Record tonnage through Limerick port as marketing of Shannon Estuary ramps up

  • Shannon Foynes Port Company

A new strategy for the Limerick Docklands area has been completed with a view to strengthening Limerick as a working port while developing the wider area along the Dock Road.

The strategy developed by the Shannon Foynes Port Company will be announced shortly and is expected to have a very positive economic impact on the Limerick city region.

The news comes following figures released by Shannon Foynes Port Company that Limerick Port achieved record tonnage levels in 2016.

Coupled with record levels for Limerick, the deep water port at Foynes also saw a massive increase in tonnage levels last year.

Shannon Foynes Port Company’s key ports saw tonnages by 11% year on year.

The figures reaffirm the company’s strong performance and the contribution they make to the regional economy in 2016 with growth of 11.4% in year on year tonnages.

For the second successive year, the two largest ports directly managed by SFPC have now delivered 10% plus growth, significantly ahead of national and international standards.

Overall tonnages delivered across the company’s activities last year were at just over 11 million, marginally behind the company's record tonnage levels and reflecting the very significant resurgence at the company over the past five years.

The tonnage increases were largely driven by strong performing sectors such as construction, oil distribution, agri and renewables.

The growth levels are in excess of the upper end scenarios envisaged in the company’s Vision 2041 Masterplan published in 2014 and validate, the ongoing programme of infrastructural investment in quay infrastructure and land capacity.

Reflecting specifically on the 2016 tonnage breakdown, Patrick Keating, CEO of the Shannon Foynes Port Company said that while growth at the two premier ports was very positive, tonnages at Limerick really stood out.

“The tonnages at Limerick Docks are particularly impressive as our tonnages last year were unprecedented and illustrate again the value and importance of Limerick Docks as a viable port not just for SFPC but for the region.”

“Exports from Limerick docks more than tripled imports in 2016 so that shows just how much an asset it is for business in Limerick and the wider region.”

“We have a long term plan for our property in the Limerick Docklands area but this will primarily be centred on maximising the docks as working port and improving connectivity thereto.”

“We have just completed a Limerick Docklands Framework Strategy that maps out the future requirements for the working port at Limerick, as well as plans to reinstate historical buildings such as Bannatyne Mills over time. This Strategy will be launched shortly and we are confident it will have a very positive economic and visual impact on the Dock Road area based on our stakeholder consultations.”

Developments are also continuing in Foynes.  2016 also saw the company complete Phase 1 (€12m) of its expansion programme in the West Limerick deep-water port.

It also recently acquired a further 90 acres for storage and port development purposes to facilitate growth in Foynes and SFPC will lodge a planning application for further multiple phases of its current €50m capital investment programme shortly.

The release of the major increase in figures for Foynes and Limerick poprts coincide with plans to develop deep water marine investment opportunities along the entire Shannon Estuary with the launch of a video for marketing purposes aimed at prospective investors.

The promotion is the result of the Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the Shannon Estuary, a land and marine-based plan launched in late 2013 by a multi-agency steering group comprising member organisations from throughout the wider region.

The region’s local authorities, Limerick City and County Council, Clare County Council, Kerry County Council, have joined with IDA Ireland, Shannon Group plc and Shannon Foynes Port Company in producing the film which details ‘Deep Water Marine Investment Opportunities’ at six Strategic Development Locations (SDLs) deemed appropriate for marine-related investment. 

Members of the SIFP Steering Group will travel to Oslo later this month to promote the Deep Water Marine Investment Opportunities within the Shannon Estuary at the Nor-Shipping exhibition, one of the most important meeting places for the global maritime industry.

IDA Ireland’s Regional Manager for the Mid-West, Niall O’Callaghan, said: “The completion of this promotional video highlighting the unique benefits of the Shannon Estuary to potential foreign direct investors in maritime industries shows the ongoing collaboration and progress between all stakeholders working on the Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP).”

“Its release is fitting given the international Nor-Shipping exhibition takes place in Oslo on May 29th, where IDA Ireland will be supporting the SIFP in engaging with potential clients to demonstrate how the Shannon Estuary has all the essential aspects to perform commercial maritime activities, both onshore and offshore,” added Mr. O’Callaghan.

1,220 hectares of land at six Strategic Development Locations are zoned for marine-related industry in Regional and Local statutory development plans. The sites include Askeaton (98Ha), Foynes Island (40Ha), and Foynes Port and adjoining lands (186Ha) in Co Limerick, Moneypoint (280Ha), Innismurry/Cahericon (65Ha) in Co Clare, and Tarbert - Ballylongford Landbank (550Ha) in Co Kerry.

For more information on SIFP visit www.shannonestuary.ie.

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