Significant work is to be carried out at Rosslare Europort, in a €30 million investment from Irish Rail over the next five years that will be used to facilitate "major growth" at the facility and get it ready for Brexit.
Rosslare Europort is the closest port to Britain and mainland Europe and offers numerous daily and weekly direct services to Britain, France and Spain.
The “master plan” for the development of the port will ensure that Rosslare will be “equipped with the capacity, facilities and technology to facilitate major growth for the benefit of the region and the wider national economy”, Irish Rail said.
The changes include the new configuration of the port aligned to “maximise future growth of and support regional and national development”.
There will be “significant new facilities and infrastructure to develop the port to its full potential as Ireland’s gateway port to the UK and Europe”.
The plan is to “design and develop a sustainable, seamless and smart port that will be best in class internationally”.
Irish Rail is set to apply for planning permission for the work next week. The development will be completed in a number of phases over a five-year time frame to enable the port to continue to operate all services and activity during construction.
As well as the port master plan, further substantial investment will take place both at the port and the surrounding area, with the further developments being completed during the same time frame.
This includes the construction of the new N25 Rosslare Europort Access Road by Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Wexford County Council, as well as the development of the Rosslare Europort Business Park by Dutch company XELLZ, which is targeting the future off-shore wind market.
Furthermore, “permanent extensive facilities” will be constructed to meet all customs and Brexit requirements for State agencies at the port, making Rosslare the only port outside of Dublin with the required Border inspection post.
The combined developments will see the largest ever investment in the port and surrounding area.
Rosslare Europort general manager Glenn Carr said: "These are probably the most exciting times that the port has ever seen, with transformational developments planned over the next few years.
“We will be making significant investment, demonstrating our commitment and drive to grow Rosslare Europort and ensuring that we maximise its full potential both for the region and the overall country.
"While we will have challenges in dealing with the current Covid and Brexit situation, I am extremely optimistic with the plans we now have in place for the development of the port and growing of the business well into the future, building on new business from Brittany Ferries earlier this year."
Mr Carr said the port also welcomed the “additional substantial investments” outlined above.
“All of these developments, along with our master plan, will greatly benefit not just the port but also the economic development of the region,” he said.
“Finally I also strongly believe that Rosslare Europort is now the best-positioned port to be the offshore wind energy hub for Ireland in the future.
“No other port in the Republic has the potential land, capacity and connectivity available that is required, and I look forward to working with all of the key stakeholders in securing the support and invested needed to secure the delivery of this vital development for the country.”