Dublin Port Company welcomed a decision by An Bord Pleanála to give permission for Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR) Project expected to transform the infrastructure of Port of Dublin and enable it to service Ireland's economy for decades ahead. The ABR project will increase port’s ability to handle big ships by lengthening and deepening 3 kilometres of port’s 7 kilometres of berths. The project will also deepen Dublin Port to provide an at least 10-meter-deep entrance channel.
ABR is the largest infrastructure development project in Dublin Port's history. The project is expected to take 5 years to complete, with estimated costs EUR 230 million.
The decision comes as Dublin Port trade volumes continue to rise with 2015 set to be a record year. Total throughput (imports and exports) has risen by 5% during the first half of the year. Imports are growing strongly at 5.6% as domestic economy improves.
2015 will also be a record year for port’s cruise business with nearly 100 ships bringing 200,000 cruisers to Dublin expected for the whole year. These include some of the largest cruise ships in the world, such as Royal Princess, Celebrity Silhouette and MSC Splendida, measuring up to 333 meters in length. Until now those ships had to reverse into Dublin Port. The ABR Project will let larger vessels to routinely call at the port, turn within Alexandra Basin and berth close to East Link Bridge.
Dublin port is also seeing growth in ferry passenger numbers in the six months to June, up 4.8% on routes between Dublin and France, and between Dublin and Britain.
The ABR is the first major project from the Masterplan of Dublin Port 2012-2040. Dublin Port Company has also worked on smaller projects including a new high capacity firewater main and completion of Alexandra Quay Container Terminal, as well as a new terminal for imported cars. The redevelopment of 8 hectares of land within Dublin port is also underway and the company will shortly settle a planning application with Dublin City Council to re-develop port's road network and ensure it has the capacity needed to handle the doubling in port volumes by 2040.
Dublin is Ireland’s largest port, as well as one of 83 core cruise ports on EU’s TEN-T network. The EU agreed funding of EUR 2.4 million in October 2014, toward the costs of Dublin Port Company to bring ABR Project through to a point of being ready for construction.
On June 30, 2015 the European Commission announced EUR 22.8 million further funding for poject's construction phase. Finally, the ABR is also under appraisal by the EIB (European Investment Bank) for EUR 100 million of long-term debt finance.