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  1. #1
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    Adequacy of Irish Ports

    Of interest to current and future Naval operations is the adequacy of Irish ports to support general Naval deployments and operations. In the National Maritime policy documents and Harbour Acts together with the Mission of the Irish Maritime Development Office there is no mention of the existence of a navy and it's deployment needs in peace or war.
    There is also no mention of the need to provide for repair and maintenance of ships or the need to nurture and encourage a shipbuilding industry. In general our ports are in catharsis, getting rid of elements of traditional port usages , abandoning port areas to developers, and making little effort to provide for redacted facilities.
    In a nut shell we need ports not dependent on tides or lock gates, with unobstructed quay walls with depths ranging from 5m LWS to 12m LWS to accommodate most trades or visiting ships including Naval vessels.
    I was impressed to see the devlopment of Killybegs harbour with sufficient deep water berthage at 12m LWS to have TWO Cruise liners alongside, at the same time, and surprised not to see it listed as important in Government documents outlining the pecking order of Ports.
    Our Port development needs more control and oversight to maintain use by all types of ships and cargo including liquids. Care must be taken not to allow preemptive decisions that may exclude traditional use or exclude public access to visiting Naval Vessels

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    It is sad to note that what once was the Irish Rail goods yard in Cork, with quayside frontage, is earmarked to become yet another hotel/apartment/residential block on the city quays. In doing so, another of the city quays will become unusable to normal shipping, as those not accustomed to the shipping world will complain about the noise and smells that go with the trade. Port of Cork already have a battle on their hands building the new container facility in Ringaskiddy. Locals are complaining about the building noise. They already complain about the noise from the weekly container visitor from central america. Said noise being the cranes moving to location (like a truck reversing alarm), and the containers landing on the ground or deck.
    Wait till they get a load of the new STS dockside cranes, as they ding ding their way up and down the quays, like the luas on a busy shopping day. Meanwhile the people of Blackrock in cork are not looking forward to the departure of the container terminal from Tivoli. Many find the sights and sounds of the activity relaxing as they enjoy the marina walk.

    All over irish coastal towns , and even many on the inland waterways you will find disused commercial quaysides. Once used to bring important goods to and from otherwise remote locations. Odd that on the european continent the same inland waterways are still used to bring all manner of goods from place to place, freeing up the already congested road and rail network. In cork there ised to be ships that brought fuel product from the Refinery in whitegate, to the city quays where there were 3 fuel distribution depots. However all have closed now, and all this fuel now moves by road from Whitegate to everywhere in Cork County, and west Waterford. The narrow R630, where commuters from east cork contend with fuel trucks and agricultural vehicles on a two lane secondary road, on their daily commute. 60 fuel trucks an hour on average, all day, at last count. All this freight could move by sea.

    On a related note, RTE are currently showing a nice documentary on the work of CIL , maintaining the many lighthouses dotted around our coasts.
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    Commander in Chief hptmurphy's Avatar
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    Waterford Port at Belview actually has planning permission for extensions, access to to the major road network and is not impeded by its proximity to the city, the down side being the distance from the point of entry to the estuary.

    Waterford city has ample berthage for smaller liners and Naval Vessels and its suitability for events such as the Tall ships has not gone unnoticed.
    Time for another break I think......

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    The Irish inland waterways don't remotely compare to European canals for commercial use and commercial inland water movement. When you see Dutch/French/German/Austrian/Hungarian live aboard barges (120 feet long, easily twice as broad as a UK/Irish canal barge, pushing or pulling thousands of tons of cargo along wide rivers and canals, it makes you shake your head when you see how unused our inland system is by comparison. A common cargo is building materials, seeing as they are not perishable and can travel slowly, which should be considered here as a basis for a commercial inland water system, considering the drastic need for housing.

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    Waterford is as you say a port that meets requirements for TEN-T ( Trans European Transport Network ) supports but if you couple that with the Government policy NOT to provide financial supports especially to Ports of lesser significance then emerging ports such as Sligo, Killybegs etc have to do it themselves. The policy document is a manual for continued Laissez-faire for the maritime sector. If we cannot ship through the UK then port development and ancillary maritime services are crucial but so also the control of a range of vessel types to move goods, liquids as required promptly.
    Under the new, almost autonomy of Tier 1 Ports , Dublin killed off half the State's drydocking capacity for transient reasons. In many ways, because we are not thinking strategically, we are sure to be goosed in the medium term.

  9. #6
    Commander in Chief hptmurphy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancientmariner View Post
    Waterford is as you say a port that meets requirements for TEN-T ( Trans European Transport Network ) supports but if you couple that with the Government policy NOT to provide financial supports especially to Ports of lesser significance then emerging ports such as Sligo, Killybegs etc have to do it themselves. The policy document is a manual for continued Laissez-faire for the maritime sector. If we cannot ship through the UK then port development and ancillary maritime services are crucial but so also the control of a range of vessel types to move goods, liquids as required promptly.
    Under the new, almost autonomy of Tier 1 Ports , Dublin killed off half the State's drydocking capacity for transient reasons. In many ways, because we are not thinking strategically, we are sure to be goosed in the medium term.
    A lot of Dublins growth was initially built around trade but its growth has meant that the port area is now very restricted and that the transport infrastructure can no longer support the level vehicular traffic using it, probably increasing costs with extra tolls etc. In my mind Dublin for this reason actually needs to be scaled down as the main point of importation, Cork for reasons earlier is again heading for limitations due to planning issues and ports such as Killybegs and Sligo will be hampered by the road/ rail network and lack there of!

    I would suggest that Cork would have its dry dock modernised to deal with repairs etc, Dublins freight movements capped with the excess moved to Waterford which has access to both rail and road.

    At this point in time again for reasons mentioned earlier I would suggest that Waterford is actually the optimum access point for freight to the south of the country......but the road network between Cork and Waterford needs addressing to optimize transhipment.

    But then again Government policy has always been very anti South East, Anti any thing except Dublin when it comes to transport including airports so where can we go from here? ...Around in circles it would seem!
    Time for another break I think......

  10. #7
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    With regard to inland waterways it is slow, suits longer distances and bulk product. To me it would make much more sense to invest in rail freight. Leave the Irish canals to leisure and tourism (maybe investigate if Irish Water could use them as a pipeline).

    Why are Dublin and Cork the major ports? Because that is where most goods are manufactured and where the bulk of the market (population) is. Those ports also have internal connectivity with the road network.

    For various reasons (traffic & port congestion, environmental, regional development etc IMHO the State should be encouraging the more regional ports to develop

    I’d be putting money on a transshipment rail depot somewhere outside Co.Dublin, the TEUs are delivered there and failed to Dublin Port taking a lot of trucks out of the city, flawless plan, definitely not but worth looking at.

    I’d definitely be looking to Rosslare, possibly Wicklow or Arklow, possibly Drogheda, Waterford, Foynes etc

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    I have to disagree there.
    In a past life the Albertkanaal of Belgium was one of my frequent routes. It is only 129km in length. Its former towpaths are now popular cycling and walking greenways. It used to take a full day to get from the start to the end by modern low air draught cargo ship. I often also visited the Belgian port of Ghent, a journey only possible by traversing the Ghent-Terneuzen canal, which is only about 20 miles long, yet this canal can accomodate the largest of vessels. There are plans to expand some of the Locks on the canal to accomodate Panamax vessels.
    Ireland has made huuge strides in removing the rail network that once covered the state. Before the state was founded, every fishing port in West cork and Kerry was served by rail. One by one the lines closed, and the predecessor of Irish rail took up the tracks to ensure they could not be put back into use. Even today there is a campaign to convert the disused midleton to Youghal line to a greenway, at a time when commuter traffic on the N25 serving both towns is at breaking point. Less than a decade ago the Cork-Midleton line reopened, and it has been a huge boost to the towns served by the route.

    Irish Rail once had two freignt yards in Cork. Both have now closed. One is still used for empty container storage. The sad fact is there is still huge capacity for freight on the Irish rail network. Few, if any passenger trains travel between midnight and 6am. You could move a lot of rail freight during this time, should you so desire.However Irish rail have disposed of most of the freight rolling stock.
    Rosslare, the busest port in the South East, has a rail line that stops about a KM from the main terminal. Passengers have to walk the remainder, even though the train stops within the Ferryport fence.

    Again your reasoning for Cork being the largest port is incorrect. The majority of freight going through the port (if you discount Oil products from Whitegate) are containerised goods. Products going out are rarely manufactured in Cork city, though of course there is a large quantity that are, but these manufacturers are present because of proximity to Port. Port is not there because of proximity to manufacturers.
    Some ofthe goods that go out could just as easily leave from any other port capable of taking such a vessel. Houshold waste for example, shipped out almost weekly.
    The fruit that comes in from central america weekly on a huge container ship used to go to Bellvue in Waterford.
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  13. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    With regard to inland waterways it is slow, suits longer distances and bulk product. To me it would make much more sense to invest in rail freight. Leave the Irish canals to leisure and tourism (maybe investigate if Irish Water could use them as a pipeline).

    Why are Dublin and Cork the major ports? Because that is where most goods are manufactured and where the bulk of the market (population) is. Those ports also have internal connectivity with the road network.

    For various reasons (traffic & port congestion, environmental, regional development etc IMHO the State should be encouraging the more regional ports to develop

    I’d be putting money on a transshipment rail depot somewhere outside Co.Dublin, the TEUs are delivered there and failed to Dublin Port taking a lot of trucks out of the city, flawless plan, definitely not but worth looking at.

    I’d definitely be looking to Rosslare, possibly Wicklow or Arklow, possibly Drogheda, Waterford, Foynes etc
    Rush Co Dublin has being mentioned in the past. as the new port

  14. #10
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    Irish rail continue to shut down lines with the Waterford Rosslare line being one of the most recent. Any development has to be cognisant of the fact that 95% of all freight is containerized and thus involves quite an amount of road haulage. The fragmented rail system would not allow for the centralized distribution of container traffic , thus increasing pressure on the road system. But how much of it is moved at night?
    Time for another break I think......

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    A day to do 120km plus loading and unloading time... compare that with road or rail.... it would only make sense for bulk cargo.

    Imagine the work that would be required to make the Irish canals viable for meaningful cargo barges.

    Ghent is a lovely city though, visited there a few times for work.

    For passenger (or cargo) traffic, rail only makes sense where you have high levels of utilisation, Irish Rail doesn’t generally get that as it is too slow and too expensive and lacks intermodality (Rosslare being an excellent example....who owns Rosslare Europort? .... Irish Rail !!). On some of the passenger lines, a minibus would be half full never mind a train but is that due to cost and speed?

    I’m far from an advocate for loss making passenger (or cargo) rail services. .

    Irish Rail once had two freignt yards in Cork. Both have now closed. One is still used for empty container storage. The sad fact is there is still huge capacity for freight on the Irish rail network. Few, if any passenger trains travel between midnight and 6am. You could move a lot of rail freight during this time, should you so desire.However Irish rail have disposed of most of the freight rolling stock.
    Absolutely agree and how many more trucks does that mean have to be used

    Again your reasoning for Cork being the largest port is incorrect. The majority of freight going through the port (if you discount Oil products from Whitegate) are containerised goods. Products going out are rarely manufactured in Cork city, though of course there is a large quantity that are, but these manufacturers are present because of proximity to Port. Port is not there because of proximity to manufacturers.
    Some ofthe goods that go out could just as easily leave from any other port capable of taking such a vessel. Houshold waste for example, shipped out almost weekly.
    Absolutely but that doesn’t necessarily mean that if you built a new port that companies will site there instead. They may but it is a risk, as a line will only put a vessel on a route if they have the utilisation.

    The Ballina-Belview freight line is now gone.

    Unfortunately Irish Rail are generally limited to max 36 TEUs long trains but imagine say 3 freight trains a night going into Dublin or Cork (or anywhere else).... over 100 less trucks into the cities a day

  17. #12
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hptmurphy View Post
    Irish rail continue to shut down lines with the Waterford Rosslare line being one of the most recent. Any development has to be cognisant of the fact that 95% of all freight is containerized and thus involves quite an amount of road haulage. The fragmented rail system would not allow for the centralized distribution of container traffic , thus increasing pressure on the road system. But how much of it is moved at night?
    Don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting freight trains from the 4 corners to Dublin.

    Imagine the traffic on the artery roads into Dublin with 100 less trucks a day coming along say the N7, truck drops TEU at rail depot, that night it goes to the port via rail.

  18. #13
    Commander in Chief hptmurphy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    Don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting freight trains from the 4 corners to Dublin.

    Imagine the traffic on the artery roads into Dublin with 100 less trucks a day coming along say the N7, truck drops TEU at rail depot, that night it goes to the port via rail.
    If it had been planned in line with the development of various ports the rail network would have been the ideal solution to reduce lorry traffic on the roads, but instead Irish rail did the exact opposite with an almost 'scorched earth ' policy intending that it would never be used again. So I can't see us re inventing the wheel on that one which suggests we need to be more innovative about planning our ports...but alas central government have no interest in this either.
    Time for another break I think......

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    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Fixed that for you
    Quote Originally Posted by hptmurphy View Post
    So I can't see us moving away from the square wheel on that one which suggests we need to at least have a basic back of a postage stamp plan for our infrastructure ...but alas no one has any interest in this either.
    Last edited by DeV; 2nd October 2018 at 11:36.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hptmurphy View Post
    If it had been planned in line with the development of various ports the rail network would have been the ideal solution to reduce lorry traffic on the roads, but instead Irish rail did the exact opposite with an almost 'scorched earth ' policy intending that it would never be used again. So I can't see us re inventing the wheel on that one which suggests we need to be more innovative about planning our ports...but alas central government have no interest in this either.
    Our problems are planners who do not think strategically and often are one trick ponies with little consideration of consequences or future collateral damage. We have several options- build three port hubs based on existing or new port areas-follow deep water and be afloat at all times. Minimise mixing heavy freight on motorways with passenger traffic by using a 24hr model with slots for traffic types. Again using a 24 hr model shift as much freight as possible by rail. Stop Council managers and their staffs from shutting down transport infrastructure without creating a historical and future impact study.
    Create freight hubs outside cities and move goods by rail, tunnel, and 24hr time slots as required. Jamming roads with mixed traffic 6-10am and 4-7pm is questionable when there are 24hrs in the day.
    When expanding ports we must use a multiplier when considering quay lengths eg 1000m will take 10 coasters,or 6 deep sea ships,or 3 large bulkers,
    or 3 cruise liners. If the port wants to cater for all three then more quay space is required and queues may form or date based arrivals may have to be used especially Cruise liners who cannot hang about.
    The Midleton-Youghal greenway is an act of vandalism promoted by CCC managers.

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    This is a good example of forward thinking in removing vehicle traffic from Scottish roads...all born out of an academic study into transport on inland waterways.

    I'm not saying this is workable in an Irish context...but it shows what can be achieved by thinking outside the box -

    http://www.greatglenshipping.co.uk/about-us/
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    As an example of a small port being used for heavy freight, don't Leibherr in Kerry use Fenit to get cranes shipped out? Regarding Sligo Port, a friend of mine who is in the know up there told me that the Port barely ticks along, because it needs constant dredging and is too old, small and narrow, in a location that would be ideal for tourist ships.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoneToTheCanner View Post
    As an example of a small port being used for heavy freight, don't Leibherr in Kerry use Fenit to get cranes shipped out? Regarding Sligo Port, a friend of mine who is in the know up there told me that the Port barely ticks along, because it needs constant dredging and is too old, small and narrow, in a location that would be ideal for tourist ships.
    By and large Ports are what you make of them. 50 years ago Killybegs was just a name on the chart, now it is a deepwater port. Sligo suffers from lack of investment with fragmented short berthage . They need to get digging, reclaiming , and putting in quay extensions.
    As we know Cork has been moving city to the estuary but something's not right. In the last couple of years we have ships waiting at anchor for berths. There were two this afternoon-a large bulker and a large bulk coaster. There are obvious handling problems and maybe a shortage of berths?
    As regards Liebherr Two gantry cranes were loaded at the fitting out berths at Cork Dockyard earlier this year on to a specialist heavy lift ship.
    Last edited by ancientmariner; 3rd October 2018 at 17:43.

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    Lord Chief Bottlewasher trellheim's Avatar
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    Foynes IIRC is looking for TEN-T funding
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    Quote Originally Posted by trellheim View Post
    Foynes IIRC is looking for TEN-T funding
    The problem with the European Transport Network model is it's bias towards established Ports within major Road and Rail systems. If you couple that with The Governments Policy of no direct State financial aid , it means emerging Ports will find it difficult to grow to a viable mass. The Killybegs development is worth a study and perhaps be trialled elsewhere. All Nationally important services such as Ports, Communications, Transport, Justice systems, and Defence need to be nurtured by Government.

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    What continues to amaze me is the size, and how busy Castletownbere is, while at the same time served by possibly the worst Regional road in the State. Daily hundreds, if not thousands of tonnes of fish are shipped by road from here to larger unitised freight ports, for transshipping to the spanish fish market.

    Last edited by na grohmití; 7th October 2018 at 21:10.
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    Lord Chief Bottlewasher trellheim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancientmariner View Post
    The problem with the European Transport Network model is it's bias towards established Ports within major Road and Rail systems. If you couple that with The Governments Policy of no direct State financial aid , it means emerging Ports will find it difficult to grow to a viable mass. The Killybegs development is worth a study and perhaps be trialled elsewhere. All Nationally important services such as Ports, Communications, Transport, Justice systems, and Defence need to be nurtured by Government.
    And thus you see a rail study for reopening on Foynes rail link plus a motorway extension see https://www.foyneslimerick.ie/ and https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...18-07-24/2199/
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    Quote Originally Posted by trellheim View Post
    And thus you see a rail study for reopening on Foynes rail link plus a motorway extension see https://www.foyneslimerick.ie/ and https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates...18-07-24/2199/
    Foynes is a port by a series of per chances. If I were picking a port it would have been low on the list of optimum sites. There is a long run in from the prevailing weather to LOOP HEAD and into and across BEAL BAR at the river entrance. There is a long run Northwards to Scattery pilotage, passing Tarbert rapid water and on to Foynes. Emergence of local Alumina, Coal Fired Power at Moneypoint, Offshore exploration, brought shipping. The effort now is to continue by development substitution with hope that it will find critical mass and markets. It reminds me of a middle East Oil Terminal with no shoreside for trapped crews. We used to berth there on the single stone berth to visit the childrens sanitorium with goodies etc. etc.

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    Lord Chief Bottlewasher trellheim's Avatar
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    Oh no I get all that, dont mistake this as anything other than an attempt to hoover up TEN-T fundinf
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    Given that French Channel Ports have more or less been excluded from such funding, it is vital that any Irish port in a position to do so takes what advantage it can.
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