Consultants will help chart Rosslare Port's future
Consultants have been appointed to help chart the way ahead for Rosslare Europort which needs significant investment to help its compete and to expand its operations.
The port authority Iarnród Éireann has appointed consultants Rebel - a Rotterdam-based firm of specialist shipping and port consultants who formed a consortium with DKM Economic Consultants and STS International, a Wexford-based firm of specialist RoRo shipping consultants to assist in the process of assessing market interest in, and evaluating opportunities from, a concession structure for the operation of the port.
The appointment follows a study by Indecon Consultants for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport which examined strategic options for the future of the Europort, to maximise its potential and address future investment requirements.
The report recommended that the Europort remain in the ownership of Iarnród Éireann, but with a long term concession with a third party.
The market consultation process being undertaken by Rebel on behalf of Rosslare Europort will assess interest and evaluate opportunities from a concession structure, including investment options for the future development of the Europort, which the concession proposal is designed to support.
Rosslare Europort is Ireland's second busiest in terms of ship visits, unitised freight and passenger numbers, and is designated as one of only five ports of national significance in the National Ports Policy. The Port has recorded volume growth (freight and trade cars combined) of 7.1 per cent in 2015 to date, on top of 5.5 per cent growth in 2014.
Earlier this year, Iarnród Éireann briefed all 73 employees at the port and will now commence the process of consulting with the market to assess interest and evaluate opportunities from a concession structure, which would be commonplace in ports in the EU and beyond.
Port general manager John Lynch said at the time that every business needs investment if it is to prosper and grow, and like every other industry, 'we in the ports industry need to invest in our business'.
He said the trend was for longer and deeper ships, which meant the port had to modernise its infrastructure.
'If 20 years ago we hadn't put in place the infrastructure we have now and planned for the ships we have today, we wouldn't still be in business,' he told this newspaper.
'What we are doing now is planning for the ships that are going to be in Rosslare 20 or 30 years,' he said.
'We have identified a number of possible development options. One is deepening the existing berth two to handle deeper roro ships and the other is the construction of a new berth on the reclaimed land that would have enough space capable of a roro ramp deeper water.'
Mr. Lynch said the berth deepening option had, in 2010 been costed at €40.5 million, while the construction of a new berth, in a number of phases as the market demanded, would cost between €65 and €70 million.