Rosslare Europort and the Port of Waterford - which will provide a robust response to Brexit - have jointly contributed to the South East Chambers of Commerce final submission to the new National Planning Framework that will guide national, regional and local planning for the next two decades.
In their submission, the key southeast ports present themselves as valuable counterpoints to help ease congestion while also supporting a robust and pragmatic Irish response to Britain's EU exit.
Glenn Carr, General Manager, Rosslare Europort, said Rosslare Europort is a strategic asset to both the southeast regional and national economies and said National Planning Framework policy support should be given to improved connectivity to the port and to maximising the post-Brexit role and capacity of the port.
The submission to the 'Ireland 2040 - Our Plan' states: 'The south east ports together provide a full range of services to the South-East region and beyond. Rosslare Europort and Waterford (Belview) are Tier 2 Ports of National Significance and are Comprehensive Ports on the Ten-T network.
'The ports have Ro-Ro, Lo-Lo, bulk and passenger services/facilities with excellent road/rail connectivity and direct links to the UK and the continent. These ports have some areas of under-utilised capacity and significant scope for the expansion of freight services.
'In the context of some of the challenges posed by Brexit, the South East can offer a platform for solutions that bypass the UK land bridge with little or no upfront investment.
'Similarly, the opportunity is there to reduce freight road miles and related CO2 emissions while taking some pressure off of Dublin's road and port infrastructure. We submit that the south east ports have a very significant role to play in the economic development of the south east and that this role is equivalent to that performed by the Tier 1 Ports (Dublin, Cork and Shannon Foynes) for their respective regions."
Frank Ronan, CEO, Port of Waterford, said 'we are committed to continuing to be proactive in supporting economic development in Ireland. Exports and imports are the lifeblood of our economy and it is vital that we plan and invest now to future-proof our ports and ensure that our island economy can continue to perform strongly.
'The National Planning Framework will be hugely important in how Ireland grows to 2040 and the southeast ports have a vital role to play.'