Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Questions (491)

Tom Neville


491. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the progress of implementing the Shannon Foynes Port Company Vision 2014 master plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39371/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) is the second largest port in the State in terms of total tonnage handled and the third largest in terms of turnover (after Dublin and Cork). SFPC is Ireland’s deepest sheltered water course and is the only port handling capsize vessels (17.5 draft).  There are currently six terminals on the Estuary.

Vision 2041 is a thirty year plan setting out a port development strategy that is aligned with all stakeholder interests. The primary objectives, inter alia, of Vision 2041 is to promote Shannon Foynes Port Company as a key economic driver for the region and to positively influence policy at the national, regional and local level thereby enhancing the attractiveness of the Shannon Estuary for marine related industry and investment. The Master Plan recognises the importance of a consistent plan led or integrated approach to future port development.

The Port are still in the early stages of the implementation of Vision 2041 at year 8 of 30 and significant progress has been made to date on implementing its some of key objectives.  

A summary of some of the major milestones achieved to date include;

- National Ports Policy designates the SFPC as a Port of National Significance (Tier 1).

- The Port's development is also recognised in the National Planning Framework - Project 2040. 

- At a European level, the port is included within the  TEN-T Regulation as a ‘core’ port and the port has been successful in obtaining EU grant funding towards some of their developments.

- The zoning of nine strategic deep water sites on the Shannon Estuary consisting of up to 1200 hectares for marine or port related development. One of these sites includes the development of a new deep water jetty on Foynes Island.  

- The Expansion program at Foynes is well underway with Phase 1 infill of land behind the east jetty already completed with planning consents for phases  II to IV . A contract for phase II will be awarded shortly.

- Pre-planning for a new deep  water berth at Foynes Island has commenced.

- There has been investment of €3.5m in new cranes in Limerick and Foynes.

- The Port has successfully promoted and facilitated the investment of c. €40m by the private sector in the Foynes port estate since the Vision 2041 launch.

- The Limerick Docklands Framework Strategy was launched, which will lead to port expansion at Limerick as well as commercialising other port assets in Limerick.

- 90 acres for a new port business and logistics hub has been acquired.

- Detailed design for the reinstatement of the Limerick to Foynes rail line is completed.

- The Port has been vigorous in promoting the requirement for improving the hinterland connection to Foynes Port. Planning for the 40km Limerick to Foynes Road Scheme is due to be published in October. 

- As a Tier 1 Port the continued commercial development of the Company is a key strategic objective of Government approved National Ports Policy to provide for overall national port capacity and maritime connectivity.