Dublin Ports Plans Expansion with Ireland’s Largest Container Terminal

Dublin Ireland port expansion with largest container terminal
Ireland's largest container terminal would be built accross the River Liffey (Dublin Port)

Published Nov 22, 2021 7:34 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Dublin Port Company is planning the long-term expansion of the port to meet the country’s future needs, including the construction of the largest container terminal in Ireland. When the project is completed in 2040, they will have invested a further $450 million in addition to current and previous projects adding another 20 percent to the port’s capacity.

“There is very little spare capacity for future growth of unitized trade in Dublin Port or in any other port in the country,” explains Eamonn O’Reilly, Dublin Port’s Chief Executive. “We are developing Dublin Port based on Masterplan 2040 at an overall estimated cost of €1.6 billion over the 30 years from 2010 to 2040.  Port infrastructure is very expensive and, by the end of this year, we will have invested €500m in the 11 years since 2010.  Over the next five years, we will invest a further €450m.  We aim to begin to build the €400m 3FM Project in 2026 and to complete it between 2030 and 2035. “

One of the key elements of the master plan is the creation of an entirely new container terminal with the capacity to handle 612,000 TEU annually. The new container terminal will have the capacity for more than twice the number of containers handled in all the other Irish ports in 2020. The plan also calls for the redevelopment of the existing container terminal to create a new Ro-Ro freight terminal with the capacity to handle 288,000 freight trailers annually. A new 1,000-foot plus turning basin would also be created at the port.

According to port officials, “pinch points” are already evident in the north port area post Brexit creating the need both for ongoing projects as well as the long-term planning to accommodate Ireland’s future growth. The overall port has seen 44 percent volume growth in the past decade with 37 percent growth in the Lo-Lo operations. Since Brexit, growth has accelerated with 2021 volumes expected to be 14 percent higher than 2020.  

“Masterplan 2040 projects that Dublin Port will need capacity for an annual throughput of 3.1 million trailers and containers by 2040,” says O’Reilly.  “The 3FM Project will deliver one-fifth of this capacity by way of a new Lo-Lo terminal – 360,000 containers per annum – and a new Ro-Ro freight terminal – 288,000 freight trailers per annum.”

Another important part of the plan is the goal to re-integrate Dublin Port with Dublin city. The master plan calls for a new road and bridge across the River Liffey linking parts of the port to remove truck traffic from local roads to create additional capacity for pedestrian, cycle, and public transit in the city. New cycle and pedestrian routes would be created in the port, new public access areas as well as providing the utilities and waste-to-energy facilities to support port operations.

The port has begun a public comment period until the end of the year and in 2022 begin the planning process and meetings with local stakeholders. They expect to file the planning application in 2023 to receive approval in 2024 and commence construction by 2026. The project will be completed in phases between 2030 and 2035.