Dublin Port launches the 3FM Project for Poolbeg Peninsula

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€400 million project will deliver 20% of the port capacity required by 2040 –
a new bridge across the Liffey – three new public parks –
5km of cycle and pedestrian routes

Dublin Port Company (DPC) has launched the 3FM Project, the third and final Masterplan project needed to complete the development of Dublin Port and bring it to its ultimate and final capacity by 2040.

The 3FM Project will deliver 20% of the capacity required by 2040 on one-fifth of Dublin Port’s lands, all located on the Poolbeg Peninsula, at an estimated cost of €400m (2021 prices).  

Construction will commence in 2026 and be completed between 2030 and 2035. 

The project is at the pre-planning stage and DPC will lodge a planning application with An Bord Pleanála in early 2023. Between now and then, the company will prepare the detailed project design and environmental impact reports required for large infrastructure projects.  Today’s launch is the start of a detailed conversation with all stakeholders before that work begins.

Details of the 3FM Project are now available to view online at www.dublinport3fm.ie.  Dublin Port Company is inviting people to submit comments and queries on any aspect of the project to: 3fm@dublinport.ie by 31stDecember 2021.

Description of the 3FM Project 

The project has six elements:

1.       A new private road called the Southern Port Access Route (SPAR) to link the north and south port areas, taking HGVs off the public road via a new bridge across the River Liffey immediately east of the Tom Clarke Bridge – giving pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users a less congested route for active travel across the city. [

2.       The construction of the largest container terminal in the country in front of ESB’s Poolbeg Power Station with an annual throughput capacity of 360,000 containers (612,000 TEU)

3.       The redevelopment of the existing blue container terminal to create a new Ro-Ro freight terminal in its place with an annual throughput capacity of 288,000 freight trailers

4.       Creation of a 325 metre diameter ship turning circle in front of Pigeon House Harbour

5.       Development of 6.1 hectares (15.1 acres) of new public parks in three locations on the Poolbeg Peninsula to provide community gain:

    1. 2.1 hectare (5.2 acre) sailing, rowing and maritime campus adjacent to the existing Poolbeg Yacht Club
    2. 1.2 hectare (3.0 acre) Pigeon House Park beside Pigeon House Harbour
    3. 2.8 hectare (6.9 acre) Port Park as a buffer between the port and the Pembroke at Dublin Four development
    4. 5.5 km of cycle paths and pedestrian routes throughout the Poolbeg Peninsula
  1. Provision of a 1.0-hectare site to accommodate utilities needed, firstly, for the City’s district heating scheme powered by the Covanta waste to energy plant and, secondly, to accommodate a range of utilities for thePembroke at Dublin Four development.


Investing in capacity for future growth ahead of time 

The 3FM Project is being launched now to ensure that essential port capacity is available on time. Capacity pinch points are already evident in the north port area post Brexit and pending completion of consented Masterplan projects there – the ABR Project and the MP2 Project – which are already underway.

Since 2010, Dublin Port Company has invested €500 million in the north port area to provide port capacity to cater for growth of 44% in overall port volumes in just ten years – equivalent to an annual growth rate of 3.7%.

In the Lo-Lo mode, volumes have grown by 37% between 2010 and 2020.  However, since Brexit growth has accelerated and volumes in 2021 are 14% higher than last year.  A key part of the 3FM Project is the construction of a new container terminal, the largest in the country, to provide an annual throughput capacity of 360,000 units (612,000 TEU).  To put this into context, the new container terminal will have capacity for more than twice the number of containers handled in all other ports in the country last year.

Proper planning and sustainable development 

The development of Dublin Port is supported by National Ports Policy and the National Development Plan, by the NTA’s Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area and by the Dublin City Development Plan.  Dublin Port Company is committed to proper planning and sustainable development and has already secured planning permissions for two large Strategic Infrastructure Development projects from An Bord Pleanála – the ABR Project (2015) and the MP2 Project (2020).

The company is working to secure planning permission for the 3FM Project by 2024 to ensure the continued provision of national port capacity in Dublin Port up to 2040.


Port-city integration
 

The 3FM Project will deliver not only the capacity objectives of Masterplan 2040, but also the objective to re-integrate Dublin Port with Dublin City.  The City and local communities will benefit from three new public parks on the Poolbeg Peninsula, improved access to the waterfront and to the Great South Wall, all linked by more than five kilometres of new and improved pedestrian and cycle routes.  These will tie in with 10km of greenways and active travel routes currently being built in the north port area, including the Liffey-Tolka Project.


How to take part in the conversation 

The next step in the planning stage of the project is the preparation of a detailed design and environmental analysis in advance of lodging a planning application in 2023. Before beginning this work in January 2022, Dublin Port Company is starting a conversation with as wide a range of stakeholders as possible, particularly local communities.  All feedback and any ideas received by the end of December 2021 will help ensure that the 3FM Project is carefully and properly designed.

Views, ideas and suggestions should be sent to: 3fm@dublinport.ie, or by post, to:

3FM Project
Dublin Port Company
Port Centre
Alexandra Road
Dublin 1

Commenting on the launch of the 3FM Project, Dublin Port’s Chief Executive, Eamonn O’Reilly, said: “There is very little spare capacity for future growth of unitised trade in Dublin Port or in any other port in the country.  Planning for long-term needs as far out as 2040 is very difficult and it is important for us in Dublin Port to plan early to ensure that we are ready to construct nationally essential port capacity in advance of demand.

“We are developing Dublin Port based on Masterplan 2040 at an overall estimated cost of €1.6 billion over the 30 years from 2010 to 2040.  Port infrastructure is very expensive and, by the end of this year, we will have invested €500m in the 11 years since 2010.  Over the next five years, we will invest a further €450m.  We aim to begin to build the €400m 3FM Project in 2026 and to complete it between 2030 and 2035.

“Masterplan 2040 projects that Dublin Port will need capacity for an annual throughput of 3.1 million trailers and containers by 2040.  The 3FM Project will deliver one-fifth of this capacity by way of a new Lo-Lo terminal – 360,000 containers per annum – and a new Ro-Ro freight terminal – 288,000 freight trailers per annum.

“The challenge of long-term infrastructure planning was well illustrated in the Dublin Transport Initiative (DTI) report of 1995.  The DTI predicted Dublin Port’s cargo volumes would reach 12 million tonnes by 2011.  However, volumes in 2000 – just five years after the report was published – had already reached 21 million tonnes.  For the last two decades, Dublin Port has been playing catch-up and it is important for the next twenty years that we keep capacity ahead of demand.

“Active travel is now a feature of all development plans in the country and the 3FM Project will make a huge contribution to the provision of high-quality walking and cycling routes throughout the Poolbeg Peninsula.  The new bridge we are proposing as part of the Southern Port Access Route will link this network across the river into the north side of Dublin Port where we already have ten kilometres of cycling and pedestrian routes under development.

“Over the decades that Dublin Port moved downriver, the port became invisible to the city.  The 3FM Project will provide three new public parks on the Poolbeg Peninsula in the heart of the working port.  These will open up to the river and to Sandymount strand and will help to re-establish the historical link between Dublin Port and Dublin City.”