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Dublin Port says Further Expansion Will Not Require More Infilling of Dublin Bay
End of A Process Which Commenced in the 18th Century

Report by Tom MacSweeney

DUBLIN PORT has ruled out future expansion of the port which would affect Dublin Bay. In a review of its Masterplan devised to manage the future of the port until 2040 and to meet an expected growth rate of 3.8% annually it says that capacity to cope with this can be managed without further infill into Dublin Bay and that the option of expanding eastwards into the bay has been ruled out.

Dublin Port cargo volumes increased by 5.2% in the first half of the year and the port will now be developed, based on an average annual growth rate of 3.3% from 2010 to 2040 rather than the 2.5% originally proposed in 2012. The capacity of the port will be increased to cater for a growth to an ultimate capacity of 77m. gross tonnes by 2040 rather than the 60m. gross tonnes as originally proposed in 2012.

“This will be accomplished with no further infill into Dublin Bay. The option of increasing port capacity by an eastwards expansion into Dublin Bay has been definitively ruled out,” the company said in an announcement that the plan had been reviewed. “Where the Masterplan 2012-2040 had envisaged deepening the port ultimately to 12 metres, this will not now happen and the current works to deepen the port to 10 metres will be the final deepening of Dublin Port.

“This is the end of a process which commenced in the 18th Century with the completion of the Great South Wall.”

Achieving a higher throughput on a smaller footprint than originally envisaged is being made possible by two initiatives:

Development of the 44-hectare Dublin Inland Port located 14 km from Dublin Port just off the N2.

Work has commenced on the development of Dublin Inland Port and the first facilities are due to be operational there during 2019.

The specification of projects to maximise the use of port lands on the Poolbeg Peninsula based on enhanced access via a new Southern Port Access Route.

Dublin Port Chief Executive Eamonn O’Reilly said the company will “continue to work to achieve a re-integration of the Port with the City.”

Construction will start next year on a 4km greenway for pedestrians and cyclists on the northern fringe of the port overlooking the Tolka Estuary. “Work is continuing on the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment Project and on other projects with an investment of €132m in port infrastructure this year.

Dublin Port trade figures for the first half of 2018 show growth of 5.2% with increases in both imports and exports. Volumes for the full year are expected to pass the one million units mark for the first time. Tourism volumes grew by 2.7% with ferry passenger numbers up to almost 800,000 in the first six months of the year. There have been 64 cruise calls so far this year compared to 50 last year.

“We have not allowed BREXIT and all its uncertainties to diminish our focus on the long-term plans for the development of Dublin Port,” said O’Reilly. “At this level, by the end of 2018 we will have seen growth of 37% in just six years. This is significantly higher than our Masterplan planning growth rate of 3.3% and highlights the need for us to build additional port capacity at a faster rate. Where we had been planning to invest €600m. in the decade to 2027, we now know we need to spend €1,000m. to continue to provide capacity.”

The new Lord Mayor of Dublin and Honorary Admiral of Dublin Port, Nial Ring, took to the waters of Dublin Bay to take part in the annual ‘Casting of the Spear’ ceremony. The ‘Casting of the Spear’ is a tradition dating back 530 years and the first official duty for Lord Mayor Nial Ring as Honorary Admiral of Dublin Port at his investiture from Dublin Port Chairperson Lucy McCaffrey. The title of Honorary Admiral of Dublin Port has been bestowed on the Lord Mayor of Dublin for over 20 years. Pictured was Lord Mayor of Dublin and Honorary Admiral of Dublin Port, Nial Ring with Dolores Wilson, chairperson of St Andrew’s Resource Centre South Docks Festival, and Betty Ashe of St Andrew’s Resource Centre, Lucy McCaffrey, Chairperson Dublin Port Company and Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company. Picture Conor McCabe Photography