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Displaying items by tag: Ports

The European Parliament has urged the European Commission to present a European port strategy by the end of 2024.

A report approved today by the parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg highlights the risk of economic dependence, espionage and sabotage, while also emphasising the need to maintain a competitive framework for port activities.

The report, which passed by 585 votes in favour to 21 against and 26 abstentions has been supported by Ireland South MEP Seán Kelly, who said that “it is crucial for Europe, and Ireland in particular, to ensure that our ports are not only competitive but strategically developed to meet the demands of the future”.

The report highlights concerns about non-EU countries' economic presence in European ports, with particular attention to China, Kelly notes.

"While we welcome international collaboration, we must be vigilant about potential risks such as economic dependence, espionage, and sabotage. Ireland, through ports like Shannon Foynes, Bantry, Cork and Rosslare, can take a lead in ensuring our maritime infrastructure remains secure and resilient,” he says.

"The development of offshore wind in the Shannon estuary will be fundamental to Ireland's net-zero commitments and contributes significantly to Europe's broader strategy to reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports. It needs to be one of the first names on the team sheet in the governments offshore wind industrial strategy,” Kelly says.

Kelly says it presents an opportunity for a new industrial ecosystem based on green electricity and hydrogen production.

Scattery Island on the Shannon estuary -  The development of offshore wind in the estuary will be fundamental to Ireland's net-zero commitmentsScattery Island on the Shannon estuary -  The development of offshore wind in the estuary will be fundamental to Ireland's net-zero commitments according to MEP Sean Kelly

"This isn't just about energy; it's about creating jobs, investing in infrastructure, and positioning Ireland as a key player in the renewable energy market,”he says.

"Cooperation between EU ports is essential to tackle the outlined challenges. Ireland must actively engage in this dialogue, ensuring that our ports are not just participants but leaders in shaping the future of European trade and energy,”he says.

Kelly said he also voted in favour of another related parliamentary report adopted today which warns against Chinese influence on critical infrastructure such as transport infrastructure and ports, telecommunications networks, rare metals and undersea cables.

Published in Ports & Shipping
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The Irish Government has announced the commencement of the first phase of public consultation for the Review of the National Ports Policy, inviting interested parties to contribute to shaping the future of maritime policy in Ireland. The National Ports Policy, introduced in 2013, governs the development of Ireland's state port network, providing a framework for fostering competition among ports and reducing barriers for shipping companies entering the Irish market.

However, with the increasing environmental, technological, demographic, and geopolitical challenges facing the maritime sector, a revised approach is essential to address the needs of Irish ports in the coming decade. Consequently, the government has launched a public consultation, encouraging stakeholders and the public to participate actively in shaping the future of Ireland's maritime policy.

Minister for Transport Eamon RyanMinister for Transport Eamon Ryan -  importance of engaging stakeholders and the public in the review of the National Ports Policy

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan emphasised the importance of engaging stakeholders and the public, stating that Ireland's ports would continue to play a critical role in the country's future economic development. He emphasised that the consultation was a timely opportunity for stakeholders and the public to have their say on the type of port infrastructure and maritime sector needed to develop and build, in order to balance the demands of the economy, the environment, and wider society in a sustainable way.

Minister of State with responsibility for maritime transport, Jack Chambers, added that the efficient functioning of Ireland's ports directly impacted the life of every citizen and it was crucial that the ports continued to have the capacity required to support continued growth while embracing new opportunities. He encouraged all stakeholders to actively engage in the consultation process and contribute their valuable insights and expertise.

Submissions by citizens and stakeholders will play a fundamental role in shaping the revised National Ports Policy during the consultation period, which is set to conclude on 15 January 2024. Interested parties can find further information on the government's website, consultation for the review of national ports policy.

It is worth noting that in 2023, the Irish Ports Capacity Study was completed, which evaluates the port system's capacity to address current and future demands up to 2040. The Executive Summary of this report, which outlines the study's methodology, conclusions, and recommendations, is available alongside the National Ports Policy Issues Paper for reference.

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The role of art and culture in re-imagining the future of port cities is the theme of an online Cork CityLabs seminar on June 7th.

In the Cork context, Cork Docklands is set to be Ireland’s largest regeneration project which will accommodate a population of around 25,000, a workforce of approximately 29,000, and a student population of more than 3,500.

Over 146 hectares of land will be developed over a 20-year period, which will see homes, schools, medical and social services, sports and recreation facilities, office space, pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels, retail and two new bridges for the city.

Speakers at the third annual Cork CityLabs “Future of Port” seminar, including representatives of Espacio Open in Bilbao; and the European Bauhaus Lighthouse project, Bauhaus of the Seas Sails in Malmo.

Full event details and link to join here


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The Ports, Past and Present Project celebrates five unique ports in the Irish Sea. Over the past five years, a collaborative team from Ireland and Wales have researched and explored, Dublin Port, Fishguard, Holyhead, Pembroke Dock and Rosslare Harbour. Working with the local community in each port, they have written 250 compelling stories, created five films and developed an innovative app to help people discover these fascinating port places. The team also commissioned twelve artists to devise creative responses to the ports, works of imagination that have taken the form of books, photographs, poems, paintings, plays, and sculpture.

All of these creative and cultural outputs are now available to explore and discover here

This rich treasure trove of resources is available to tourists planning journeys to, or through, the ports and to tourism businesses who want to promote their areas as great places to spend time. An Irish Sea tourism business network has been set up as part of the project to support collaboration and discover synergies at either side of the ferry crossing.

Ports, Past and Present is a cross-border initiative between Higher Education Institutions in Wales and the Republic of Ireland, including University College Cork, Aberystwyth University, the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies/University of Wales Trinity St David alongside a local authority, Wexford County Council, in the Republic of Ireland funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Co-operation Programme.

The Ports, Past and Present Project comes to an end in July, and it is planned that the many resources and relationships created during the last five years will live on and support tourism development in the five ports for many years to come.

Claire Connolly, Professor of English at UCC, and project lead, said: “The Ports, Past and Present Project has engaged with and learned from community stakeholders, heritage enthusiasts and tourism businesses across the Irish Sea. We have made films, told stories, and developed online resources, including a Port Places app. Our legacy is bound up with the Irish Sea itself: an enduring presence that continues to shape our cultural, political and environmental histories.”

Mary-Ann Constantine, Professor at the Centre for Advanced Celtic Studies (University of Wales St David) said: “Welsh-Irish connections run deep. Ports, Past and Present, testifies to the lasting power of cultural exchange across the space of the Irish Sea. It reimagines that space, often perceived as empty or divisive, as criss-crossed by stories, and connected by people's lives. The project has also helped to make Wales and Ireland more visible to each other as distinct cultural entities. At a time of political and national repositioning, it has been a pleasure to work with Irish colleagues to affirm those deep connections.’

Published in Ports & Shipping
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The projects of the ports of Ceuta, Barcelona, Tallinn and the cooperation project of the ports of Ancona, Ravenna, Venice, Trieste, Rijeka, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik have been shortlisted for the 14th ESPO Award on Social Integration of Ports.

The jury selected these four applications from a total of seven submissions on the theme of this year’s edition: “Role of maritime passenger transport in enhancing the city connectivity and bringing added value to the local community”.

The ESPO Award 2022 will go to the port managing body which has developed a series of initiatives and/or a strategy in collaboration with the different stakeholders and the city to enhance the maritime passenger links and the connectivity within the city or with other cities and regions of Europe, be it for its own citizens or for allowing visitors from all over the world to visit and discover the city and bring added value to the local community.

The role of the port in enhancing the connectivity through a smooth and friendly passage through the port in and out of the city, as well as efforts of the port to give visitors a first good impression of the city or region are important criteria. Environmental and social sustainability of the project or strategy will be a prerequisite for winning the ESPO Award 2022.

“Maritime passenger transport enables ports to link people and cultures across regions and countries but it is also a real challenge to ports. Ports are already expert in dealing with goods in an efficient, cost-effective and secure way. Passenger transport brings different requirements such as protection from the elements, comfort, aesthetics, integration of the seafront in the fabric of the city and also the need to avoid disruption when large numbers of passengers have to be transported from and to the port.

"This year's seven submissions underline efforts to address these issues in innovative ways. From new construction and relocation, to information and integration, architects, engineers and local authorities spare no effort to make this means of transport more attractive. Irrespective of whether they have been shortlisted or not, all projects have their merits and the jury wishes great success to all of them.", comments Dimitrios Theologitis, Chairman of the ESPO Award Jury.

The winner of the 14th ESPO Award will be announced during the traditional ESPO Award Ceremony and Dinner taking place on 8 November in Brussels. The shortlisted projects will be presented on the ESPO website in the coming weeks and all seven submissions will be presented in a special brochure to be published on 8 November.

About the ESPO Award: The ESPO Award was established in 2009 to promote innovative projects of port authorities that improve social integration of ports, especially with the city or wider community in which they are located. In this way, the Award aims to stimulate the sustainable development of European ports and their cities.

Previous winners of the Award are:The Port of Gijón (2009), the Port of Helsinki (2010), the Ports of Stockholm (2011), the Port of Genoa (2012), the Port of Antwerp (2013), the Port of Koper (2014), Port of Dublin (2015), BremenPorts (2016), Guadeloupe Ports Caraïbes (2017), Port of Rotterdam (2018), Port of Dover (2019), Algeciras Port Authority (2020) and Port of Gdańsk Authority (2021).

Published in Ports & Shipping

UKSA is launching a new Port Operative Apprenticeship Programme, due to start this summer, as it expands its maritime career pathways.

Isle of Wight based charity, UKSA, has designed the programme to give young people the opportunity to start on the maritime career ladder in a vital port operative role which allows businesses and organisations to deliver cargo on time and within a safe environment. The course will provide students with all the necessary skills, knowledge, and qualifications to carry out port operative duties safely and competently whilst being trained by industry-leading instructors working at UKSA.

In conjunction with the launch, UKSA is looking for interested port operators and employers to get in touch with the aim to forge partnerships for the apprenticeship programme to offer students Government funded work placements.

Starting August 2022, apprentices will undertake initial training at UKSA’s all-inclusive four-acre waterside academy in Cowes, before embarking on 12 months of work-related training. Following this, apprentices will be ready to carry out port operative duties and work on board any type and size of moored or anchored vessel in a port.

Ben Willows, CEO of UKSA said: “Adding the Port Operative Apprenticeship alongside UKSA’s current Workboat Apprenticeship Programme further cements our commitment to providing training pathways that create exciting and more crucially, long-term maritime careers opportunities. It’s a fantastic opportunity for young people to take advantage of with the aim of securing them gainful employment with one of the many fantastic operators we have in the port sector.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to urge any local port operators and businesses to get in touch if they would like to partner with us for the apprenticeship programme to provide vital work placements as part of the course.”

During the course, apprentices will gain qualifications in RYA Powerboat Level 2, a certificate in RYA Marine Radio Short Range and Elementary First Aid. The skills achieved during the training include control vehicle movements, hazards, types of plant and equipment, different types of port operation and UK handled cargo, the importance of commercial principles and how to work safely and professionally. UKSA also has the flexibility on this programme to add on other training modules including STCW dependent on the employers’ specific requirements to make the training a bespoke experience.

Apprentices must be aged 18 and over to attend the course but require no previous experience. Apprentices without a level 1 English and Maths must achieve this and take the test for level 2 prior to taking their end-point assessment.

Published in Maritime Training
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One of the theories examined when Ever Given's huge container ship lost control of its steerage and blocked the Suez Canal was whether a cyberattack had disrupted its navigational systems. That had not happened, but the disruption to global trade which was caused has focused increasing attention on the protection of maritime infrastructure against cyberattacks, and the International Maritime Organisation has issued a warning about them.

Kerry-based offshore sailor, lifeboat volunteer, and sea angler Kieran Caulfield is Enterprise Director at the Irish cyber security company, Renaissance. According to him, the threat is very real.

He is my Podcast guest this week and says the developing Irish offshore energy sector, as well as shipping, port operations, fishing vessels, safety and navigation systems, could be targets.

Podcast here

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Danish designers have urged Irish ports and local authorities to avail of public waterfronts to tackle the housing crisis.

As The Times Ireland reports, Danish company Urban Rigger, which used Lego principles to convert containers into floating homes, says that the ports of Cork, Dublin and Belfast would be well suited.

Using available port quay space takes the cost of land out of the equation at a time when its cost is spiralling all over the world, the company’s chief executive Lars Funding says.

The model of “upcycling” containers for homes is both “sustainable” and involves predictable construction costs, Funding claims.

Urban Rigger was designed by the world-famous architect Bjarke Ingels, who created his floating student village of 72 apartments in the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

The riggers draw on surrounding seawater serves as a natural source for heat with the help of low energy pumps; while solar panels work as a clean source of fuel to run electricity; Funding explains.

Danish company Urban Rigger uses Lego principles to convert containers into floating homesDanish company Urban Rigger uses Lego principles to convert containers into floating homes

“We would prefer to work directly with municipalities on lease arrangements which could run for 20 years, and we team up with local developers who want to invest in something which gives a very stable income return,” Funding said.

“There is waterfront available in both Cork and Dublin ports, and we are also targeting the US and Canada, while we also have a project in India,” he said.

Cork port’s deep water development at Ringaskiddy opens up city quay areas for this type of accommodation, he says. 

However, TU Dublin senior lecturer in housing Dr Lorcan Sirr said that while there was always “room for creative housing ideas”, the scale of the Danish idea meant it was more of a “niche solution”.

“Banks may not want to lend for something that is not tied to the ground, and any such developments would have to have access to transport and education,” Sirr said.

“If you take Cork as an example, there are over 4,000 empty houses in Cork city and there is also vacant space above shops which is lying empty because owners can claim 50 per cent of rates back,” Sirr said.

Sirr cited a study by University College Cork’s (UCC) Centre for Planning Education and Research on the potential of city centre living in its historic quarter.

Read The Times here 

Published in Ports & Shipping
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In Q2 2021, Roll/on – Roll/off (or RoRo): RoRo volumes through ports in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) were consistent with those in Q2 2019 (1). Between April and June, 291,437 RoRo units were handled at Dublin, Cork and Rosslare Europort, just 0.2% less than the same period in 2019. However, the configuration of RoRo traffic in terms of route choice and shipping mode has been significantly altered compared to 2019.

The following is a summary of the most pronounced trends that have emerged in the RoRo freight market:

71% of all ROI RoRo traffic is now unaccompanied, compared to 63% in Q2 2019.

One third of all RoRo traffic in the Republic of Ireland now operates on direct routes to ports in the European Union, twice the share held in Q2 2019. In the first 6 months of 2021, ROI – EU traffic is just 7% below its annual total for all of 2020, and Q2 2021 was the busiest on record for these direct routes.

In terms of capacity, Irish importers and exporters have benefitted from a significant increase in the choice of direct EU services in 2021. After responding to a surge in ‘direct demand’, there are now 12 different direct EU RoRo services available to Irish traders, compared to 5 in 2019 (2).

ROI – GB RoRo traffic has declined significantly since January 2021. Volumes in Q1 2021 were distorted by a pre-Brexit stockpile, combined with strict COVID-19 restrictions in January and February. Q2 2021, therefore, provides a more reliable insight into current volumes on ROI – GB routes. In Q2 2021, ROI – GB volumes fell by 20% compared to Q2 2019. For the first 6 months of the year, GB traffic declined by 29% compared to 2019. ROI – GB traffic now accounts 67% of ROI volumes, compared to 84% two years ago.

In Northern Ireland (NI), RoRo traffic in Q2 2021 was the busiest on record, with traffic rising by 11% when compared Q2 2019. Of the three Northern Ireland RoRo ports, Belfast and Warrenpoint both recorded their busiest ever three-month period, with Larne also recording robust growth.

Underpinning all of these trends are the new customs and trading arrangements between Ireland and the UK that came into force on January 1st 2021 after Great Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. Brexit has had a significant effect on RoRo traffic on the island of Ireland. The most prominent impact has been on the use of the UK Landbridge, a term used to describe a route to market that connects Irish importers and exporters to international markets via the UK road and ports network. Demand for the Landbridge has fallen considerably, and this has driven the simultaneous decline in ROI – GB traffic and increase in direct ROI – EU traffic.

In addition to the Landbridge issue, some RoRo traffic has also been ‘transferred’ away from ROI - GB routes and towards NI – GB routes. RoRo services at ROI ports have historically been utilised by many NI hauliers wishing to access markets in the midlands and southeast of England. From early 2021, it was clear that haulage companies based in Northern Ireland had transferred some traffic away from RoRo services in ROI in order to avoid the new customs requirements involved between Ireland and UK ports.

The new Ship to Shore gantry cranes operating at the Port of Cork in RingaskiddyThe new Ship to Shore gantry cranes operating at the Port of Cork in Ringaskiddy Photo: Bob Bateman

Lift/on – Lift/off (LoLo):

LoLo volumes through ROI ports set a record in Q2 2021, surpassing 300,000 TEUs for the first time. Since the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland, LoLo traffic has average 5% growth each quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis. Beginning in late 2020, LoLo traffic has returned to volumes that have not been recorded since before the financial crash in 2008.

The vast majority of LoLo services on the island of Ireland are direct to continental EU ports. As a result, many of the factors that have driven a surge in ROI – EU RoRo traffic are applicable to the Irish LoLo market. LoLo volumes have benefitted greatly from the demand from Irish importers and exports to access EU markets directly, without the need to adhere to customs requirements at UK ports since Brexit.

In Q2 2021, LoLo volumes grew by 10% when compared to Q2 2019. Overall, in the last nine months, the substitutability between accompanied RoRo, unaccompanied RoRo and LoLo services has become more pronounced, with increased competition and dynamic capacity evident in each market.


As highlighted in the IMDO’s Q1 report, no Irish maritime market segment has been more severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying restrictions than the market for passengers. Tourism / passenger numbers in the Republic of Ireland increased by 43% in Q2 2021 when compared to Q2 2020, a period that encompassed the first wave of travel restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. When compared to Q2 2019, passenger numbers declined by 87%.

In Northern Ireland, passenger numbers rose significantly this quarter. This was driven predominantly by the easing of restrictions on intra-UK travel when compared to Q2 2020. NI passenger numbers rose by 320% when compared to Q2 2020, and declined by 30% when compared to Q2 2019.

Brittany Ferries departs Cork HarbourBrittany Ferries departs Cork Harbour

(1) As Q2 2020 encompassed the steepest decline in port traffic as a result of COVID-19 economic restrictions, it represents an uncharacteristically low volume of RoRo traffic for Irish ports. 2019 is a more reliable benchmark as it represents the highest annual volume of RoRo traffic recorded through ROI ports.

(2) The RoRo market for both EU and GB services remains extremely competitive and dynamic. As a result, capacity, route choice and frequency have changed frequently as shipping operators adapt to new demand patterns. ­

Published in Ports & Shipping
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Ports and “port cities” from Cork to Dublin to Europe and beyond will play an influential role in redesigning urban centres.

That’s the view of the European University of Post-Industrial Cities (UNIC) alliance, involving University College Cork (UCC) and seven other universities.

UCC’s Civic and Community Engagement is hosting a UNIC CityLabs conference on the issue today (Thurs, June 11) as part of Cork Harbour Festival.

Participants will include Associate professor Amanda Brandellero, Erasmus University Rotterdam School of History, Culture and Communication and member of the 'Port City Futures' group in the Netherlands; Lar Joye, Port Heritage Director, Dublin Port Company; Conor Mowlds, Chief Commercial Officer, Port of Cork Company; and Feargal Reidy Director of Strategic and Economic Development, Cork City Council.

The discussion, which will be chaired by journalist Lorna Siggins, will open with music by UCC Quercus scholar, student and harpist Síofra Thornton.

The online event will be hosted on Zoom.

Register for free here


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