Dublin Port to remain dominant - TDs told

New roads and Dublin Tunnel make it more attractive then ever to use Dublin port

The entrance to the port tunnel heading towards the port from the M50. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

The entrance to the port tunnel heading towards the port from the M50. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times


The Dublin Tunnel, formerly Dublin Port Tunnel, has been so successful it would be very difficult to develop a new port at Bremore, the Competition Authority has said.

While greater efficiency is needed at Dublin Port, a Competition Authority report found no challengers to Dublin’s role as the State’s dominant gateway for imports and exports.

Isolde Goggin, chairwoman of the authority, yesterday told TDs and Senators there was a need for more stevedoring companies operating at Dublin Port, and the leases granted to existing roll-on-roll off companies at more than 80 years duration, needed to be reviewed.

But she and Competition Authority economist Ciaran Aylward outlined a range of reasons why exporters continued to used Dublin Port – even if it cost them extra money.

Mr Aylward told the members of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport they could see for themselves the line of lorries which leave Dublin port every morning and take the port tunnel straight to the motorway network.

He said the development of a new port at Bremore would require “substantial investment”, thought to be hundreds of millions of euro, and this would have to come from the shipping companies themselves.

Even if this were done, he said the advantage of connections to all routes which Dublin Port enjoys through the Dublin Tunnel, would remain.

Mr Aylward said Dublin Port had better onwards connections through Rotterdam and to places as far as China, than other nationally important ports such as Rosslare and Waterford.

He said Dublin also had a greater frequency of sailings which was crucial to exporters, remarking that getting product to customers in the most efficeint way was something on which jobs depended.

Mr Aylward said while the new improvements to roads to the ports of Rosslare and Waterford had been expected to help these ports, it was a fact that the new roads to Dublin offered exporters greater choice.

He said while agricultural produce from the midlands used the ports of Rosslare and Waterford to get to close destinations, those who export to further destinations were happy to pay more to go through Dublin, given the range of destinations and frequency of sailings.

The authority said its report had not focussed on the leisure potential of existing ports as its remit was to look at the larger ports.

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