Dáil Éireann - Volume 526 - 28 November, 2000
Written Answers. - Dublin Port.
Mr. Haughey Mr. Haughey
134. Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if he will give details of his recent announcement regarding measures to reduce congestion at Dublin Port; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27385/00]
Mr. Fahey Mr. Fahey
Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): In the course of my response to a question on 17 October 2000 last, I advised the House of the need to do everything possible to reduce congestion at Dublin Port and the gridlock experienced by traffic movements to and from the port and its environs.
Dublin Port is and will continue to be the premier port in the country. Throughput has risen from 6.1 million tonnes in 1989 to 15.2 million in 1999 and is forecast to reach 23.7 million tonnes by 2007. It handles by far the largest proportion of the country's unitised freight – some 71% – and has a high prospective growth over the coming seven years.
As I have pointed out in a number of public fora, until the port tunnel is completed and open for business in 2004, Dublin Port will have difficulty in managing its traffic throughput. The port's own road network is to a high standard with more than adequate capacity. However, because of severe congestion in the vicinity of the port caused, to a large extent by heavy commuter traffic, port traffic is severely disrupted and delayed as it seeks to enter and leave the port. All traffic currently accesses the port through the city streets, most of it along the quays and the East Wall Road. The Dublin port tunnel will provide a direct link from the port to the M1/M50. However, in the meantime all port traffic will have to continue to access the national road network via the city's streets.
It is a fact that the financial power and underlying strength of the larger ports – Dublin and Cork in particular – has already led to a concentration of volumes in these ports. An expert EU co-financed assessment of port access requirements nationally concludes that “Dublin will increasingly face capacity constraints over the next ten years. Over the period to 2006, immediate capacity constraints will be felt in the unitised modes and ongoing expansion of facilities will be a priority. If land for expansion is unavailable, the port will have to concentrate its developments on increasing the utilisation of existing land and facilities and possibly forgoing existing lower value trades which are space intensive”.
Diversion of traffic to other ports including other east coast ports must be among the alterna tives considered in order to avoid the creation of bottlenecks limiting the flow of imports and exports so vital to the sustained growth of the economy.
It is my policy to encourage shipping operators and the ports industry in general to maximise utilisation of capacity outside of Dublin and enhance competitiveness. In order to strengthen the contribution of east coast ports I have decided that both Dundalk and Wicklow will shortly become commercial State port companies joining Dublin and Drogheda. Together with Rosslare and Greenore this will strengthen the capacity of the east coast ports industry in servicing the central and southern shipping corridors.
I welcome the joint venture between Drogheda Port Company and Norfolkline Containers-Geest Ireland Limited opening up a new weekly shipping service to Rotterdam last month with proposals to upgrade the service to bi-weekly by next February. It is estimated that some 400,000 tonnes of commercial freight will be shipped through the new route in its first years operation. This will help to reduce the pressure on Dublin Port and I am encouraging other port companies to follow this lead.
Dáil Éireann 526 Written Answers. Dublin Port.