Port Chairman Reflects on 2009

Port Chairman Reflects on 2009

Thursday 07 January 2010

The Port of Cork Company experienced a challenging year in 2009 with all areas of port business exposed to the current economic slowdown. Over the past fifteen months port customers and the majority of businesses in Ireland, have seen a significant change in trading conditions with an overall reduction in cargo volumes of 18% coming through the port. With export performance expected to be the main driver of growth in the Irish economy next year, as an island nation, this once again clearly illustrates the critical importance of the Port of Cork to the Irish regional and local economy. 7th January 2010

The Port of Cork Company experienced a challenging year in 2009 with all areas of port business exposed to the current economic slowdown. Over the past fifteen months port customers and the majority of businesses in Ireland, have seen a significant change in trading conditions with an overall reduction in cargo volumes of 18% coming through the port. With export performance expected to be the main driver of growth in the Irish economy next year, as an island nation, this once again clearly illustrates the critical importance of the Port of Cork to the Irish regional and local economy.

Reflecting on 2009 and looking ahead for 2010, Dermot O’Mahoney Port of Cork Chairman comments: ‘Throughout 2009 the Port of Cork Company maintained a sustained drive to reduce its cost base, and aimed to continually meet the needs of customers during this difficult period. National Port statistics indicate that the rate and pace of the decline in shipping traffic volumes continued to ease during the 3rd quarter of 2009 with growth forecasted to return in the latter half of 2010.’

While taking account of the current economic downturn, the Port of Cork recognises the longer term growth requirements of the region and has commenced a comprehensive technical, environmental and planning assessment of suitable sites for development to service the business and trading needs of the region.

The Port of Cork is planning to engage with stakeholders in January and February 2010 in relation to the future needs, objectives and required facilities. The Port will also update people on the assessments carried out to date and to afford any interested stakeholders an opportunity to comment on the plans or to raise any particular issues of concern.

In 2009 the Port of Cork successfully completed the Cork Dockers Rationalisation Proposal allowing the port to provide more efficient, reliable and most importantly cost effective shipping services for all users in the future. The port’s commitment to improving the quality of the harbour environment was recognised when the Port of Cork was awarded the ISO 14001 certification.

The Port of Cork remains optimistic for 2010 and in particular the re-establishment by Fastnet Line of the ferry route from Cork to Swansea which will provide a much needed boost to both the local and regional economy at a time when Irish tourism needs it the most, particularly from the UK. Brittany Ferries will continue their popular one weekly service from Cork to Roscoff while the Port will continue to examine the possibility of a Cork to Northern Spain route in the New Year.

The cruise sector will see over 50 vessels visit Cork Harbour in 2010 with the spectacular vessels ‘Eclipse’, ‘Queen Victoria’ and ‘Independence of the Seas’ again expected to bring over 100,000 visitors to the region. The investment in Cobh has seen the port develop as a prime cruise location with its dedicated berth and the only port in Ireland capable of berthing these magnificent vessels.

With a total of 103, 273 passengers and crew visiting Cork in 2009, the impact this has on the local economy is very positive. In a recent study carried out by UK cruise consultants, GP Wild, the average spend per in-transit passenger is approximately €73. This in turn means over €5 million was spent by passengers visiting Cork in 2009, directly contributing to the local economy.

The Port of Cork plays a vital role in the functioning and growth of the national economy and accounts for the second largest share of trade handled across the eleven state commercial seaports.

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