The cruise industry is worth EUR 50 million to Irish tourism. However, an announcement by Port Dublin, stating it will reduce the number of passenger ships coming into the Irish capital from 2021, was met with concern.
In 2018, 150 cruise ships visited Dublin port. In 2019, the number will rise to more than 160. From 2021, just 80 ships will be able to get access to berths.
Dublin Port Company said that was because cargo volumes were up by over 1/3 since 2012, leading to tighter berthing space at the cruise port. According to Dublin Port, due to the EUR 1 billion cost of capital works (scheduled between 2019-2028), it was necessary for the company to "introduce a system to better balance the allocation of berths for essential year-round cargo services and for seasonal cruise ships".
World's largest cruise industry association (CLIA) also expressed disappointment, saying the decision to move from highly-regulated cruise calls to an "extremely restrictive regime" was worrying. It was informed that Port Dublin would only allow two large cruise ships per week in the summer, just one large liner per week during winter and no turnarounds (homeporting operations with roundtrips).
According to Dublin Port, the new policy will see the same cruise ship activity level as in 2010 and since the 1980s, it has provided "considerable financial support from its own resources to develop cruise tourism to the capital."
Dublin Port says that to cater for large cruise ship numbers in the future, new berths have to be built at the North Wall Quay Extension, adjacent to Tom Clark Bridge. The port has called for co-financing and long-term financial guarantees from cruise companies, a requirement that is set out in the Port’s Masterplan 2040.