The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide a €100m loan to a project that will upgrade Dublin Port.
The €230m plan is designed to increase the port's ability to handle large ships. It will deepen and lengthen 3km of its existing 7km of berths and also deepen the entrance channel.
Known as the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment Project, it is the largest single infrastructure development project in the port's long history and is expected to take five years to complete.
The EIB is owned by the European Union member states. It aims to "provide finance and expertise for sound and sustainable investment projects which contribute to furthering EU policy objectives".
It lent a total of €77bn last year, generally financing a third of projects, but it does provide 50pc in some cases.
Dublin Port Company CEO Eamonn O'Neill said last month that engineering design works for the Alexandra Basin project were at an advanced stage.
"We expect the first phase of works to be tendered and a contractor ready to start by October 2015," he said.
Trade volumes have risen, with 2015 set to be a record year. Figures show total throughput up 5pc in the first half of the year, with imports growing 5.6pc as the Irish economy improves.
The Alexandra Basin project is the first major scheme from the port's masterplan for 2012 to 2040. The masterplan includes a new terminal for imported cars and a new €35m container terminal. A redevelopment of the port's road network is also included.
The port authorities also expect 2015 to be a record year for the cruise ship business. Nearly 100 cruise liner s will bring 200,000 visitors to Dublin this year.