Dublin Port canvasses views on growing cruise business

Consultation process opened on how port would fund €108m new terminal facilities

The Royal Princess cruise ship. Photograph: Conor McCabe

The Royal Princess cruise ship. Photograph: Conor McCabe


Dublin Port Company is seeking the views of the public, businesses and other interested parties on the benefits of investing €108 million in terminal facilities to attract more cruise ships.

The semi-State company has launched a public consultation on the future of cruise tourism, seeking opinions on the appetite in the city for his large-scale tourism business, managing the increase in air emissions from additional cruise ships and the financial challenge of funding the proposed new berths.

Economic consultants Indecon estimate the €108 million spent on new berths at the port’s North Wall Quay extension between 2024 and 2026 could generate a net economic benefit of €211 million based on 2019 values.

The port company, however, has said it cannot finance the project itself given its €1 billion plan to build extra capacity to accommodate the projected growth of cargo up to the year 2040.

The proposed new berths would be of limited alternative use outside of cruise ships such as for generating revenue for cargo operations, the company said.

Tripling tourists

The investment could triple the number of cruise tourists to 619,000 by 2040, with about a third of these passengers starting and finishing the cruise in Dublin.

Some 127 cruise ships carrying 210,050 visitors arrived at Dublin Port in 2017.

“We need to know that there is widespread support and a genuine desire to see cruise tourism on a significantly larger scale than ever before if we are to proceed to build new berths as far upriver as the Tom Clarke Bridge capable of accommodating the largest cruise ships two at a time,” said port chief Eamonn O’Reilly.

A lobby group of businesses, led by Lorcan O’Connor, a director of Carroll’s Irish Gifts, has criticised the port’s decision to reduce cruise business at the port over the the next four years due to insufficient docking space and giving priority to cargo as there was limited berth space because of construction work.

Interested parties must submit their views on the port’s consultation document by January 17th.