Dublin port expansion plan gets under way with laying of first underwater piles

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  • First piles sunk of €230m redevelopment
  • Alexandra Basin to be demolished
  • Wil enable crusie ships to turn in the port

In a historic week for Dublin Port, the first piles were sunk of the €230m development that will see the demolition of Alexandra Basin and new berthing facilities for cruise ships up to 330m closer to the city centre, as well as facilities enabling cruise ships to turn within the harbour.

Pat Ward of Dublin port said We were only able to turn a 300 metre ship in Alexandra Basin. we will see 360m cruise ships coming up the harbour in 2020From the East Link bridge 10km out we are going to deepen the channel, we are going to cut 120 metres off north wall extension and we We will focus on home porting, we have fantastic air connectivity and a nice ten minute leisurely walk down to O’Connell. The aim is to have 20 ships a year home porting in Dublin. Watch here interview with Pat Ward.

This year 121 cruise ships will call compared with 93 last year. Last year 137,000 passengers arrived, a figure which would creep up towards 200,000 in 2016. Last July 23 four cruise ships arrived simultaneously in town bringing 30,000 passengers into the city.

Watch here the Captain of Celebrity Silhouette Captain Athanasios Peppas talking about his 8km reverse into the harbour, an hour looking backwards during a briefing in Dublin for travel writers on board the ship.

Dublin Port Company say it is busier currently than it was during the boom, with an average of 20 ships a day arriving during the first three months of 2016.

That scheme will be completed in four years. The Alexandra Basin Redevelopment will deepen and extend berths, enabling it to handle bigger vessels and facilitating their berthing closer to the city centre.

Pat Ward said that the port would be able to accommodate two cruise ships of 330 metres as well as other 220 metre ships at the same time when redevelopment is completed at the end of a five-year plan. The port could be ready for the 2020 cruise season.

He said the Port Authority were looking at mixed development which would encompass a hotel and exhibition space to complement the Conference Centre. These areas could then be used as a terminal when required with full security scanning facilities and checkin area a terminal to rival the homeport terminals in Southampton, Amsterdam or Barcelona,. But he warned that it could not be justified until the port had a greater turnover of cruise ships. He said that over the last two years the cruise industry has shown that it has huge interest in Dublin as a cruise home port.

“The two crucial factors are connectivity from the airport and ease of transfer to the port. Dublin is now one of the most connected airports to North America in Europe. It has more connectivity than any airport in Europe’s largest cruise market, Germany, for instance. And with the tunnel, the port is now just 15 minutes from the airport.

Historically Dublin port could only handle ships of 300m length. This changed in the last year when Harbourmaster David Bingham went to the maritime school in Cobh to advise major cruise lines on bow to manoeuvre Dublin Port on a simulator. Dignam showed that larger cruise ships could be reversed into position. Hence the arrival in 2015 of the 330m MSC Splendida.

He said that the redevelopment of the port will see Alexandra Basin transformed and 120 metres on the north wall extension lopped off to create a turning space the larger cruise ships. Ships wil be able to berth as far upriver as East Link Bridge, adding a new dimension to the cityscape.

The European Investment Bank has provided €100m in finance for the Alexandra Basin project. It is part of a major masterplan for Dublin Port that is designed to steer expansion to cope with growth up to 2040.

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