Sunday 11 December 2016

Dublin Port Company eyes major land bank

State-owned firm looking at 40-hectare site by motorway, writes Group Business Editor Dearbhail McDonald

Published 03/07/2016 | 02:30

The MSC Splendida cruise liner being towed stern first into Dublin Port last year. The Splendida, ranked the 11th-longest cruise ship in the world, is the longest ship ever to call at the port.
The MSC Splendida cruise liner being towed stern first into Dublin Port last year. The Splendida, ranked the 11th-longest cruise ship in the world, is the longest ship ever to call at the port.

Dublin Port Company, the wholly State-owned commercial company that operates Dublin Port, is poised to buy 40 hectares of motorway-connected land adjacent to the capital to support its future growth.

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The DPC, which is enjoying a record growth phase and is set to pay a €10.9m dividend to the State this year, has just commenced a €230m redevelopment of the Alexandra Basin.

The redevelopment, which involves rebuilding more than 40pc of the port and increasing the basin's depth to 10 metres, will allow the port to host some of the world's largest cruise ships, such as the 18-deck MSC Splendida and the Disney Magic, whose horn blast plays an excerpt from Disney's famous flagship tune,

The redevelopment, which will allow cruise ship passengers to travel by Luas or foot to Dublin city centre, will be completed by 2020.

However, Ireland's premier deep-water port, currently operating on a 260-hectare area of land, plans to double its container business from 20 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) per annum to 40 TEUs and to handle 60 million tonnes a year by 2040.

The DPC handled some 32.8 million gross tonnes last year and has paid dividends of almost €90m to the State since 2007.

To ensure that its estate maximises its cargo-handling capacity, the DPC is contemplating the acquisition of a significant, 40-hectare (almost 99 acres) land bank adjacent to the motorway and accessible by the Dublin Port Tunnel.

Over 30pc of all goods arriving in Dublin port remain within the M50 area, while 60pc of all goods arriving at the port remain within 80km of the port.

It is anticipated that the motorway-connected site will, in future, accommodate non-core activities, such as trade car storage.

The company did not respond to queries about the planned acquisition.

However, it is understood that the purchasing proposal has already been approved by the DPC board. The company says that integrating Dublin Port with Dublin city and its people is "a core aim" of its Masterplan 2012 to 2040.

But it insists it cannot relinquish land that may be required for port purposes in the future.

Earlier this year, DPC boss Eamonn O'Reilly warned that it may have to revisit plans to infill 21 hectares (52 acres) of Dublin Bay if Dublin City Council does not change the city development plan to accommodate the port.

The redevelopment of the Nama-controlled former Irish Glass Bottle site is expected to see the provision of up to 3,000 homes in the Poolbeg peninsula in Dublin.

Bought for more than €400m in 2006, but worth less than €50m today, the site is part of a 34-hectare land bank in Dublin 4 that will benefit from a fast-track planning process.

However, the port company, which is planning an average annual growth rate of 3.3pc over the 30 years between 2010 and 2040, wants 18 hectares of its lands excluded from the plan.

Sunday Indo Business

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