Port upgrade will take containers out of city

Work has begun on an €80m upgrade of the Port of Cork’s container-handling facilities at Ringaskiddy, which are expected to be fully operational within the next two years.

When completed, the new container will provide a 360m-long quay, with 13m water-depth, enabling larger ships to berth in Ringaskiddy.

The project also includes the construction of a 13.5 hectare terminal, two ship-to-shore gantry cranes, and new container-handling equipment.

The requirement for the development of new facilities at Ringaskiddy was identified in the Port of Cork’s Strategic Development plan in 2010.

It will accommodate current and future container shipping, which can be serviced by modern and efficient cargo-handling equipment.

The Port of Cork’s redevelopment at Ringaskiddy is a key growth enabler for both Cork city and region, as well as the national economy, and will enable us to deliver more efficient container-handling facilities,” said Port of Cork chairman John Mullins.

Once opened, all container traffic currently using the Tivoli docks will be redirected to Ringaskiddy.

“The transfer of port-related activities from the city and Tivoli will create a real opportunity for Cork docklands sites to be redeveloped in the near future,” said Mr Mullins.

The Ringaskiddy development is the most significant single investment in marine infrastructure and superstructure in the history of the Port of Cork company.

The project is being funded by the Port of Cork, Allied Irish Banks, the European Investment Bank, and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

Port of Cork chief executive Brendan Keating said the project would secure the future of the port and ensure that the trade gains are translated into significant economic benefits for the people of Cork and Munster, as well as for the national economy.

The Port of Cork will construct a public marine leisure amenity at Paddy’s Point and has also committed a €1m community fund for the Ringaskiddy area, for the development of an enhanced public-realm scheme.

Donal Murphy, the head of infrastructure and credit investments at ISIF, said it was an important investment for ISIF, which has demonstrated its commitment to investing in key infrastructure throughout Ireland on a commercial basis.

It is the latest investment from our Connectivity Fund, which was established with proceeds from the sale of the State’s shareholding in Aer Lingus,” said Mr Murphy.

He said the project would also enhance Ireland’s transport-and-supply-chain links with major EU markets and help Irish exporters to access these markets post-Brexit.

Conor Morgan, of AIB Corporate Banking, said that his company was delighted to provide this financing for the strategic development.

“As a key infrastructure deal supporting the growth of the Irish economy, the project increases future capacity at the port and brings major strategic value to the city of Cork and the Munster region,” Mr Morgan said.

European Investment Bank vice-president, Andrew McDowell, said his bank was providing the Port of Cork with a €30m loan over 18 years to help it complete the project.

Mr McDowell said that it was important to ensure alternative transport routes, given export growth and ongoing uncertainties related to Brexit.

The Port of Cork awarded the contract for the project to BAM Civil Ltd, which is part of the multi-national construction group, Royal BAM Group, of the Netherlands.

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