Shannon Foynes Port handles €7.6bn in trade annually – report
Business has surpassed levels achieved at height of boom, says port firm chairman
Shannon Foynes Port Company and its customers plan to spend €277 million between them over the five years to 2019, which will support 3,372 jobs in the region.
Research by W2 Consulting, based on 2014 figures from the port itself and 31 companies using it, shows that it is worth €1.9 billion to the wider economy and handles €7.6 billion in trade annually.
It also shows that Shannon Foynes Port Company and its customers plan to spend €277 million between them over the five years to 2019, which will support 3,372 jobs in the region.
The port company intends to spend €130 million on an expansion plan, dubbed Vision 2041 , that will exploit advantages such as its deep water and sheltered harbours to develop an international trade hub there.
Combined with private sector capital spending, investment there will total €1.8 billion over the plan’s lifetime.
Chief executive, Pat Keating, said that Shannon Foynes will fund its share of this investment from its own resources. “We are generating the cash flow to do this,” he said.
As the EU recognises it as a core European port, Brussels provided it with €3 million last year to aid development. Mr Keating said that it will be able to get more funding from this source as time goes on.
He explained that the company commissioned the study to demonstrate the port’s worth to the regional and national economies.
“We always knew that it had a huge impact, but we didn’t have the figures to back that up,” Mr Keating said. “These are hard figures, collated from at the primary source, there’s no extrapolation.”
Launching the report, Shannon Foynes chairman, Michael Collins, confirmed that business at the port has overtaken levels achieved at the height of the boom in the first decade of the century.
“We have a clear vision for the company that envisages it doubling its trade over the lifetime of our masterplan and driving very significant employment growth across the region,” he said.
He added the completion of the proposed Limerick-Foynes road, already included in Government spending plans, was essential to this ambition.
“The other key project is the regeneration of the disused Limerick to Foynes rail link and a major feasibility study is being advanced in relation to that,” Mr Collins said.
The report’s author, Mark O’Connell, pointed out that the port has already attracted significant investment since the masterplan’s launch in 2013.
“If you take the capital expenditure of €277 million planned by Shannon Foynes Port Company and its customers up to 2019, that’s almost seven times the investment in redeveloping Thomond Park, ” he said.
“ That’s an indication of the importance that the port authority and the estuary will have in the years ahead.”
The port company has statutory jurisdiction over all marine activities and port management on the Shannon Estuary, covering 500sq km from Kerry and Loop in Co Clare to Limerick city.