Dáil Éireann - Volume 597 - 08 February, 2005

Written Answers - Port Development.

  103. Mr. Gogarty asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the discussions he has undertaken with the Department of Transport on the ability of Dublin roads to take the further traffic that will result due to the predicted future growth in traffic into Dublin Port, in view of the recent EIS for the widened M50 motorway which shows that the road will be heavily congested from the moment of its reopening; and the implications for the rail freight services which are provided at Dublin Port. [3680/05]

  Mr. Gallagher: Primary responsibility for road and rail infrastructure rests with my colleague, the Minister for Transport.

In 2002, the new Department of Transport was established. While ports remained under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, the Department works closely with the Department of Transport on matters relating to transport policy, particularly those issues which have a direct or indirect effect on port services. To ensure balanced regional development, the programme for Government accorded full recognition to the importance of competitive access maritime transport. In particular, the Government committed to ensuring that our ports are equipped for the demands of our growing economy through investment and [385] development of seamless transport systems between all modes. This has been demonstrated, for example, by the Government investment in projects such as the Dublin Port tunnel and the Shannon Foynes access road.

The Government’s ports policy statement was launched on 6 January 2005. It is available to view on the Department’s website. The policy aims to better equip the port sector and its stakeholders to meet national and regional capacity and service needs. The policy statement highlights, inter alia, the substantial role of the commercial ports as part of the overall transport network and their reliance on landside transport connectivity. While recognising the close links that already exist, the policy statement commits to the necessity of intensifying co-ordination between the two Departments concerned to ensure effective integration of transport policy across all modes.

One of the key challenges ahead is the timely provision of adequate in-time port capacity. The internal resources of our commercial ports are not sufficient in general to fund large scale infrastructure projects. This is a significant challenge in view of the need for additional capacity at our ports over the coming years, particularly to cater for the growth in unitised trade. The Department is initially consulting with the commercial ports concerned to determine their view of port capacity and how they intend to deal with the projected capacity requirement.

The Department is interested in key projects identified by the commercial ports as essential to deal with anticipated capacity deficiencies to 2014 and beyond. The Department will co-ordinate with the Department of Transport in evaluating such projects to ensure that an integrated transport policy approach is adopted.

Finally, one of the three lift-on, lift-off container terminals at Dublin Port, operated by Dublin Ferryport Terminals, is rail connected. Details of services provided are available from Dublin Port Company.

Question No. 104 answered with Question No. 81.