The Port of Cork has unveiled computer-generated simulations of plans for a €100m upgrade of its facilities in Ringaskiddy.
If given the green light by An Bord Pleanála, the plan will enable the Port to nearly double its container throughput by 2033.
The plans were unveiled yesterday, ahead of three days of public consultations, which will be held later this week.
Phase one of the development will be concentrated on Ringaskiddy East, where the port intends to build a container and roll-on/ roll-off terminal by creating an additional 200m-long berth. It also plans a container yard and marshalling area there.
This phase will cost in the region of €80m.
At Ringaskiddy West, the plan is to extend the existing deepwater quay by 180m and carry out dredging works to enable vessels to get to it.
Meanwhile, the port authorities want to develop a new public slipway and amenity area at Paddy’s Point, close to the Irish Maritime Energy Resource Cluster.
Improvements are also proposed for the road entrance to the deepwater quay and its internal roads.
The port is hoping to finance some of the project through EU grants.
A couple of years ago, the port authorities were refused permission by An Bord Pleanála to proceed with a similar project, primarily because the existing N28 (Cork to Ringaskiddy road) and Jack Lynch Tunnel/ Dunkettle interchange were deemed unable to take the extra HGV traffic that such a development would generate.
However, Denis Healy, the port’s managing engineer, said “all the signs were good” that upgrading of the N28 and tunnel interchange would go ahead in the next couple of years and that was why the Port of Cork was finalising its plans now.
They will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála in April.
Port officials say they have been buoyed by recent comments from ministers about the need for such a project, which included an endorsement in National Ports Policy, which highlighted Cork as a tier-one port of national significance.
Mr Healy claimed the economic downturn had reduced traffic on the N28, which had lead to further capacity.
However, the port will have to convince locals that it can “manage” additional traffic effectively if it proceeds with parts of the project before the N28 is upgraded.
Mr Healy said he envisaged the port’s Ringaskiddy West plan would be operational by early 2018, adding it was hoped the NRA would start work on the N28 upgrade the year before. The extension of the deepwater berth in Ringaskiddy West would not become operational until post 2020.
Brendan Keating, Port of Cork chief executive, said it was vital the port expanded its facilities to ensure that it could handle cargoes effectively and efficiently for its customers in the region.
Mr Healy said there would be a gradual move away from bringing containers into Tivoli, especially because larger ships are being constructed which would be too big to turn there.
It is expected that port bosses will eventually move down to Ringaskiddy from their base at Custom House Quay.
Mr Healy said they were “open to discussions with the city council” on the future of their historic headquarters.
Have your say
* Public consultation meetings:
* Thursday, February 6: 3pm to 8pm — Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh.
* Friday, February 7: 3pm to 8pm at the National Maritime College of Ireland, Ringaskiddy.
* Saturday, February 8: 10am to 2pm at the National Maritime College of Ireland, Ringaskiddy.
Port of Cork experts in engineering, environment, traffic etc will be on hand to answer questions.
For the first time, a 3D computer-generated simulation of the plans will be displayed. Those living in the lower harbour will be able to see a computer-generated view of the project, phase by phase — as it would look from their own home. The technology will also allow them to see this view in different types of weather.
By Sean O’Riordan
Cunard line has confirmed it will be bringing 2,400 passengers onboard the Queen Victoria for a special commemorative voyage to Cobh to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania.
Port of Cork commercial manager Captain Michael McCarthy said he has been in talks with Cunard and it was planning for the Queen Victoria to arrive in Cobh on May 7, 2015, to coincide with the anniversary.
“Meanwhile, Princess Cruises is also looking at making a special stop for the event bringing a vessel in which will be on a New York-Southampton voyage,” Capt McCarthy said.
He said a number of events were being planned in Cobh to coincide with the commemoration. The Lusitania was torpedoed 10 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale on May 7, 2015 by German submarine U20.
Of the 1,959 people on board 761 people were saved. The vast majority of passengers were never recovered, but the bodies of 150 victims were recovered from the sea and were buried in mass graves at Old Church Cemetery, Cobh. Only 70 of them were formally identified.
The Germans claimed the ship was carrying war munitions and that the British had broken the rules by allowing such cargo on a cruise liner.
“The US navy sent a fleet of destroyers to Cork harbour to counteract the submarine threat. I would also like to see the US navy take part in the commemoration as well,” Capt McCarthy said.
The sinking caused a storm of protest in America and ultimately influenced the decision by the US to declare war on Germany in 1917.
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