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There is only one more cruise ship is left to visit in December, for what has been a record cruise season for the Port of Cork with 100 cruise liners visiting in 2019. In total over 243,000 passengers and crew visited the region with many passengers visiting Cork for the first time.

In 2019, 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. Destinations awarded in this year’s awards received the highest ratings among cruisers who cruised to the destination in the past year and shared their experiences on Cruise Critic.

Port of Cork Chief Executive, Mr Brendan Keating said: “We are hugely proud of the increase in cruise tourism and growing our business to 100 calls has surpassed our expectations. However in order to successfully promote Cork as a sustainable cruise destination, it takes commitment from local tourism bodies, local businesses and Cork City and Cork County Council to work together to enhance the reputation of Cork globally.’

He continued: ‘On average, cruise ship passengers spend €81 during their visit to Cork while crew spend approximately €29. Improving and exciting the passengers' shore experience will encourage a return visit to the region increasing tourism and boosting the local economy.’

As well as Cobh the Port of Cork also operates Bantry Bay Port Company which saw 10 cruise liners calling to the West Cork area this summer. Bantry Harbour and Glengarriff can accommodate the smaller boutique and expedition-style cruise liners whose passengers tend to look for an active cruise. Bantry Bay Port Company has developed a cruise strategy for Bantry in order to grow the business in West Cork. The smaller cruise liner market or ‘expedition’ market has huge growth potential and it is this market that Bantry hopes to capitalise on over the next few years, with the guidance of the Port of Cork.

The cruise industry which anticipates that 30 million passengers globally will cruise in 2019 has seen a major shift in the demographic now taking to the seas. Cruising is seen as an attractive, affordable method of travel, offering passengers multiple destinations and an array of experiences.

What has also become clear is that according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) travellers want to see the world in a conscious, mindful way and the cruise industry is more conscientious than ever, working carefully to minimize environmental footprints.

Published in Cruise Liners
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The 1926-built 56ft Conor O’Brien trading ketch Ilen of Limerick has had an exceptionally busy first season in 2019 in her restored condition as achieved by the Ilen Boat-Building School of Limerick, and Liam Hegarty’s Oldcourt Boatyard in West Cork.

This ambassadorial sailing ship has continued her 2019 community work - work which began last April on first departing Limerick Docks in full seagoing commission. Intertwined with many other objectives, the Ilen Project’s theme for this year was Salmon’s Wake, a concept whereby the ship’s voyaging shared 2019 with the International Year of the Salmon.

ilen bowsprit2In from the sea, in from the Arctic – the much-travelled Ilen of Limerick makes her first visit to Cork City. Photo: Dermot Lynch

An international and local awareness around the declining numbers of Wild Salmon had prompted many communities around the North Atlantic to reflect on this reality - and to explore what the causes and effects might be. With a voyage along the salmon migratory routes to West Greenland, the Ilen was able to provide a central theme for the many salmon studies. 

"This ambassadorial sailing ship has continued her 2019 community work"

Yet it is indicative of how busy the Ilen has been – and still is – that in her first year of operation in her restored condition, the Greenland Voyage has only been a highlight – albeit a very significant one – in a complex and varied programme to provide a productive first year of operation.

ilen cork harbour welcome3The Port of Cork welcomes Ilen with (left to right) Peter O’Shaughnessy (HR, Port of Cork), Colin Healy and James Lyons of Sailing into Wellness, Deirdre Power of the Ilen Project with the traditional gift of Port of Cork ship’s plaque, and Henry Kingston, Port of Cork Engineering Manager. Photo: Dermot Lynch

Ilen’s dedication to community educational initiatives has thus seen her visit up to twenty ports, complete two transatlantic crossings, cruise the West Coast of Greenland, and engage with hundreds of individuals and with numerous educational and care organisations across Ireland.



ilen training group4 Neil Creedon (left), Deputy Principal of Terence MacSwiney Community College, Knocknaheeny, Cork, with (centre) James Lyons of Sailing Into Wellness and (right) Deirdre Power, Educational Facilitator of the Ilen Project, with students of Terence MacSwiney College aboard Ilen in the Port of Cork. Photo: Dermot Lynch

Even with the swift arrival of Autumnal weather, her mission continues, and recently she sailed into Cork City Centre – her first visit to the city, as Kinsale provides her south coast berth - to join in with Cork Mental Health Festival, where she was warmly welcomed and lauded for her work with youth and recovery groups. This was a joint visit by the Ilen Project and its partners Sailing into Wellness. Both organisations share a common community mission, and also find project expression in sailing ships upon the coastal waters of Ireland. – (Gary MacMahon - Ilen Project)


ilen port of cork5In the heart of Cork - a very different place from Nuuk in Western Greenland, yet Ilen has been in both ports during her extensive 2019 voyaging. Photo: Dermot Lynch

Published in Port of Cork
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The Tall Ship Pelican of London evoked memories of days gone by alongside at the Port of Cork quays on the River Lee last night writes Bob Bateman.

The part clipper, part pirate ship was back in Cork Harbour a fortnight after her previous visit to the Tall Ship Sail Training Armada & Awards Presentation.

Based in Bristol, the 45-metre Pelican is a three-masted Barquentine that sails throughout the summer on voyages from the UK to European harbours including maritime festivals, historic ports and competing in Tall Ships Races. 

One such voyage is currently advertised on the ship's Facebook page: a trip from Cork to Santander at €500 from 6th to 12th September.

Pelican of LondonPelican of London Photo: Bob Bateman 

Published in Tall Ships
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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, an increase of 0.3 million tonnes or 3% due to increased bulk cargo activity as result of the 2018 fodder crisis and increased container traffic at Tivoli.

The profit on ordinary activities before taxation amounted to €5.1 million and the profit after taxation for the financial year amounted to €4.4 million.

In May 2018, the Port of Cork Company commenced the Ringaskiddy Port Redevelopment project in the lower harbour which will future-proof the Port of Cork Company as an international gateway for trade. The full development involves the construction of new container handling facilities in Ringaskiddy, followed by an extension to the existing deep-water berth in due course. This key strategic project will cost circa €86 million in the period 2017 – 2020 with funding secured from EIB, AIB and ISIF, (the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund) along with (CEF) Continuing Europe Facility grant aid and Company resources.

John Mullins Chairman of the Port of Cork said: ‘Overall we are very pleased with the 2018 annual results as we move forward with the Ringaskiddy Port Redevelopment. The stated policy of the Board of the Port of Cork Company is to support the Shareholder and following approval from the Board in April 2019; the Directors agreed a dividend payment of €250,000 in 2019 in respect of the 2018 financial year.’

The Irish Economy is dependent on the ability of its Ports to trade successfully and the Port of Cork Company is a critical component of the national transport infrastructure network and therefore must continue to invest in modern, sustainable and well-connected infrastructure and superstructure. In 2018 Port of Cork Company signed a contract with Liebherr Container Cranes to supply two post panamax size ship to shore (STS) container gantry cranes to the Port of Cork for the new Cork Container Terminal in Ringaskiddy.

The Port of Cork Company is constantly monitoring the potential impact of Brexit on port activities from both a national and EU trade perspective and according to the Chief Executive, Brendan Keating: ‘Discussions with Government Departments, Customs and the Gardai in relation to potential impacts of Brexit are ongoing. The commencement by Brittany Ferries of the new shipping RoRo service direct from Ringaskiddy, Cork to Santander and Roscoff in May 2018, was a welcome and successful route and we will continue to monitor the potential impacts Brexit may have on our business and that of our customers.’

In 2018, the Port hosted 93 cruise ships, carrying in excess of 200,000 passengers and crew. The Port of Cork Company’s continued commitment to the cruise business is reinforced by its work with Cork County Council in planning for the provision of a second dedicated cruise berth in Cobh at Lynch’s Quay. To this end “Expression of Interests” was invited and a number of submissions are currently under consideration.

Published in Port of Cork
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The latest cruise ship from Saga Cruises, the highly anticipated 'Spirit of Discovery' has docked in Cobh on her make her maiden call to a wet Cork Harbour today.

As Afloat's Jehan Ashmore wrote yesterday, this brand new, luxury boutique British liner carries 999 passengers on board and was recently named by the Duchess of Cornwall, at an official naming ceremony in Dover.

Also as Afloat reported earlier, the Cork Harbour destination for the Spirit of Discovery was this week voted one of the world's top stopovers. 

Saga Cruises have a rich history calling to the Port of Cork and have included Cobh on their British Isles cruise itinerary for many years now, as well as Belfast and Dublin. To mark the maiden calls to Dublin, Belfast and Cork, the ports and Excursions Ireland jointly commissioned a special shamrock magnet for every passenger on the inaugural cruise.

See photo gallery below 

Spirit of Discovery Cobh1Spirit of Discovery Cobh1Spirit of Discovery Cobh1Spirit of Discovery Cobh1Spirit of Discovery Cobh1Spirit of Discovery Cobh1Spirit of Discovery Cobh1Spirit of Discovery Cobh1Spirit of Discovery Cobh1Spirit of Discovery Cobh1Spirit of Discovery Cobh1

Published in Port of Cork

The latest cruise ship from Saga Cruises, the highly anticipated Spirit of Discovery will make her maiden call to Cobh on Friday 19th July.

As Afloat's Jehan Ashmore wrote yesterday, this brand new, luxury boutique British liner carries 999 passengers on board and was recently named by the Duchess of Cornwall, at an official naming ceremony in Dover.

Also as Afloat reported earlier, the Cork Harbour destination for the Spirit of Discovery was this week voted one of the world's top stopovers. 

Saga Cruises have a rich history calling to the Port of Cork and have included Cobh on their British Isles cruise itinerary for many years now, as well as Belfast and Dublin. To mark the maiden calls to Dublin, Belfast and Cork, the ports and Excursions Ireland jointly commissioned a special shamrock magnet for every passenger on the inaugural cruise.

Brendan Keating, Chief Executive of the Port of Cork said: ‘It’s an honour to welcome Saga Cruises latest cruise ship, Spirit of Discovery to Cobh. This new luxury liner, is great example of high end boutique cruising and we very much look forward to working with Saga to ensure Spirit of Discovery becomes a regular caller to Cobh.’

Spirit of Discovery is the 60th of 102 calls this cruise season, a record year for the Port of Cork with over 200,000 passengers’ anticipated.

On average, cruise ship passengers spend €81 during their time in Cork; with 42% of this money being spent on shopping, 32% on excursion travel and 17% on food and drink. Typically crew spend approximately €29, with most of the money being spent on food and drink and/or shopping.

The increased cruise calls to Cork are indicative of the wider global cruise business which has seen huge growth. In 2018 an estimated 27.2 million people took a cruise on over 450 cruise ships worldwide. With the global cruise ship order book for new build contracts reaching 113 ships between now and 2027, Cork cruise business is set to grow further in the coming years and the Port of Cork is eager to attract these new ships.

Published in Cruise Liners
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Developers of the historic Custom House Quay site in Cork are promising a project that will be a ‘symbol not only for the city but an icon for Ireland as a prominent modern European destination’.

As EchoLive reports, details of the 34-storey hotel tower, twice the size of the Elysian, at the Port of Cork's Custom House site were revealed today by the developers, Tower Holdings Group.

The skyscraper will also include retail units, cultural spaces, food and beverage businesses, office space, recreational areas and a micro-distillery.

A planning application for the development is not expected to be lodged until later this month.

The developers have stressed that they will maintain the heritage of the site which includes the historic Custom House and bonded warehouse buildings that previously belonged to the Port of Cork, which is relocating to Ringaskiddy. They also have plans for a large public realm area.

Mr Adams delivered his petition to Cork City Council and former Lord Mayor Mick Finn earlier this year.

More here on the story.

Published in Waterfront Property

Today, Port of Cork and Port of Amsterdam International, in the presence of His Majesty Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Máxima, as well as Minister Sigrid Kaag, signed a collaboration agreement in Cork. Both ports will research in what areas they can strengthen and support each other.

Ireland is an important trading partner for the Netherlands. In 2017, the country exported over 5.5 billion euros of goods to the Netherlands. This makes the Netherlands the sixth biggest export destination for Irish goods. In the same year, Ireland imported over 3.5 billion euros worth of goods from the Netherlands. This chiefly consisted of pharmaceuticals, machines, and transport equipment.

The Port of Cork, as well as the Port of Amsterdam, wish to share their expertise and experience in a number of areas in order to promote trade between their ports. Themes under consideration are port development, stakeholder management, cruise development, ports logistics and mitigation of the impact of Brexit, which is expected to have a significant impact on Ireland. The definitive themes are to be determined in the upcoming months. The agreement is part of the ambition of Port of Amsterdam to strengthen its position in the short sea segment.

Even though it is as of yet not clear which Brexit scenario will come to fruition, the expectation is that the logistics of trade through the United Kingdom will be more expensive and complex. This makes direct (shipping) connections to the European mainland more viable. The expectation is therefore that this will be accompanied by a shift from use of the land bridge to use of direct shipping connections with the Netherlands.

Gert-Jan Nieuwenhuizen, Managing Director of Port of Amsterdam International, ‘We see many opportunities to work together with Port of Cork, the second largest port of Ireland. With an eye on developing partnerships, we look for ports that wish to exchange knowledge and that we can support in successful port development. We research scenarios, look at opportunities and seek to jointly capitalise on these opportunities.’

Chairman of the Port of Cork John Mullins said, ‘Our historical bond with the Netherlands makes that we know each other well, and our joint goals ensure smooth collaboration. Port of Cork is making significant investments to keep developing the port and we have grand ambitions for our commercial position. We look forward to what this collaboration will bring to both ports.’

The collaboration agreement was signed as part of the trade mission port development/maritime infrastructure, headed by the Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag. The royal couple were in Ireland for a parallel state visit.

Published in Port of Cork
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Port of Cork Chairman, Mr. John Mullins congratulated St Columbas Girls National School for being awarded ‘Best Overall Project’ in the Port of Cork Schools Initiative 2019. Scoil Barra Naofa, Monkstown were given special recognition for their outstanding level of research and content used in their project.

The Port of Cork have been running their primary schools initiative for 13 years now and 2019 was the first year that Port of Cork teamed up with MaREI, the UCC research Centre for marine and renewable energy based in Ringaskiddy, to deliver this educational initiative around marine litter.

Themed ‘Maintaining a Healthy Harbour’ the initiative educated school children on marine litter and the detrimental effects it can have on our oceans, harbour and shorelines. Over twenty schools took part and with the help of MaREI, classes were encouraged to collect and use marine litter and recycled items to create a 3D art project that makes people stop and think.

John Mullins said: ‘All the schools that participated in this year’s initiative can feel proud of their efforts as the projects submitted were incredibly visual and would certainly make people stop and think about the effects of marine litter.’

plastic monsterSt Columbas Girls National School’s ‘Plastic Monster’

He told the children they are our future and said: ‘It is the younger generation, like yourselves that will make the difference and you are an inspiration for us all.’

The Port of Cork were joined by Aoife Deane from MaREI and Susan Vickers from Clean Coasts who both judged the projects.

Researchers estimate that over 10 million tonnes of litter ends up in the world’s oceans each year and 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals (seals, whales, dolphins) die every year because of marine litter through entanglement or ingestion. There is a growing public awareness of the issue, and with almost half of all marine litter being made up of just 10 types of single-use plastic items, we can take steps to tackle the problem.

Port of Cork Chairman John Mullins reminded all participating classes that as well as receiving a certificate of participation, every class will be treated to a high speed, fun filled boat trip around Cork Harbour, compliments of the Port of Cork. As an extra special prize, best overall winners St Columbas Girls National School will go on board a cruise liner in May for a tour of the ship.

All school projects are currently on display at the Cobh Maritime Building, located on the platform at Cobh Railway Station until the end of May.

As part of Cork Harbour Festival and Seafest the projects will be on display to the public in Custom House, Cork City from 1st – 9th June 2019.

Published in Port of Cork
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The Port of Cork and its partners were ‘highly commended’ at last night’s Seatrade Awards in the ‘Deal of the Year’ category in recognition of its work in securing significant funding for the development of the new Cork Container Terminal (CCT) in Ringaskiddy, which will open in 2020.

The funding for the €80m project was secured from a combination of sources including the Allied Irish Banks p.l.c (AIB), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), as well as EU Connecting Europe Facility funds, and self-finance. €1m of the total capital secured is allocated to a community gain fund for the Ringaskiddy area.

The deal represents a major commitment and pan-European belief in the future of the Irish maritime sector and took two years to complete. It puts in place an innovative transaction structure involving senior debt from AIB and EIB and junior debt from ISIF. As a key infrastructure deal, the project will increase future capacity at the port and bring major strategic value to the city of Cork and the wider Munster region, as well as the overall Irish economy.

Established in 1989, the Seatrade Awards recognise shipping's most impressive innovations and achievements. Throughout its 30-year history, the Awards have provided a reliable benchmark for success, the trends affecting the maritime world, and celebrating those who are driving the industry forward.

The Port of Cork was recognised by the EU as a ‘core’ port on the North Sea Mediterranean Corridor, and identification by the Irish Government as a Tier 1 Port. Secured through an innovative financing structure, the funding arrangement represents the most significant single investment in marine infrastructure and superstructure in the 200-year history of the Port of Cork.

Donal Crowley, Chief Financial Officer & Deputy CEO of the Port of Cork commented: “The Port of Cork's natural deepsea harbour and geography makes it ideally placed to enhance trade between Ireland and the rest of the world. But no matter how necessary the move to expand the port was from a strategic perspective, securing funding for the project was a huge challenge, and we must credit our finance team at the Port, and all our finance partners for arranging this innovative deal.

“The deal not only secures the Port’s legacy and delivers a 21st century terminal but cements a bright future in terms of the Port’s growth to benefit the local Cork area and the wider Munster region economically.”

The CCT redevelopment is a Strategic Trans – European Transport Network (TEN-T) project, recognising the Port of Cork’s significant growth potential. The first phase of this development provides critical replacement facilities for the Tivoli Container Terminal and will initially span a 360-metre quay with 13 metre depth alongside; initially enabling vessels of up to 4,000 TEUs berth.

The development includes the construction of a 13.5 hectare ‘greenfield’ terminal, serviced by modern and efficient cargo handling equipment, with innovative terminal operating and vehicle booking systems.

Published in Port of Cork
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