A NEW €200m plan lodged with An Bord Pleanala would see giant cruise ships travelling further into Dublin city than ever before.
Dublin Port Company is seeking permission to carry out a series of works which would include deepening a 10km channel between the East Link Bridge and Dublin bay.
If approval is granted, the low-tide depth of 7.8 metres will be increased to 10 metres, allowing the world's biggest cruise liners dock beside the East Link.
It comes after a master plan designed to expand the port's operations was agreed in 2012.
"It's the first major project from the whole master plan. It represents about a third of the master plan. The headline figures from it are we are rebuilding 42pc of the port's existing berths so that's 3km of berth's from a total of 7km," the port company's chief executive Eamonn O'Reilly said.
"In rebuilding them, we're making some of them longer, all of them deeper so that they will be able to take deeper ships in the future. Ships have been getting bigger and the cargo load on each ship on average has been going up quite significantly," he told the Herald.
The engineering works are expected to take five years to complete, supporting 200 construction-related jobs.
Mr O'Reilly said that every million tonnes increase in capacity at the port generates about 300 jobs.
"There are quite significant employment benefits in this. Most of the stuff here moves by truck. Any time goods are being handled you need people," he added.
With a deeper channel, passengers from cruise liners will be able to "walk straight out and straight up the quays", he said.
"They'll be able to go and get a Dublin city bike. They'll be able to walk and get the Luas," Mr O'Reilly told the Herald.
"By bringing them up here, it starts to integrate the port with the city. All of sudden, you'll have a situation where as the docklands finishes out, you'll have cruise ships coming up to meet the docklands so you'll have much more activity, you'll have integration between the port and the city," he said.
"The biggest cruise ships in the world will be able to come up to the East Link Bridge. They're absolutely enormous. You can't describe the scale," he added.