City proposed as ‘hub’ for offshore fuel exploration

The Port of Waterford has been proposed as a hub for oil and gas companies engaged in exploration in the Celtic Sea.

The Port of Waterford has been proposed as a hub for oil and gas companies engaged in exploration in the Celtic Sea.

The Port of Waterford has been proposed as a hub for oil and gas companies engaged in exploration in the Celtic Sea and management are currently working closely with Waterford Airport to attract companies to the region, The Munster Express has learned.

In a review of the Port’s 2014 performance, a spokesperson confirmed that this is just one of several new opportunities for growth currently being investigated, with several oil and gas companies identified as potential partners.

A 30 per cent growth in agricultural commodity traffic has been reported at the Port over the last two years and two additional sites at Belview are earmarked for further development in the coming months, contributing to an overall positive outlook at Belview for 2015.

“We remain very aggressive in pursuing new business and that approach has borne fruit in the diversity of customers we now have,” the spokesperson continued.

“If Ireland’s economic recovery continues and the country achieves sustainable economic growth then this will obviously be a real boost to the Port as our import and export business very much reflects activity in the economy.

“The development of a wider base of activity in the surrounding area to Belview – especially with the huge Glanbia investment – reflects the Port’s considerable economic impact.”

The bulk terminal at Belview has benefited from farms in the southeast increasing their consumption of animal feed and fertilisers, with cattle herds reportedly growing in anticipation of the imminent CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) reform and the Irish dairy industry increasing its milk processing capacity to satisfy global demand for dairy products.

New storage sheds and warehousing have been constructed at Belview to help cope with this additional bulk agricultural traffic, with a total of 156,000 square feet of warehousing coming on stream in 2015.

Throughout 2014, Belview also continued to be used to import wind turbines for the renewable energy sector and break bulk cargoes – particularly steel imports – continued to grow, reflecting a return to growth in the construction sector. There has also been recent investment by port operators in plant to handle refuse derived fuels (RDF).

This year will see the arrival in Waterford of 17 cruise vessels with over 12,000 passengers on board, with four due to dock at the heart of Ireland’s oldest city, with the ‘Celebrity Silhouette’ due to make her maiden call to Waterford.

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