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New container terminal at Dublin Port to be largest in country

Construction of the third and final Masterplan project at Dublin Port will commence in 2026, and will cost €400 million.

Dublin Port Company on Friday announced the expansion, which it has named the 3FM Project. It will deliver 20 percent of the capacity required by 2040 on one-fifth of Dublin Port’s lands, all located on the Poolbeg Peninsula.

The ambitious project is expected to be completed sometime between 2030 and 2035.

The project is at the pre-planning stage and Dublin Port Company says it will lodge a planning application with An Bord Pleanala in early 2023. Between now and then, the company says it will prepare the detailed project design and environmental impact reports required for large infrastructure projects.

The 3FM Project is being launched now, Dublin Port Company says, so as to ensure that essential port capacity is available on time. Capacity pinch points are already evident in the north port area post-Brexit and pending completion of consented Masterplan projects there the ABR Project and the MP2 Project which are already underway.
Since 2010, Dublin Port Company says it has invested €500 million in the north port area to provide port capacity to cater for the growth of 44% in overall port volumes in just ten years equivalent to an annual growth rate of 3.7 percent.

In the Lo-Lo mode, volumes have grown by 37 percent between 2010 and 2020. However, since Brexit growth has accelerated and volumes in 2021 are 14 percent higher than last year. A key part of the 3FM Project is the construction of a new container terminal, the largest in the country, to provide an annual throughput capacity of 360,000 units (612,000 TEU). To put this into context, the new container terminal will have the capacity for more than twice the number of containers handled in all other ports in the country last year.

The development of the Dublin Port is supported by National Ports Policy and the National Development Plan, by the NTA’s Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area, and by the Dublin City Development Plan. Dublin Port Company is committed to proper planning and sustainable development and has already secured planning permissions for two large Strategic Infrastructure Development projects from An Bord Pleanla the ABR Project (2015) and the MP2 Project (2020).

The company says it is working to secure planning permission for the 3FM Project by 2024 to ensure the continued provision of national port capacity in Dublin Port up to 2040.

“There is very little spare capacity for future growth of unitised trade in Dublin Port or in any other port in the country. Planning for long-term needs as far out as 2040 is very difficult and it is important for us in Dublin Port to plan early to ensure that we are ready to construct nationally essential port capacity in advance of demand,” Dublin Port’s Chief Executive, Eamonn O’Reilly, said Friday.

“We are developing Dublin Port based on Masterplan 2040 at an overall estimated cost of €1.6 billion over the 30 years from 2010 to 2040. Port infrastructure is very expensive and, by the end of this year, we will have invested €500 million in the 11 years since 2010. Over the next five years, we will invest a further €450 million. We aim to begin to build the €400 million 3FM Project in 2026 and to complete it between 2030 and 2035.”

“Masterplan 2040 projects that Dublin Port will need capacity for an annual throughput of 3.1 million trailers and containers by 2040. The 3FM Project will deliver one-fifth of this capacity by way of a new Lo-Lo terminal 360,000 containers per annum and a new Ro-Ro freight terminal 288,000 freight trailers per annum,” O’Reilly said.

“The challenge of long-term infrastructure planning was well illustrated in the Dublin Transport Initiative (DTI) report of 1995. The DTI predicted Dublin Port’s cargo volumes would reach 12 million tonnes by 2011. However, volumes in 2000 just five years after the report was published had already reached 21 million tonnes. For the last two decades, Dublin Port has been playing catch-up and it is important for the next twenty years that we keep capacity ahead of demand.”Port-city integration

The 3FM Project will deliver not only the capacity objectives of Masterplan 2040, but also the objective to re-integrate Dublin Port with Dublin City. The City and local communities will benefit from three new public parks on the Poolbeg Peninsula, improved access to the waterfront and to the Great South Wall, all linked by more than five kilometres of new and improved pedestrian and cycle routes. These will tie in with 10km of greenways and active travel routes currently being built in the north port area, including the Liffey-Tolka Project.

The next step in the planning stage of the project is the preparation of a detailed design and environmental analysis in advance of lodging a planning application in 2023. Before beginning this work in January 2022, Dublin Port Company says it is starting a conversation with as wide a range of stakeholders as possible, particularly local communities. All feedback and any ideas received by the end of December 2021 will, Dublin Port Company says help ensure that the 3FM Project is carefully and properly designed.
Source: Dublin Port Company

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