Ireland’s largest bulk port company, Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC), has announced plans for an unprecedented expansion at its general cargo terminal, Foynes, adding over two-thirds the size of its existing area.
In the latest phase of a €64million investment programme launched three years ago, SFPC is to invest over €20million in enabling works alone to convert 83acres on the east side of the existing port into a landbank for marine related industry, port centric logistics and associated infrastructure.
The project, which will be developed on a phased basis over the next five years, will require the biggest infrastructure works programme ever undertaken at the port, with the entire 83acre landbank having to be raised to all of 4.4metres. The programme will also require the provision of new internal roads and multiple bridge access as well as roundabout access.
A planning application for the project, which has the capacity to attract hundreds of jobs to the Limerick town, has been lodged with An Bord Pleanála. The same application will also see SFPC seek permission for modifications to its existing jetties and quays, including connecting its two main quays. This will, in turn, extend the area at the port for mooring of vessels and other port related operations.
The development is in line with the long-term programme outlined by SFPC under its Vision 2041 masterplan to transform its ports and the Shannon Estuary into one of the country’s premier economic zones.
The move by SFPC is fully endorsed by the Government with the expansion of SFPC included in the recently published National Planning Framework and Project Ireland 2040 together with the inclusion of the Limerick to Foynes road, which will link the port directly to the national motorway network .
“This planned investment by SFPC is essential if we are to introduce optionality into our existing national supply chain and promote regional balance and development. This investment is fully consistent with the National Development Plan and National Planning Framework and will further establish the port of Foynes as a key national and international freight hub.” said SFPC CEO Patrick Keating.
He continued: “Our business is back to peak boom-time levels in terms of tonnages but we are reaching capacity as it is. So this is not a speculative play, it’s an absolute necessity as projected in Vision 2041 and even more so when the five to seven year lead times are factored in. It is a huge logistical project as we will be raising an 83acre sit 4.4m, the depth essentially of four Olympic swimming pools on top of each other”
The announcement was welcomed by locally based Minister of State at the Department of Finance Patrick O’Donovan. “This investment is a massive vote of confidence by Shannon Foynes Port Company in the potential of the port of Foynes and estuary. It’s also an emphatic statement about the National Planning Framework”
“The port company is on a very impressive footing now, has ambitious plans for the future and has also met and exceeded every single target since it unveiled those plans through Vision 2041 in 2014. This type of forward planning is going to deliver a very bright future for Foynes but, more than that, be a major driver of growth regionally and nationally,” he concluded.
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