Brexit border controls ‘won’t hit Dublin Port’

The re-introduction of border controls with Britain due to Brexit will not adversely impact Dublin Port, its CEO has insisted.

“Over the next two months, we will finalise our plans for the required reintroduction of border controls on trade with Britain and I am confident that the controls required will not significantly hinder the movement of goods or people through Dublin Port,” said Eamonn O’Reilly, CEO of the Dublin Port Company, the semi-state body that operates the facility.

He conceded that Brexit will bring “uncertainties and challenges” to the port’s business, but that investments by the port company and its customers “is underpinned by a shared confidence in the future”.

Earlier this month, Irish Continental Group, which owns and operates the Irish Ferries brand, said it has placed an order for a new €165m ferry that will sail between Dublin and Holyhead. The vessel will be the world’s largest in terms of vehicle capacity and will be delivered in 2020.

Passenger numbers on ferries using Dublin Port rose for a second year in a row during 2017, with the figure up 1.8pc to 1.84 million.

The number of cruise ships arriving at Dublin Port was 127, with the number of visitors breaching the 210,000 mark for the first time. That visitor number was up 32pc in 2016.

Cargo volumes through Dublin Port during 2017 also hit record levels for the third year in a row, rising 4.3pc to 36.4m gross tonnes.

Since 2013, volumes at the port – the biggest on the island – have jumped 30.1pc.

Imports through the port rose 3.9pc to 21.5m gross tonnes last year, while exports were 4.9pc higher at 14.9m tonnes.

“Growth of 4.3pc in 2017 confirms that the longstanding trend of compounding annual growth in Dublin Port is back,” said Mr O’Reilly.

“Every year from 1993 to 2007 was a record year in Dublin Port,” he added. “In the past three years we have seen this pattern re-emerge, with 2017 the third year in a row for record growth.”

He said that cargo volumes are expected to increase by 5pc at Dublin Port this year, driven by domestic demand, population growth, and a strong economy.

Mr O’Reilly said those factors would drive cargo volumes up “for the foreseeable future”.

Dublin Port is currently engaged in a major capital project to expand facilities.

It invested €75m in port infrastructure last year, and will spend an additional €132m this year.

“Thereafter, investment plans will need to accelerate to ensure that Dublin has sufficient port capacity for the years ahead,” it noted yesterday.

Imports of new trade vehicles fell 4.6pc, reflecting the significant increase in the number of used cars being brought into Ireland from the UK.

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