Planning process for Dublin Port’s MP2 Project underway

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The Dublin Port Company (DPC) has lodged an application for permission with An Bord Pleanála for its MP2 Project, the second major capital development project from the Port’s Masterplan 2040.

It follows consultation with stakeholders, including the local community, customers, State agencies, Government departments and other public bodies. Public information days will be held in local communities over the coming weeks with details of the proposed development plans on view.

The MP2 Project involves an application for a 15-year permission for phased development works within existing port lands in the north eastern part of the port estate. Key elements include: –

  • A new open structure Ro-Ro jetty (Berth 53) for ferries up to 240m in length on an alignment north of the port’s fairway and south and parallel to – but detached from – the boundary of the South Dublin Bay and River Tolka SPA (004024);
  • A reorientation of Berth 52 permitted under An Bord Pleanála Ref. PL29N PA0034;
  • A lengthening of an existing river berth (50A) to provide the Container Freight Terminal with additional capacity to handle larger container ships.  These works will include the infilling of the basin east of the now virtually redundant Oil Berth 4 on the Eastern Oil Jetty;
  • The redevelopment and future-proofing of Oil Berth 3 as a future deep-water container berth for the Container Freight Terminal. The future-proofing will facilitate the change of use of the berth from petroleum importation to container handling when the throughput of petroleum products through Dublin Port declines as a result of national policies to decarbonise the economy;
  • Consolidation of passenger terminal buildings, demolition of redundant structures and buildings, and removal of connecting roads to increase the area of land for the transit storage of Ro-Ro freight units.

The MP2 Project is the second of three Strategic Infrastructure Development projects required to deliver the vision of Masterplan 2040.  This vision sees Dublin Port reaching its ultimate capacity by 2040 with no additional infill of Dublin Bay. The need now for the MP2 Project arises from both the level of future growth DPC is projecting and the time required to complete the development works (2020 – 2035).

By reconfiguring how existing facilities and lands are currently used, the MP2 Project will create additional capacity for almost one-third of the projected increases in Dublin Port’s Ro-Ro (truck) and Lo-Lo (container) traffic between now and 2040.

When complete, the MP2 Project will also increase Dublin Port’s capacity to handle growing ship sizes by providing up to three longer, deeper river berths capable of taking Ro-Ro ferries and Lo-Lo container ships measuring up to 240m in length.

Commenting on the development Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company, said:“Masterplan 2040 provides a sustainable path for us to develop the port and the MP2 Project will provide much needed additional capacity to cater for projected growth of both Ro-Ro and Lo-Lo traffic from now up to 2040. Within the MP2 Project, we are readying ourselves to repurpose our oil importation facilities.  As petroleum imports decline in future years, the MP2 Project will allow us to turn oil berths into container berths.

“As part of our ten-year €1 billion capital programme to 2028, we will complete the ongoing ABR Project, commence works on the MP2 Project itself and advance works on a variety of other projects including the development of Dublin Inland Port.  The company’s Board recently approved a new €300m debt facility to finance the first phase of the ten-year programme.”

The application comes as DPC publishes its latest trade figures, which show Dublin Port is on course for a fifth successive record year with 2.5% growth in the first six months of 2019. Growth in the first six months to 19.2 million gross tonnes came from both rising imports (+3.6%) and increasing exports (+1.0%).

Looking at the port’s unitised trade, Ro-Ro freight volumes (trucks) increased by 4.1% and Lo-Lo freight volumes (containers) were very strong, up 10.4% year-on-year. Ferry passenger numbers also moved ahead by 3.5% following Irish Ferries’ deployment of the W.B. Yeats on its service to Cherbourg.

“We are seeing clear evidence of the effects of Brexit in our trade figures.  Where unitised trade with GB ports grew by 9.7% in the first quarter, volumes declined by -1.8% in the second quarter.  For unitised trade with Continental Europe and beyond, on the other hand, first quarter growth of 8.3% was followed by even stronger growth of 10.0% in quarter two. The MP2 Project is designed to facilitate growth in volumes to Continental Europe as Brexit changes trade patterns in the coming years,” added Eamonn.