THE Port of Cork is preparing to resubmit a planning application for a scaled-down container terminal in Ringaskiddy which the company hopes will be fully operational by 2020.
Port of Cork officials say they hope to submit the planning application under the Strategic Infrastructure Act, which means the decision will be made by Bord Pleanála, rather than Cork County Council.
Port officials have already started pre-planning consultations with Bord Pleanála and are also talking with various interest groups around the harbour in the hope of ironing out any problems in advance of submitting the application.
The new plan is significantly scaled back from one which was rejected two years ago by the appeals body.
That plan focussed on building a €220 million container terminal at the Oysterbank in Ringaskiddy.
Now the port authority is planning to develop the container point in Ringaskiddy on the eastern and western sides of the basin.
It will be only half the size of the original plan and will involve substantially less land reclamation than would have been needed to develop the Oysterbank site.
On the eastern side of the basin the Port of Cork wants to develop around 500 metres of berthage over four phases.
On the western side it plans to extend the existing deep water quay by 180m.
It is envisaged that the entire project will cost in the region of €100m.
The main reasons Bord Pleanála rejected the Oysterbank proposal were over concerns that the Cork-Ringaskiddy (N28) road and the Jack Lynch Tunnel would not be able to cope with the large numbers of HGVs which would emanate from the cargo handling facilities.
Port officials are hoping the NRA’s plans to upgrade the Jack Lynch Tunnel/Dunkettle roundabout interchanges will alleviate such problems, and point out that as the proposed development is on a phased basis it will increase HGV traffic by much smaller degrees.
It is expected that the NRA will announce its preferred options for the upgrade of the junctions within the next two months.
The Port of Cork is likely to submit its formal planning application to Bord Pleanála by next summer.
A decision would be expected from the planning appeals board by the spring of 2013 and, if it is positive, construction is likely to start in 2015.
The speed of development of the proposed cargo handling at Ringaskiddy will, according to port officials, depend primarily on market needs.
Once the Ringaskiddy project is fully complete then the Port of Cork can close down its operations on the city quay and Tivoli container terminal.
And that’s likely to happen some time between 2030-2035.
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