A masterplan for a multi-million-euro redevelopment of the old IFI plant at Marino Point in Cobh is expected to be completed by February and lead to its redevelopment as an import/export hub for the Port of Cork.
The port authority and Wexford-based Lanber Holdings purchased the 114-acre site last year.
Port of Cork chief executive Brendan Keating confirmed that the masterplan was being drawn up and when completed it was expected they would enter into pre-planning discussions with Cork County Council on the future use of the site.
Mr Keating said the joint venture company had already received “a number of inquiries” from businesses interested in locating there.
He said some of the industries dealing with potentially dangerous substances currently located in the Docklands/Tivoli area could also relocate there when the port closes its operations in advance of shifting most of its cargo-handling operations to Ringaskiddy, where it is carrying out a €100m upgrade.
While Mr Keating declined to comment on the types of businesses which had expressed interest in operating out of Marino Point, it is understood they are involved in a number of different sectors including oil, agri-feed, and fertiliser traffic.
“This will be a multimillion-euro investment which will be hugely important to the future of the Port of Cork,” Mr Keating said.
Major upgrading work will have to be undertaken at the Marino Point jetty and it is also possible that the spur line rail link will be reopened onto the Cobh/Cork line.
Mr Keating said its location and the rail link was proving an attraction to businesses.
“We’re developing a masterplan which will look at the layout of land uses there. It should be ready in the next three to four months and then we expect to be in a position to talk to Cork County Council about its redevelopment,” Mr Keating said.
“At the moment we don’t envisage any roll-on/roll-off or container traffic being handled in Marino Point.”
“It will be primarily bulk products which will go through there,” Mr Keating added.
The site was previously owned by Irish Fertiliser Industries (IFI). It initially opened at Nitrigin Éireann Teoranta in 1979.
However, it was taken over eight years later by IFI in a joint venture with the British-based Imperial Chemical Industries.
It closed in 2002 with the loss of 220 jobs.