First self-stevedoring licence for Dublin Port

Ecocem awarded port company licence to unload its own ships to cut costs

 Unloading a ship at Ecocem on the Liffey. Ecocem expects to unload two ships a month carrying slag from northern Spain and western France. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Unloading a ship at Ecocem on the Liffey. Ecocem expects to unload two ships a month carrying slag from northern Spain and western France. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

The first self-handling stevedoring licence for Dublin Port has been issued to Irish cement producer Ecocem by the Dublin Port Company. The cement business has a manufacturing plant in the port and expects to use approximately 150,000 tonnes of imported granulated blast furnace slag, which it uses in its production process, next year.

Conor O’Riain, managing director of Ecocem Ireland, said that aside form being the first self-stevedoring licence awarded, it is also the first licence issued to a new stevedoring operator in some time.

In November last year, the Competition Authority completed an investigation into the Irish ports sector and said competition in the sector could be improved.

In relation to Dublin Port, it made a number of recommendations aimed at improving competition in stevedoring, including granting self-handling licences “on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis”.

Mr O’Riain said Ecocem spent about €400,000 on a second-hand crane which was used last week to unload its first consignment of slag. Self-stevedoring would cut the company’s costs, he added.

Ecocem will unload two ships a month with the slag coming from northern Spain and western France. The slag is used by Ecocem in its manufacturing plant at South Dock.

Ecocem, which was established in 2001, started producing bagged cement in its Dublin plant in March of last year. It produced about 200,000 of bagged and bulk cement last year.

Mr O’Riain also said he expected that figure to increase this year as a result of increased demand from the Irish market as well as new export lines and new bulk customers. The Dublin plant has 25 staff.

Ecocem has plants in France and the Netherlands as well as Ireland. Producing cement from slag, a waste product of the steel industry, reduces the amount of harmful environmental gases associated with cement production, in comparison with more the traditional process.