The Port of Cork has been granted planning permission for a €100m redevelopment of its harbour in Ringaskiddy.
The permission, which saw An Bord Pleanála go against the advice of its inspectors, paves the way for the Ringaskiddy Port Redevelopment project to be operational in 2018, which will allow larger vessels to come to Cork.
The relocation of cargo handling activities from the city to Ringaskiddy is also expected to open up the harbour area in the city to redevelopment.
The decision permits the Port of Cork to construct two berths at Ringaskiddy East; a new 314m container berth that will be capable of accommodating vessels carrying a range of different cargoes, including containers, freight and general cargoes, and an additional 200m container berth.
The plans further allow the installation of handling cranes and terminal transport equipment along with a maintenance building, administrative buildings, entrance kiosks, and ancillary car parking.
Meanwhile the decision also permits the Port of Cork to add a new 182m extension to the existing deep-water berth at Ringaskiddy West.
Brendan Keating, chief executive of the Port of Cork welcomed the development, but said that the decision and the conditions it entailed need to be considered in more detail.
“Being able to accommodate larger vessels is of utmost importance if the Port of Cork is to remain competitive and continue to meet the needs of our customers and the economic developmental needs of the region.
“Today’s decision will enable us to do this and in turn, future proof Cork as an international gateway for trade,” he said.
Port of Cork said that the development would reap “significant economic benefits” for Cork and the Munster region, and said that 98% of goods imported or exported from Ireland are moved by ship, amounting to over €14bn annually in Cork.
Planning permission for a larger development was refused in 2008.
There has been mixed local reaction to the news.
While some local representatives have welcomed the news, others have said that Ringaskiddy lacks the necessary infrastructure to cope with a development of its size.
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