Waterford and Rosslare ports can “counterbalance” Dublin

Dermot Keyes Reports

Management at the Port of Waterford and Rosslare Europort believe both ports can become ‘valuable counterpoints’ to reduce congestion in the Dublin area while also supporting a ‘robust and pragmatic’ response to Brexit.
The ports have made a joint submission to the South East Chambers of Commerce’s final submission to the National Planning Framework (NPF – ‘Ireland 2040 – Our Plan’) which is set to guide planning over the next 20 years.

“The south east ports together provide a full range of services to the South-East region and beyond. Rosslare Europort and Waterford (Belview) are Tier 2 Ports of National Significance and are Comprehensive Ports on the Ten-T network,” they state in their submission. “The ports have Ro-Ro, Lo-Lo, bulk and passenger services/facilities with excellent road/rail connectivity and direct links to the UK and the continent. These ports have some areas of under-utilised capacity and significant scope for the expansion of freight services.”
The report adds: “In the context of some of the challenges posed by Brexit, the South East can offer a platform for solutions that bypass the UK land bridge with little or no upfront investment.
“Similarly, the opportunity is there to reduce freight road miles and related CO2 emissions while taking some pressure off of Dublin’s road and port infrastructure. We submit that the south east ports have a very significant role to play in the economic development of the south east and that this role is equivalent to that performed by the Tier 1 Ports (Dublin, Cork and Shannon Foynes) for their respective regions.”
According to Port of Waterford Chief Executive Frank Ronan: “We are committed to continuing to be proactive in supporting economic development in Ireland. Exports and imports are the lifeblood of our economy and it is vital that we plan and invest now to future-proof our ports and ensure that our island economy can continue to perform strongly. The National Planning Framework will be hugely important in how Ireland grows to 2040 and the southeast ports have a vital role to play.”

His colleague at Rosslare Europort, General Manager Glenn Carr, stated: “Rosslare Europort is a strategic asset to both the southeast regional and national economies. National Planning Framework policy support should be given to improved connectivity to the port and to maximising the post-Brexit role and capacity of the port.”
In the Port of Waterford’s 2016-2020 Business Plan, Frank Ronan described Belview as “a vital changeover point and a fundamentally important facilitator of economic development. The Port of Waterford delivers on these fronts every day and has the potential to do even more..
“We are deeply conscious of our responsibility to provide proper infrastructure and services to enable trade and bring economic prosperity in the Region. We believe that with a considered and structured plan we can deliver on this responsibility.”

The 2016-2020 Report commits the Port to “take a leading role into the promotion and management of cruise (vessel activity) into Waterford Harbour and we are particularly conscious of the wider benefits to the Region, in particular to the tourism and hospitality sector in the South East. We are promoting a process to ascertain the potential for cruise development in the South East, clarify the benefits and make recommendations for investment and funding.”

The Port’s five-year plan envisages a 50 per cent-plus increase of container throughput from 42 in 2016 through to 90 in 2020. It also noted its commitment to “developing returns” from its car parks on Waterford’s Quays. “This income helps to defray a significant portion of dredging and pension costs.”
The Port also believes it can drive fresh activity through new rail opportunities, the landbank at its disposal, while capitalising on its “out of town, uncongested and well connected” location.

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