By Geoff Percival
The Dublin Port Company has said it will be fully prepared for a hard, or ‘no deal’, Brexit by next March to guard the country’s main port from the effects of the UK crashing out of the EU without any agreed trade deal in place.
New figures show continued strong growth at Dublin Port this year, with total throughput — in terms of cargo volumes — up 4.7% on a year-on-year basis in the first nine months to 28.4 million gross tonnes.
However, while total passenger numbers rose 3.3%, there was a 0.6% drop in ferry passengers and a 1.5% decline in tourist vehicles — attributed to harsh weather conditions and lower numbers of UK visitors on the back of a Brexit-triggered volatility in sterling rates.
Cargo volumes have now grown 36% in six years and the Dublin Port Company said it needs to accelerate its capital investment plan to boost port capacity as growth is already outstripping its long-term ‘masterplan’ growth rate.
“Our preparations are closely co-ordinated with the various State agencies who will have to carry out inspections on UK freight once Brexit happens. Having come through the worst of recessions from 2008, our volumes are already 23% higher than they were in 2007. In the timescale of port infrastructure projects, we need to press ahead with our infrastructure projects notwithstanding the uncertainties of Brexit,” Mr O’Reilly said.