The Port of Cork has announced an investment of €3 million in new plant equipment following an agreement with crane manufacturer, Liebherr. The investment includes a new LHM 550 Harbour Mobile Crane which will be in operation at Ringaskiddy Deep-water Berth.
Increasingly, importers to the Port of Cork are using Panamax size vessels of over 200 metres in length, so providing the most capable equipment to discharge these vessels is vital to ensuring a fast and efficient turnaround. With the recent fodder crisis in Ireland, the Port of Cork has seen an increase of hay shipments and dry bulk to the port, justifying the need for new plant equipment. The new LHM 550 crane will enhance the Port of Cork’s capabilities in handling this type of vessel and is critical to efficient bulk and container discharge operations in Ringaskiddy.
Over the last two years, the Port of Cork has invested up to €7 million in the Ringaskiddy Deep-water Berth demonstrating their commitment to providing the best possible service to port customers. Following the purchase of additional handling equipment in Ringaskiddy in 2012, the Port of Cork and global shipping company Maersk, were able to commence their direct container service to Ireland. Container services such as this have enabled the Port of Cork to greatly increase volumes of imports and exports. The Port has seen a dramatic increase of almost 50% in bulk cargo and anticipates a further increase in demand in this dry bulk sector highlighting the need for continued investment in new equipment.
Speaking about the investment, Mr Denis Healy Manager of Engineering Services/Deputy Chief Executive, Port of Cork said: “The LHM 550 crane is designed for versatile and efficient cargo handling and will provide greater efficiency for all our customers. This adds to the recent investment the Port made last year in our new Container Terminal handling operations in Ringaskiddy. The Port has seen a dramatic increase in throughput in Ringaskiddy mainly due to an increase in bulk cargo and with the current fodder crisis in Ireland; there have been a number of large shipments of hay arriving into the Port.”
The Port of Cork is ideally located to offer state of the art facilities in the offshore oil exploration market in the Celtic Sea and Porcupine basin. In 2012 the Port of Cork successfully assisted with the BarryRoe Oil Exploration Project. This creates opportunities and challenges for the Port in terms of berths available; however the Port is confident that the current development plans for Ringaskiddy will answer the needs of the port and those of the region in the short, medium and long term.
Other areas which the Port of Cork anticipates an increase is the agri-business, particularly when the reforms to the CAP come into effect in 2015. The Port of Cork expects to handle much larger shipments in the future so it is imperative that the Port has the right equipment and berths available to be able to handle different types of cargo.
The Port of Cork is a key link to the economic success of Ireland and in particular the entire Munster region. 98% of goods imported or exported from Ireland are moved by ship, highlighting the importance of ports to our economy. Earlier in the year, the Port of Cork outlined plans for potential Port development in Ringaskiddy. These proposed developments are the first phase of the implementation of the Port of Cork’s Strategic Development Plan Review (2010), the core principles of which were endorsed in the recently launched National Ports Policy.
This Policy has also identified the continued commercial development of the Port of Cork Company as a key strategic objective in terms of allowing the Port of Cork to meet the needs of the Country in the short, medium and long-term. It is the hoped that the Port of Cork will be in a position to lodge a planning application for the future development of Ringaskiddy at the end of 2013.