Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Questions (616)

Malcolm Byrne


616. Deputy Malcolm Byrne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the measures he is taking or plans to undertake to develop Rosslare Europort in order to attract greater freight and passenger traffic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53152/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Rosslare Europort is unique among the State-owned ports, as it is not a commercial company operating under the Harbours Acts, but is instead operated on a commercial basis as a division of Iarnród Éireann. 

I am satisfied that Rosslare Europort as a division of Iarnród Éireann is effectively managing operations at the port and looking at the potential of the port to develop further.

The port is targeting growth and new business opportunities and has received the approval of the Iarnród Éireann Board for a strategic plan to grow the port’s business.  Iarnród Éireann and Rosslare Europort briefed my Department on the company's plans for strategic development of the port over the coming years.

This includes investment plans for up to €25 million in customer facilities and port infrastructure, port assets and new technology.  My Department is advised by Iarnród Éireann that this investment has commenced with the finalisation of the port masterplan phase.

Iarnród Éireann has said that it will seek to commence securing planning permission in the first half of 2020 and, subject to planning approval, will subsequently commence a phased construction of the masterplan. It has also commenced the digitalisation project for the port, which will see investment in all aspects of IT technology.

Meanwhile, the port is engaging with a number of potential new shipping customers to supplement existing operators and offer greater choice to freight and passenger business.  

Brexit will have implications for a number of key ports and airports and Rosslare Europort continues to work closely with my Department and a range of other relevant Government Departments and Offices in preparing for the additional border controls and other impacts that will arise from Brexit.  

In this context, my Department is in regular contact with Rosslare Port management about the infrastructural requirements and other Brexit impacts on the port. My Department is advised by Iarnród Éireann that the Border Inspection Post is now ready for operation.

I understand also that Rosslare Europort is actively seeking opportunities arising from Brexit to expand shipping services from the port to continental EU ports.

Finally, as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  Once funding arrangements have been put in place, under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and construction, including the operation of individual roads, is a matter for the relevant road authority in relation to local and regional roads, or for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned, in relation to national roads.  TII also has responsibility for the management and distribution of the roads national capital programme budget.

My Department has been advised by TII that technical advisors have been appointed to progress planning, design and appraisal work on the Oilgate to Rosslare scheme under the National Development Plan.

In relation to the N11, the Gorey to Enniscorthy Public Private Partnership scheme opened to traffic on July 18, 2019. This scheme involved the construction of 39km of new motorway and associated roads and is expected by TII to result in significant reductions in travel times on the route.