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Fred Olsen Cruise Line will open the Port of Cork’s cruise liner season with the arrival of MV Balmoral and her 1800 passengers and crew to Cobh Cruise Terminal on Friday 1st April. This is the first of 58 liners scheduled to call in 2016. In total over 100,000 passengers and crew will arrive in the region between April and December, with some liners calling for the first time to Cobh and others on repeat visits. Princess Cruises’, MV Caribbean Princess will make ten visits to Cobh in 2016.

In 2015 the Port of Cork invested €1.5 million in upgrading the current facilities at Cobh Cruise Terminal, Ireland’s only dedicated cruise berth. The investment included installation of a number of high load mooring bollards at the east and west end of the Cobh Cruise Berth which will enable larger ships to be berthed.

Commercial Manager at the Port of Cork, Captain Michael McCarthy said: “ We are pleased with the number of calls for 2016 and the fact that we have some new customers this year, shows more and more cruise companies are considering Cobh as part of their cruising route.’

He continued: “Following the investment last year, the Port of Cork can now accommodate the larger liners or Quantum class ships without any restrictions. It is our ambition as a port company to attract these ships and increase our cruise calls to 75 per year over the next three years.’

The cruise business in Cork contributes over €4million annually to the local economy, which is a welcome boost for business in Cork City, Cork County, East Cork and West Cork.

In 2016 Bantry Bay Port Company will welcome three cruise liners to the area, one of which, MV Albatross, will call to Bantry followed by Cobh. This shows the connection between the ports and the joined up promotion of both regions to the cruise companies.

Published in Cruise Liners

#2ndCruiseBerth - The feasibility of building a second cruise berth in Cobh is been explored by the Port of Cork, which would greatly enhance Cork’s ability to attract more liners, reports The Evening Echo.

The port’s commercial manager, Michael McCarthy, said the option was part of a strategy to grow visitor numbers to Cork city and county.

The port is determined to attract more cruise liners to Cobh, and has launched of a campaign to promote Cork Harbour as a destination for US visitors.

The port launched a travel brochure of the region as reported earlier this month on Afloat, during the cruise industry’s premier showcase event, Seatrade Cruise Global, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The event was attended by officials from the port.

The event brings together cruise lines, suppliers, travel agents, and others. The Port of Cork attended as an exhibitor on the Cruise Ireland and Cruise Europe stand. For more on this story, click here.

Afloat adds that US passengers for the first time in over 50 years will have the option to make historic cruises to Cuba. A new offshoot of P&O Cruises, 'fathom' are to operate from Florida at the Port of Miami to Cuba as previously reported last year.

Fathom is the first cruise ship company to be granted US approval for round-trip travel between the U.S. and multiple destinations in Cuba.

Published in Port of Cork

#PortOfCork - Next Wednesday 23 March is the closing date for tenders for the €100 million redevelopment of the Port of Cork's Ringaskiddy port, according to The Irish Times.

Plans for a new container shipping terminal at the Cork Harbour site are already backed by €30 million in funding from the European Investment Bank, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

And the development, which would allow for larger container vessels, is expected to "future-proof Cork as an international gateway for trade", said Port of Cork chief executive Brendan Keating after planning permission was granted last summer following a series of delays.

In other Ringaskiddy news, Marine Minister Simon Coveney has thrown his weight behind local opposition to proposals for a new waste incinerator, as the Irish Examiner reports.

“I think it’s not consistent with what we’re trying to do in the harbour area," said the minister in reference to Indaver's plans for at least one incinerator on Cork Harbour – a situation discussed in depth by Tom McSweeney in his 17 February This Island Nation column.

Published in Port of Cork

The Port of Cork is set to attend Seatrade Cruise Global, the Cruise Industry’s Premier Global event next week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Seatrade Cruise Global is one of the key events in the cruise calendar and guarantees to bring together every facet of the business including cruise lines, suppliers, travel agents and partners. The Port of Cork will attend as an exhibitor on the Cruise Ireland and Cruise Europe stand, increasing the profile of the Port of Cork and the Cork region.

Captain Michael McCarthy, Port of Cork Commercial Manager, who will attend the global event said: ‘This event is without doubt the epicentre of the cruise industry and so maintaining recognition at this event is key to Cork’s future cruise strategy. Some of the industry’s most knowledgeable delegates will attend and speak at the conference, so networking opportunities are substantial.’

He continued: ‘The Port of Cork’s cruise strategy for the next five years will focus on promoting the region and all it has to offer to potential cruise passengers, as well as expanding our business. Our relationship with the cruise lines is excellent and they are very aware of what the port can handle in terms of ship size. Our challenge now is to make sure the cruise companies know exactly what there is to see and do for their passengers while visiting Cork and that is why we will be marketing the Cork City and County region at Seatrade Cruise Global.’

In 2016 the Port of Cork will welcome 58 cruise liners to Cobh and over the next five years aims to increase these calls to 75. The Port of Cork is currently exploring the feasibility of a second cruise berth in Cobh, which would greatly enhance Cork’s cruise offering. This global cruise event is a key opportunity to further sell Cork as a cruise destination and to interact and liaise with the key decision makers within cruise companies.

Captain McCarthy is also the current chairman of Cruise Europe and says having a presence at these trade events is vital to sell your business.

He said: ‘The cruise industry is a difficult industry to enter, but once you do you must work hard at maintaining relationships and keeping informed of the opportunities and threats to the industry. It’s important for any port to ensure their cruise offering is kept alive and fresh, as with many cruise companies some passengers are repeat passengers who want to experience something different and new on every cruise.’

One of the main topics at the conference this year at which Captain McCarthy is a speaker is “Seasonality and Deployment” and he will be emphasising the opportunities of expanding the cruise season in northern Europe. The topics covered will relate to ship design and suitability, climate and weather and port and regional tourism products over the winter period. The session will debate the tourism offering in winter versus summer and include topics such as Christmas markets and winter sports and events throughout our region.

The Port of Cork will take the opportunity at Seatrade Cruise Global to launch their new cruise brochure aimed at marketing the Cork region.

Published in Port of Cork

#Expansion - The Port of Cork is set to gain €30m from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to development the country's biggest natural harbour.

The project, with the Port of Cork as borrower, is currently going through an appraisal process with funding expected to be formally signed off later this year.

It will support an expansion of the Port of Cork's deep-water port in Ringaskiddy, which is expected to cost €88m in total. "The EIB expects to support the project later this year and this follows a €100m loan to the Port of Dublin agreed last December," a spokesman for the European Union's bank said.

For more see yesterday's Irish Independent here.

Published in Port of Cork

#BantryUpgrade - Following a public tender process, BAM Civil Ltd has been appointed as the main contractor by Bantry Bay Port Company to undertake the new Bantry Inner Harbour Development, as reported earlier today on Afloat.ie.

This development marks the start of the regeneration of Bantry inner harbour which is in keeping with the total Inner Harbour Development scheme which was developed by the Bantry Bay Harbour Commissioners in 2012.

With phase 1 of the project expected to cost in the region of €8.5 million, funding for the project has been made available from the Port of Cork Company, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and from previous funds carried over from Bantry Harbour Commissioners.

As well as providing a more sheltered harbour environment and marina with increased water depth, the development will also see the pier facilities improved and a new quayside area which will support and promote fishing and tourism activities in the Bantry area.

With construction expected to commence in late February/early March 2016, Bantry Bay Port Company is hoping to complete the development by Q3 2017.

Speaking at the announcement in Bantry, Bantry Bay Port Company and Port of Cork chairman John Mullins said: "BAM Civil is the largest civil engineering and public works contractor in Ireland and Bantry Bay Port Company is very excited to be working with them on the new inner harbour development."

Also attending the announcement was Brendan Keating, CEO of the Port of Cork and director of Bantry Bay Port, who said: "This is without doubt a big joint investment by Bantry Bay Port Company, the Port of Cork and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

"However, the benefits to the local area are second to none and we anticipate that this development will provide a critical kickstart for the marine leisure industry and we are confident it will attract more marine tourism to the Bantry area."

Once complete, the Bantry Inner Harbour Development will ensure vessels no longer lie aground when beside the pier. The quayside reclamation area will provide an increased foot print for marine-related activities, making the pier safer environment for all users.

The new 20-berth marina will provide improved berthage for local and visiting yachts to safely moor and access the town centre. Dredging will be carried out on the existing pier and new marina facilities, allowing access at all stages of the tide.

A new amenity area will also be developed in consultation with Cork County Council and the local community. And a full traffic and pedestrian mobility management plan will be implemented to ensure access to the pier is maintained at all times during the construction phase.

The announcement comes just months after the launch of the Bantry Blueway connecting the port with water trails of up to 9km for kayakers along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Published in Port of Cork

#BantryUpgrade - An upgrade costing €8.5m to the main harbour in Bantry Bay writes the Irish Examiner is expected to get underway later this month.

The long-awaited project at the port (see 2015 figures) will provide a huge boost to tourism and marine industries in the West Cork town.

BAM Civil Ltd was yesterday appointed main contractor for phase one of the the inner harbour development.

It involves the creation of a 20-berth marina on quayside pontoons, plus dredging to a depth of 4m, which will allow vessels access the inner harbour in all tidal conditions.

The main pier is to be widened and extended while a 4,000sq m public recreational amenity will be created from reclaiming land adjacent to the railway pier, also in the inner harbour. 

To read more from the newspaper, click here.

Published in Port of Cork

#Refinery - The Irish Examiner writes that the Port of Cork is partially “insulated” said its chairman from future developments at Whitegate oil refinery but has a clear preference for it to remain operational.

The refinery’s future continues to hang in the balance as the obligation on its owner Phillips 66 to operate the facility until July 2016 draws closer.

The ongoing uncertainty is cause for concern for the port which counts on Whitegate for 55% of its freight traffic.

The possibility that the refinery would be converted to a storage facility if the “worst-case scenario” came to pass offers some solace regardless of whether Whitegate remains operational, said Port of Cork chairman John Mullins.

To read more from the newspaper's story click here.

Published in Cork Harbour

Total traffic through the Port of Cork and Bantry Bay Port Company in 2015 reached a total of 11 million tonnes. Total Trade traffic at the Port of Cork reached 9.8 million tonnes up a significant 10% on 2014 traffic figures. Bantry Bay Port Company dropped slightly from 1.3 million tonnes in 2014 to 1.1 million tonnes in 2015. These figures are extremely positive for the port and show trade is beginning to return to pre-recession times.

Total container volumes through both Tivoli and Ringaskiddy Container Terminals in the Port of Cork grew by 8% compared to 2014 figures with over 205,000 TEU’s handled. This is very encouraging particularly as the Port received planning permission to move all container operations to Ringaskiddy in the near future. Dry bulk cargos such as animal feed, increased by 2% in 2015 while fertilisers and cereals both decreased slightly.

Liquid bulk cargo, predominantly the oil traffic through Whitegate Oil Refinery, currently owned and operated by Phillips 66, continues to have a significant impact on the overall traffic through the Port of Cork with oil traffic in 2015 showing an increase of almost 20%. This significant increase in 2015 is attributed to an increase in demand from the domestic market as recovery takes hold and due to maintenance shut-down in the Whitegate refinery in 2014 which affected refining for a six week period. Traffic from the Bantry Bay Oil Storage Terminal is operated by Zenith Energy, which accounts for 100% of the commercial traffic through Bantry Bay Port.

Commenting on the 2015 trade traffic results, Port of Cork Chairman Mr. John Mullins said: ‘We are pleased with the total trade traffic figures across both Bantry and Cork in 2015. Achieving traffic figures which are in line with pre-recessionary time highlights the beginning of the positivity returning to the market and I am confident that we can sustain this growth across 2016. Container traffic increased by 8% indicating the confidence in the consumer market for imports and the growth of exports in the agricultural and pharmaceutical sectors. The Port’s move to Ringaskiddy is vitally important to meet expected further growth in this market.’

He continued “Whitegate oil Refinery operated by Phillips 66 is a key customer within the port and we are extremely encouraged to see oil traffic up compared to 2014. Phillips 66 currently has the refinery on the market for sale and we would remain hopeful that it would be sold as an operating refinery.”

The Port of Cork cruise business grows year on year with 55 scheduled cruise liners calling to Cork in 2015. In total these liners carried in excess of 145,000 passengers and crew to the region. These transit visitors are an excellent economic stimulus for Cork, bringing a welcome boost to the local economy for eight months of the year. The Port of Cork has completed work on upgrading the facilities at Cobh Cruise Terminal and can now handle ‘Quantum Class’ vessels, which are the largest liners operating in Europe today. The Port of Cork continues to work closely with cruise lines to increase calls to both Port of Cork and Bantry Bay.

Brittany Ferries had another very positive year with their seasonal service from Cork to Roscoff carrying 84,378 passengers in 2015. This figure is up compared with 2014 and it is hoped that 2016 will be another busy year for Brittany Ferries when sailings resume.

In 2015 the Port of Cork was granted planning permission for the Ringaskiddy Port Redevelopment which is a milestone for the Port of Cork and particularly the Munster region. According to Chairman Mr. Mullins, receiving planning permission for the Ringaskiddy Port Redevelopment has given the organisation a renewed confidence in the future of trade for the Cork region. He said; ‘Not only is this a great boost for our company but most importantly for our customers, who can now confidently plan for the future, knowing the port has the capacity to accommodate their growth.’

Following a public tender process in November, advance works on the project are due to begin in January 2016. These advance works are a positive step in terms of the Ringaskiddy port redevelopment and will include site clearance to the proposed container compound area which will serve to prepare the site to ensure the main works are not delayed. The next step is to launch the main works tender process in April 2016, with a view to contract being awarded in Q3 2016. It is estimated that 849 FTE jobs will be created during the construction of the Ringaskiddy Redevelopment Project which the Port aims to have operating by Q4 2018.

The Port of Cork is committed to seeking out new business opportunities for the Port and in particular, the agri-food business will be a key sector which the Port of Cork is keen to develop. Other areas include the offshore oil exploration field and of course establishing new trade links from Cork.

The Port of Cork Schools Initiative is now in its eleventh year and aims to educate 5th class primary school children about the rich history associated with Cork Harbour and to highlight the importance of having a local port to facilitate the connectivity to world markets. The initiative also gives children a better understanding of where cargo comes from and how Ireland, as an island depends on Ports for trading. This year’s theme (2016) ‘A Day in the Life of a Cruise Passenger Visiting Cork’ focuses on the leisure and tourism aspect of the harbour, county and city and encourages school children to see what their region has to offer international visitors.

The Port of Cork’s recreational strategy continues to expand with the aim of improving the marine leisure facilities around Cork Harbour and the Port of Cork continues to be an ongoing supporter many of the local harbour festivals and events, local sporting clubs in the harbour and cultural events in the city.

Published in Port of Cork

#CruiseLiners - Following the release of Dublin Port's cruise visit schedule, the Port of Cork has announced its own list of arrivals for 2016.

And it features many of the same big names, with May and August particularly busy months for cruise liners visiting the Cobh Cruise Terminal in Cork Harbour.

However, one visitor the capital won't be seeing – after three cancellations last season – is the enormous Fantasia-class MSC Splendida, a veritable floating city with more than 4,000 passengers that's expected to stop in Cobh on 312 August.

The full schedule is available on the Port of Cork website HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners
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