Brexit impact is now reshaping Dublin Port permanently as traffic patterns shift
The port will reach its maximum capacity of 77 million tonnes throughput per annum by 2040
Brexit has accelerated the pace of change at Dublin Port, Cormac Kennedy, Head of Property at Dublin Port Company told me as he showed me around the new “Inland Port” on the M50/M2 junction, near Dublin airport.
Prior to Brexit, a masterplan strategy was already under way to free up land within the main port, by encouraging non-core uses, particularly container storage, to locate at the inland site.
Brexit, however, has changed the pattern of operations and whereas two thirds of Irish business was with the UK, and the other third with mainland Europe, that balance has already shifted to 52pc with the UK.
The impact for the port is that whilst UK cargo is significantly “driver accompanied” and is driven out of the port on arrival, most European traffic is unaccompanied “load on/load off” where containers are left on the quayside for longer and devour valuable yard space.
Phase 1 of the 43 hectare (106 acre) ”Dublin Inland Port,” opened this year. The first letting was to Dublin Ferryport Terminals who occupy 5.5 ha who store, refurbish and transport empty containers for logistics customers.
Mr Kennedy told me that this facility is so busy that the Port Company is releasing a further 3.2 hectares of yard space to lease to an existing port container operator. Yard space is quoted at approximately €50,000 per acre a year and Lisney is inviting proposals by the 8th of July.
Land at the “Dublin Inland Port” will be released in phases, with plots made available for both empty containers, “laden containers”, and hauliers yards, transparently designed to tempt existing port occupiers to move to the suburban site.
To better manage throughput at the main port, the company intends to reduce the number of free days a container can remain in the port, from the current four days, to three next year, and two the following year.
The company also intends to develop facilities for “laden containers” at the inland port and to encourage hauliers to deposit laden containers there during their off-peak weekend or night times, for onward transport later.
At the main port, the port company is continuing to develop in line with its Masterplan 2040. “The port will reach its maximum capacity of 77 million tonnes throughput per annum by 2040,” Mr Kennedy told me, “and servicing that will require maximising the capacity of the port.”
There are three pillars to the redevelopment strategy; the first is the ongoing Alexandra Basin Redevelopment, which includes dredging the main channel to a depth of ten metres to accommodate larger ships, and the building of new berths and jetties.
Dublin Port imports approximately one third of Ireland’s energy needs and in anticipation of reducing imports of oil, one of four existing oil berths will be infilled, which together with a new berth, will further boost capacity. Planning permission has been secured for the MP2 Project which will see phased development works in the north-eastern part of the port, starting next year.
Thirdly, the 3FM Project in the south port, for which planning permission will be sought in 2023, includes a new freight access route over the Liffey, new container terminals, public parks and “active travel routes”.
Mr Kennedy concludes by saying that, driven mostly by population growth, a second, freight led port will be needed on the east coast post-2040. Dublin Port Company has published its thinking on this at dublinportpost2040dialogue.ie