Port of Cork seeks vacant possession of centre used for milk powder storage

Masterlink Logistics leased buildings to store products for Irish Dairy Board

The Port of Cork Company is seeking vacant possession of buildings at its Ringaskiddy lands which are currently occupied by the Masterlink Logistics company.

The port company has agreed to sell the logistics centre at Ringaskiddy, which it has leased to Masterlink since 2016 for the storage of milk powder and similar products for the Irish Dairy Board. The logistics centre covers some 16.5 acres and contains 170,000sq ft of commercial buildings.

The Port of Cork sought an order from the High Court requiring Masterlink to deliver up vacant possession and a declaration that Masterlink had no right to withhold possession.

The case was admitted to the court’s fast track commercial list on Monday by Mr Justice Denis McDonald on consent between the parties. John Lucey SC, for the Port of Cork, said there had been substantial engagement between the parties and ultimately it may be a matter that will not trouble the court.

Eoghan Cole, for Masterlink, said he hoped that would be the case too but added it was not a simple matter of handing back the key and turning the lock for his client, who has half a million tonnes of product at the logistics centre which will have to be removed.

The judge adjourned the case to May and welcomed efforts by the parties to resolve the matter.

Sale

The Port of Cork chief commercial officer, Conor Mowlds, said in an affidavit the 2016 lease to Masterlink was extended for three years and three months in July 2018, and it included an agreement that Masterlink renounced any rights under the Landlord and Tenant Acts.

In 2021, the Port of Cork decided to sell the logistics centre at a guide price of €16 million-€18 million. Masterlink was informed possession would be required in July 2021 which led to disagreement between the parties.

Mr Mowlds said Masterlink indicated an interest in buying the property, and if they did not they would require four months to vacate.

It was sold to a third party in January 2022 and the port company demanded immediate possession. When this was not forthcoming, and because a failure to vacate could jeopardise the sale, the company brought legal proceedings, Mr Mowlds said.

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