Dublin Port seek partner to expand cruise ship capacity

€200m scheme to expand capacity for liners

The 17-deck, 3,000-passenger Grand Princess,  escorted by Dublin Port Company tugboats, arrives at the mouth of the Liffey.  Photograph: Eric Luke

The 17-deck, 3,000-passenger Grand Princess, escorted by Dublin Port Company tugboats, arrives at the mouth of the Liffey. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Dublin Port Company has begun seeking a partner for the promotion of expanded cruise liner operations in the capital, aimed at increasing current visitor numbers credited with injecting €50 million into the local economy annually.

Plans were filed with An Bord Pleanála in March to significantly expand the port to accommodate an increase in capacity for liners, moving them further up the river Liffey to a hub at the East Link bridge.

The €200 million scheme, the largest engineering project planned in the port’s history, would accommodate the world’s biggest ships and could result in an increase in annual passenger numbers from 110,000 to more than 320,000.

This week, the port company advertised for a partner to enter a “multi-annual relationship” that would involve growing the cruise sector, promoting Dublin as a tourist destination and increasing repeat visits.

“Cruise marketing involves many stakeholders and requires a co-ordinated approach. Having so successfully developed the cruise business since the mid- 1990s, taking the cruise sector to the next level in Dublin requires the more sophisticated Cruise Dublin approach,” said Eamonn O’Reilly, chief executive of the port company.

Growth market

Orla Carroll, who looks after the capital for Fáilte Ireland, said the industry was a growth market, with the number of ships increasing on an annual basis. On average, a single passenger will spend €100 per visit.

Ms Carroll said passenger numbers had tripled in the last 10 years, with an average growth rate of 12.8 per cent. Plans to develop the sector would seek to triple those numbers again.

In 2012, Dublin Port accommodated 89 ships; this rose to 100 last year. Their size is also increasing, making it paramount the port is developed.

The cruise industry has also set its sights on the city becoming a “turnaround port”, which acts as the beginning and end of trips rather than merely one of the destinations.