Cork’s Docklands can become a “world-class” international shipping cluster with thousands of new jobs if ambitious plans to bring the proposed International Shipping Services Centre (ISSC) to Leeside are realised.
The brainchild of Cormac Megannety, a consultant at the Irish arm of Fortune 500 real estate firm CBRE, the ISSC had been mooted for Dublin in the past five years.
Mr Megannety’s vision for Dublin suggested a shipping-related business in a cluster of integrated office buildings in Dublin city centre and Docklands area, with the potential for 3,500 jobs and millions in foreign direct investment.
The Dublin proposal is believed is have stalled in recent times and Cork stakeholders have stepped in to pitch Cork’s Docklands as a viable alternative.
Meetings regarding Cork as the preferred ISSC destination have been attended in recent weeks by business people from across the construction, financial, and maritime sector.
Mr Megannety, the Irish Maritime Development Organisation, and IDA Ireland attended a briefing at the Port of Cork where the proposal was explored.
Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and Agriculture and Marine Minister Michael Creed have signalled their support.
Port of Cork commercial manager Michael McCarthy said he believes the ISSC was a “natural fit for Cork City and harbour” because of its “state-of-the-art facilities”.
“ISSC is a concept proposal to create a world first and world-class cluster of international shipping orientated companies centred in Cork Docklands. It is also a major urban regeneration scheme led by a group of individual and well-established property developers who will provide appropriate commercial, residential, and cultural amenities within the ISSC.”
He said the resources of the Port of Cork, Cork City Council, Cork Chamber, and other stakeholders could be pooled “for the combined benefit of the city of Cork” to make the proposal a reality.
“The ISSC Cork can be viewed as the most important urban regeneration initiative in the State and an unrivalled opportunity to present Cork Docklands as a viable IT-driven home for a wide range of shipping-orientated companies and their staff in a comfortable, state-of-the-art, 21st century, work-link-play environment.”
Mr McCarthy said the cluster could assist in regenerating the Docklands, currently the subject of a €1bn plan by city planners.
“The ISSC concept can harness a number of resources to help regenerate an entire city quarter and Docklands of Cork for the benefit of the city, its development community, as well as its current and future population,” he said.
“It aspires to be an all-inclusive project, embracing commercial, residential, and cultural projects together, aimed at uplifting an entire city centre with wider impacts on our national economy. This is Cork’s hour.”
Ireland’s marine economy is outperforming the general economy, according to the latest Ocean Economy Report by the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit of NUI Galway, with shipping and maritime transport playing a key role in driving growth.
In 2016, Ireland’s marine economy had a turnover of €5.7bn, more than a third of which was attributable to the shipping and maritime transport sector.
The report said the direct economic value of Ireland’s marine economy was €1.8bn in 2016, almost 1% of GDP, which represents an increase of 20% on 2014
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