Friday 18 October 2019

Dublin Port to cut back on cruise ships for cargo due to Brexit

Eamonn O'Reilly, CEO of Dublin Port Company.
Eamonn O'Reilly, CEO of Dublin Port Company.

Fearghal O'Connor

Dublin Port is to greatly curtail cruise ships using its facilities and may axe the business altogether.

Port boss Eamonn O'Reilly told the Sunday Independent that rising freight volumes and the need to create space due to Brexit meant that trade needed to be prioritised over tourism.

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The move will be a big blow to tourism and retail interests in the city.

Almost 300,000 cruise passengers docked in the city in 2018, up 32pc.

But O'Reilly said that the cruise ship business would "peak during 2019 and from 2021 we will be taking significantly fewer bookings for cruises".

"Our primary business is freight and we are committed to our freight customers - that's our core business."

Last year, 8,000 ships used the port," he said.

"Just 150 were cruise ships. It's a small part of our business.

"Cargo volumes have gone up 36pc in six years, we are having to devote land to stage inspections due to Brexit and space is at a premium," he said.

The port has planning permission for a cruise terminal but is now undertaking an economic cost benefit analysis to see if investing "many tens of millions" in the cruise business "stacks up".

"If it doesn't then we'll have to prioritise our core business," he said.

"Certainly in the short-term we will not be able to take the number of cruise ships that we have done in the past," he said.

A billion-euro infrastructure plan will see quay walls rebuilt, further curtailing the space available for huge cruise ships.

"Something has to give," said O'Reilly.

Sunday Indo Business

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