Port Company has announced today over 200 responses from a wide range of stakeholders in a report issued on the Masterplan Public Consultation Process.
The consultation process secured 222 formal responses from a range of important participants. Common themes emerged from the responses including:

The need to ensure that Dublin Port and Dublin City are integrated and that the Port "turns its face" to the City, by removing physical barriers to integration and encouraging more people to visit the Port or view the activities taking place in the Port.

Widespread acceptance that Dublin Port is a key part of national strategic infrastructure and plays a key role in the life of the City and the greater Dublin area.

The importance of facilitating international trade in Ireland.

Unanimous agreement that everything possible should be done to encourage and facilitate the increased presence of Cruise Ships in Dublin Port.

General agreement that DPC faces significant challenges in operating and growing the Port in light of the location of the Port alongside sensitive environmental zones.

A common view that DPC should fully exhaust all viable alternatives to meet the operating requirements of the Port before engaging in additional reclamation works.

Widespread recognition that the creation of new port facilities at Bremore or elsewhere was not likely in the medium term given the financial challenges facing such a project in light of current national capacity, the scale of the engineering project involved and current funding.

The process sought views from a wide circle of stakeholders whose views on the operations and future of the port are important. Community briefings attracted over 100 people from Clontarf, East Wall and Ringsend. A conference was attended by 140 key stakeholders, while additional briefings were held with 12 organisations and groups.

Commenting, Mr. Eamonn O'Reilly said: "The objective of growing Dublin Port to allow it to handle 60m tonnes by 2040 is generally regarded as a reasonable basis for long term planning of the port. We are delighted with the response to our consultation process to date and we will make every effort to respond to all inputs we have received.

The Masterplan will help drive our national competitiveness by planning responsibly for an efficient and effective infrastructure to underpin the trading needs of our economy into the future. We are very conscious of the challenge of doing this, while integrating well with the city of Dublin and its citizens and expanding in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner."

Arising from the Consultation Process and the responses to the Issues Paper, there are a number of additional reports and studies that will be considered in the context of finalising the production of the Masterplan and a number of further meetings will be arranged with specific stakeholders.

Published in Dublin Port
The opening this week of a new rail-spur in Dublin Port by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar T.D.,brings a boost to rail freight competitiveness, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Dublin Port Company invested €1.5m for the 1.6km long rail-spur expansion which links freight-trains directly alongside ships berthed at Ocean Pier. The new facility at the Common User Terminal eliminates the need for loading and unloading trucks at Alexandra Basin East (click MAP)

The minister welcomed "the important investment by Dublin Port Company in its rail network. It will further enhance the attractiveness of the port as a destination for rail-based freight. The project represents a commitment on the part of Dublin Port Company and Iarnród Éireann to customers who want to move goods by rail".

The project took six months to complete and the public private partnership involved Dublin Port Company, Iarnród Éireann and the first customer of the new facility, International Warehousing and Transport (IWT).

IWT is a privately owned Irish logistics company, which already operates freight-trains to Ballina that are expected to increase from 4 to 5 trains per week in each direction as a result of this investment. The rail-operator believes that the service will save up to 5.5million road kilometres annually and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 2,750 tonnes.

The Irish Exporters Association also welcomed the development of the IWT freight operation at the new facility, where increased frequency in services will enhance Ireland's contribution to the European Union's modal shift aspirations from road to rail.

The Common User Terminal is also open to other shipping companies. Existing clients using the lo-lo container terminal operated by Burke Shipping Group through its subsidiary Portroe Stevedores are C2C Lines, APL, Coastal Containers, Evergreen, Gracechurch and OOCL . The terminal also has a ro-ro berth facility where CLdN /Cobelfret operate from on routes to Belgium and The Netherlands. 

In addition to the Dublin-Ballina service the port exports 400,000 tonnes of lead and zinc concentrate from the freight customers Boliden/Tara Mines with 15 trains per week. The facility at Alexandra Basin Jetty is regularly served by vessels from Arklow Shipping Ltd, where the 2011 newbuild Arklow Field (2,998 tonnes) is currently berthed.

Published in Dublin Port

Dublin Port Company has welcomed RMR Shipping's new increased frequency of its service to West Africa, from a monthly to fortnightly service starting next month, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The direct service which began in 2009 using a single vessel from the capital to Nigeria, Ghana with calls to Lagos and Takoradi, is set to gain a second ship as demand for the service rises.

Two 157-trailer capacity ro-ro sisters are to be deployed on the route, they are the 23,000 gross tonnes sisters Celandine and Celestine. The Belgium-flagged pair both built in 2000 will take 18-days to transit between Dublin and Ghana.

The next sailing to Dublin is due on 5 July when the Celandine (PHOTO) is to dock at berth 51a, which is one of three berths located in the ports multi-user ferryport Terminal 1, shared by Irish Ferries, Stena Line and seasonal services of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

Commenting on the development, Eamonn O'Reilly, Chief Executive Dublin Port Company said: "We are delighted with this development. Anything which increases the link between Ireland and emerging economies beyond Europe has got to be good for exports.

He added, "The service to Takoradi complements our involvement with Irish Aid from 2008 to 2010 in delivering an international training programme for ports in emerging countries including Ghana. The TrainForTrade programme was delivered with UNCTAD and we are hopeful of being able to announce a follow-up to the first programme in the coming months.

The development of RMR Shipping on the direct sea freight link was also welcomed by the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) whose chief executive John Whelan commented that exports to Nigeria last year exceeded €200m, the second largest market for Irish goods into Africa.

Published in Dublin Port

It may just be another cruiseship visiting Dublin Port today, but the gleaming white painted Costa Marina started her career in complete constrast as a grey-hulled containership, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The cruiseship has some unusual hull design features indicating clues to her origins as the containership Axel Johnson (click PHOTO) notably the pronounced chine bow (horizontal-lines) still clearly visible under her name when launched in 1969 at the Oy Wärtsilä shipyard in Turku, Finland.

She was the leadship of five sisters of over 15,000 tonnes ordered by her Swedish owners, Johnson Line. The next sister completed, Annie Johnson was also converted into a cruiseship and she too serves Costa Cruises as their Costa Allegra.

Axel Johnson measured 174m in length and was fitted with two deck-mounted gantry-cranes to handle containers. Her design even catered for passengers but was limited to just four-persons compared to today near 800 passenger capacity and an increase in tonnage to 25,500. To see how she looks now click PHOTO

Her Scandinavian owners sold the vessel in 1986 though it was not until 1988 that the containership came into the ownership of her current owners Costa Cruises who converted the vessel at the Mariotti Shipyard in Genoa. Two years later the ship emerged as the Costa Marina (to see another click HERE).

She has nine decks which feature restaurants, bars, jacuzzis, pools, gym, treatment rooms, sauna, an outdoor jogging track, theatre, casino, disco and a squok club with PlayStation entertainment. Accommodation comprises for 383 cabins including 8 suites with private balcony and a crew close to 400.

Costa Cruises were founded in 1924 but they are a relative newcomer to Dublin. The vessel departs this evening from Ocean Pier bound for the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik. To view the ship's web-cam click HERE (noting to scroll right down the page).

Costa Marina and indeed larger cruiseships may in the future relocate upriver to berths much closer to the city-centre, should proposals by Dublin City Council take pace. In order to boost tourism numbers a dedicated new cruiseship terminal could be built at a site close to the O2 Arena and East-Link bridge.

The site at North Wall Quay Extension is currently in use by ferry operator P&O (Irish Sea) for their ro-ro route to Liverpool. To read more in a report in yesterday's Irish Times click HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners

Lord Mayor of Dublin and Admiral of Dublin Port, Gerry Breen, performed the 523 year-old "Casting of the Spear" ceremony in Dublin Bay on midsummer's day, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 'casting' for yesterdays' re-enactment by the Lord Mayor took place onboard the Dublin port Company tug Shackleton.

From the deck of the Spanish built 50-tonne bollard pull tractor-tug, a spear was launched into the sky and fell deep into the cold water's of Dublin Bay. The ceremony once again marked the position of the city boundaries eastwards.

The medieval tradition of 'Casting of the Spear' dates back to 1488 when the then Lord Mayor, Thomas Mayler, set out on his horse to ride the city's boundaries.

According to historical records he rode out onto the strand as far as a man might ride and from there he cast a spear into the sea. At that time, casting the spear demonstrated the extent of the city boundaries eastwards.

The tradition marks one of many significant moments in Dublin Port's long history since its establishment as a trading post some 1,200 years ago.

Published in Dublin Port
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Mr. Leo Varadkar T.D. yesterday announced his intention to amalgamate Dundalk port with the capital port, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Minister Varadkar said: 'It is with great regret that I have come to the conclusion that the financial difficulties faced by Dundalk Port Company mean that it no longer has a future as an independent company'.

"In order to ensure the orderly management of the company's affairs, I have decided that the best course of action is to transfer responsibility for the port to Dublin Port Company. I would be hopeful that port activities will continue at Dundalk following the transfer.

He added, once the current difficulties are overcome, it may be the case that Dundalk Port can return to local control, in cooperation with the local authority and private sector operators.

To amalgamate the two port companies a Transfer Order will be made under the Harbours Act 1996. In addition a draft order has to be approved by both Houses of the Oireachtas before being signed into law which is expected to take place within the coming weeks.

The Co. Louth port which is equidistant between Dublin and Belfast, has shown to have a long history as an independent seaport. However the recession has had a significant impact making trading conditions particularly difficult for the company. At its peak in 2006 there were over 220 vessels calling at the port but dropped to just over 60 vessels last year. Figures for 2011 show no signs of improvement.

Vessels of up to 3,500 dwt and 106m in length can be handled at the port's six berths. Unusally for an Irish port vessels can be seen resting on the mudbank subject to the state of the tide. The port is some 8kms from the open sea and is reached along a narrow channel which requires the compulsory use of a pilot.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Minister for Transport and Tourism Dr. Leo Varadkar T.D. has warned that if state-owned ports get into financial difficulties they could become under the control of local authorities, as reported in todays' Irish Independent.
The minister was addressing a conference yesterday hosted by Dublin Port Company which was discussing it master development plans to 2040. He said that his department was assessing whether the government should retain ownership of ports following last month's publication of state assets led by economist Colm McCarthy.

In the report it was noted that there are too many ports and that the sector would benefit from a rationalisation of ownership and management structures. The decision which will be made over the next few months not only concerns the fate of the capital port but also the following state-owned ports: Dun Laoghaire, Waterford, Drogheda, Dundalk, Cork, Shannon Foynes, Wicklow, New Ross and Galway.

Mr Varadkar also warned that state money wouldn't be made available to bolster ports' balance sheets. "Where port companies are not successful, there will no bailouts and there will be no state aid. "It just isn't possible for the Government in the situation it's in to offer that," he said.

"Where smaller ports find themselves unable to continue operations, amalgamations or transfers to local authorities will be the preferred option."

On the issue of selling Dublin Port the company's chief executive Mr. Eamon O'Reilly who has cited previously that the port should not be sold as a private operator would not have the same incentive to invest as they would be focusing on generating returns.

As for the masterplan, he emphasised that the port would need to double its capacity so to handle the expected trade levels by 2040. He conceded the masterplan will cause some controversy but said the port has "great potential" to facilitate economic growth and make Dublin a better city to live in.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Dr. Leo Varadkar, T.D., Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport will open a major conference on the future development of Dublin Port at 9 am tomorrow at The Gibson Hotel, Dublin (beside the Point Village). Among the issues to be addressed at the conference will include: economic; infrastructure; planning; transport; tourism; and environmental considerations.

Speakers and panellists on the day will include: Danny McCoy, Director General, IBEC; Jim Power, Economist; Dr. Don Thornhill, Chairman, National Competitiveness Council; Gina Quin, CEO, Dublin Chamber; Michael Stubbs; Dublin City Assistant Manager; John Whelan, CEO, Irish Exporters Association; Eamonn McKeon, CEO, Irish Tourism Industry Confederation; Peter Nash, Tourism Ireland; Nigel O'Neill, Head of Strategic Planning, NRA; Stephen Ahearne, General Manager – Freight, Irish Rail; Tom Wilson of the Freight Transport Association; Marian Wilson; Head of Transport Planning, National Transport Authority; Patrick Verhoeven, Secretary General, European Sea Ports Organisation; Brendan McDonough, Manager of Strategic Planning and EU, IDA Ireland; Eamonn O'Reilly, CEO, Dublin Port Company; and Lucy McCaffrey, Chairperson, Dublin Port Company.

The conference is part of Dublin Port Company's consultation on the future development of Dublin Port, which will need to handle 60 million tonnes - double today's throughput – by 2040. The key question to be addressed is how Dublin Port Company can achieve this taking into consideration the Port's role and responsibilities across trade, tourism, transport and the natural and built environments.

Dublin Port Company is seeking submissions on the development of a Masterplan by 31st May, 2011.

Published in Dublin Port
Trade at Dublin Port is set to more than double over the next 30 years, according to its chief executive Eamonn O'Reilly.
In an interview with The Irish Times last week, O'Reilly elaborated on the new 'master plan' for the port, which is based on an estimated trade growth to 60 million tonnes (or 2.5% annually) by 2040.
“Last year’s growth [of 6.1%] suggests to me that we need to get our planning caps on and get a solid and robust master plan in place,” said O’Reilly.
The master plan, according to the Dubin Port chief, will require expansion of the existing port by reclaiming up to 40 hectares, as well as a greater integration with bordering areas.
Previous attempts to expand have faced much opposition from conservation groups and local residents for a number of years.
O’Reilly stressed that the local community will be engaged on the issues involved before Dublin Port produces a final proposal at the end of the year.
But he also insisted that "there’s no project [that hee knows of] for port expansion that doesn’t involve reclamation", despite proposals to establish a new port at Bremore.
Read more of The Irish Times intreview with Eamonn O'Reilly HERE.

Trade at Dublin Port is set to more than double over the next 30 years, according to its chief executive Eamonn O'Reilly.

In an interview with The Irish Times last week, O'Reilly elaborated on the new 'master plan' for the port, which is based on an estimated trade growth to 60 million tonnes (or 2.5% annually) by 2040.

“Last year’s growth [of 6.1%] suggests to me that we need to get our planning caps on and get a solid and robust master plan in place,” said O’Reilly.

The master plan, according to the Dubin Port chief, will require expansion of the existing port by reclaiming up to 40 hectares, as well as a greater integration with bordering areas.

Previous attempts to expand have faced much opposition from conservation groups and local residents for a number of years.

O’Reilly stressed that the local community will be engaged on the issues involved before Dublin Port produces a final proposal at the end of the year. 

But he also insisted that "there’s no project [that hee knows of] for port expansion that doesn’t involve reclamation", despite proposals to establish a new port at Bremore.

Read more of the Irish Times interview with Eamonn O'Reilly HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Dublin Port Company today announced the commencement of a wide-ranging, public consultation process to devise a Masterplan for the long-term development of Dublin Port, Ireland's most important port.  Over the next 30 years, based on even the most conservative estimates, Dublin Port will need to double its throughput to handle 60 million tonnes per annum and ensure it can continue its vital role in sustaining economic competitiveness and job creation, servicing Ireland's export and import trade.

A public consultation process, which will continue until 31st May 2011, will involve a series of stakeholder meetings at every level, including customers, business groups, statutory bodies and local councils.  There will also be public information days in community venues around Dublin between 2pm and 8pm at Seán O'Casey Community Centre in East Wall on Tuesday, 26th April, Clanna Gael Fontenoy GAA in Ringsend on Wednesday, 27th April and at Clontarf Rugby Club on Thursday, 28th April.  A detailed Issues Paper has been developed and submissions are being sought from all those with an interest in the future development of the Port and of Dublin city. The full Masterplan will be published by the end of the year and will form the basis of future developments at the Port.

Dublin Port Company Chief Executive Eamonn O'Reilly said the Port currently brings in over half the goods Ireland imports and is again approaching capacity constraints.  "Dublin Port has not added any new land in the last 30 years and in that time we have quadrupled the volume of goods going through it.  We now handle €35 billion per annum in trade going in and out of the Port and will easily double our volumes again by 2040.  We need to grow, in a way which better integrates the Port with the city and which contributes substantially to improve both the natural and built environments.  However, how we do all of this needs to be tempered and modulated by the needs of the city and its citizens. Hence, we are launching this consultation exercise to elicit the views and opinions of planners, citizens, other State bodies and anyone with a keen interest in the future development of this great city".

Speaking at the launch of the consultation process, Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport said a new plan for Dublin Port is vital to ensure the smooth and efficient running of the economy, and will play an important role in building national competitiveness, securing overseas investment and supporting tourism.

"I welcome the master-planning initiative being taken by Dublin Port. This is in line with international best practice and with measures to improve integrated transport planning more generally. Port master-planning is being addressed in the Ports Policy Review, which is currently underway. It is an important tool for ensuring the future development of Irish ports over the coming decades.

"It's important that all of Dublin Port's stakeholders have a say in the future of the port, from importers, exporters and ferry passengers to public bodies and local residents.

"I very much welcome this comprehensive engagement exercise in developing a shared vision for the future of the port and its part in our economic landscape," added Minister Varadkar.

Among the issues to be examined in the consultation process are:

Current and future land use within the 261hectares Port estate.

Maximising Dublin Port's position at the hub of Ireland's road and rail networks, with more than 13,500 truck movements in and out of the Port on a daily basis.

How Dublin Port links to and interfaces with the rest of the city.

Environmental and sustainability priorities.

The relationship between the Port and its local communities.

The identification and securing of new lands for development of Port facilities.

Maximising the tourism potential of Dublin Port for the benefit of the country.  Over 80 cruise liners currently dock annually at Dublin Port, generating between €35 and €50 million in revenue for the city, while more than 1.8 million ferry passengers enter and exit the country through the Port.

Dublin Port Company Chairperson Lucy McCaffrey said the Masterplan would provide the blueprint for the third significant phase of development in the Port's modern history.  "The city literally grew up around the Port as a trading channel over the last thousand years and over the past century its central role in the economy has been cemented.  Dublin Port is set to play a strong role in our national recovery.  I would appeal to all stakeholders to input now into the plan for the next 30 years of its development".

Further information on the Dublin Port Masterplan is available from www.dublinport.ie/masterplan

Published in Dublin Port
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