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Dublin Port Event

On the evening of Thursday 4th June 2015, A group of over 40 of CILT members made a visit to Dublin Port. We were introduced and welcomed by the ports CEO Mr Eamonn O’Reilly, who briefed us on the ports history, its development over hundreds of years, the Dublin Port Masterplan process and a briefing on The Ports Future. The event concluded with a Dublin Port Coach Tour, where Eamonn further outlined a number of points covered in the briefing.

A number of interesting topics were covered in a questions and answer session and those who attended had a number of questions for Dublin Port. They were happy to give answers which were constructive Dublin Port is now in an advanced stage in its future development, very important that this is so, because demands on the port have never been stronger. Over 31 million tonnes of cargo will be handled this year through Dublin Port. Extra sailings have been added, Irish Ferries with Epsilon sailings to/from Holyhead, Wales and Cherbourg, France. Stena Line now have better quality and enhanced passenger capacity upon the replacement of Stena Nordica on the Holyhead route with Stena Superfast X.

That is not all, CldN roro S.A better known to some as Cobelfret, have added more direct ConRo capacity and frequency to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge. Dublin City is also benefiting from Dublin’s most successful year ever for cruise ships, where in 2015 massive ships such as Royal Princess, MSC Splendida and Celebrity Silhouette, have made their maiden calls to Dublin Port. As these ships all over 300 meters long, the current design of Dublin Port does not allow turning to takes place within the tight confines of the Port, they must turn in Dublin Bay and reverse into Dublin Port.

The first ship to perform this manoeuvre was MSC Splendida in May 2015, its really pushed to boundaries, as the ships bridge crew of this and other vessels required specialist training and some time in an simulator with close cooperation of the Dublin Port Companies Harbour Master and Pilots and the National Maritime College in Cork.

The port is back to peak 2007 levels of demand and growth is expected to continue with the economic recovery Ireland is currently experiencing. This creates a problem for the Port and that is how to deal with capacity shortages going forward.

In 2010 the Dublin Port Company were rejected permission for the Gateway project, which would have reclaimed 35 hectares of land to expand the port. This was a hard blow for the Port Company, how would it be able to deal with demands placed on it after the recession?

The answer was the 2011 Masterplan process, it had a number of objectives, firstly to engage with the people of Dublin first and foremost. Dublin is a port city yet the port seen that its engagement with the community outside the local hinterland could have been better. Then to acknowledge that the port had an capacity issue and that something needed to be done about it, so to engage with the many stakeholders from operators, government  organisations, members of the public and port users such as CILT membership. A plan was then developed and launched in 2012, leading to a planning application being made as an important piece of infrastructure in 2013.

As part of the Masterplan process, it was found that the public did not wish the Port to overly expand through land reclamation, but to find other means of making the port and its space more efficient and effective. The port made incentives available to promote efficient and relevant use of valuable port lands and discouraged use of land for uses which could be done better and more efficiently elsewhere. Examples of this was the closure of a number of facilities which were poorly utilised. The port decided on an alternative strategy of making best use of what they had, and to reconfigure the port into the most efficient possible arrangement in order to get the most out of the current layout.

The port had some issues to consider carefully however, that was trends for larger ships such as Car Ferries over 240 meters in length. Cruise Line demands for a cruise ship terminal and capability to faciliate ships over 350 meters easily to as close to the city centre as possible, re design of oil storage facilities at the port. Improving links to/from the port and the city, through softening the barrier between the docks, the docklands and the city centre by transportation, engagement events and removing the barriers, facilitating connection to the port.

In June 2015, the Dublin Port Company received permission for the first significant stage to redevelop the Alexandra basin and will facilitate the construction of the Cruise Ship berth, a Cultural Centre, New Cargo Berths and Port Land Reconfiguration. This is important news for Dublin Port, Now You The Reader!!! The Logistics Industry and Ireland Inc.

One message was clear from port management, that was room for inefficiency no longer exists in the logistics industry. If you’re not efficient, that will be born in your competitiveness and ability to succeed. The port is actively focusing its attention now in moving on unproductive tenants out of the Dublin Port estate to elsewhere outside the city. This will change the way business is done, companies need to adapt to change and be agile and responsive to changes in the marketplace to survive and develop.

Hopefully as the Masterplan Project and the ABR Project enters advanced stages of construction. CILT will be in a position to re visit the port in order to see at first hand the next phase of Dublin Port’s story. I would like to thank on behalf of CILT Ireland, Mr Eamonn O’Reilly CEO, Dublin Port Company and Mr Charlie Murphy, Communications Manager, Dublin Port Company for their valuable time and invitation.

If members would like to learn more about the ports future plans they can visit, where details of projects and the ports master plan can be viewed.

Richard Butler CMILT


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