Port of Cork 'Resilient' during 2009

Port of Cork 'Resilient' during 2009

Monday 19 July 2010

19th July 2010

The Chairman of the Port of Cork, Mr Dermot O’Mahoney commented on the company’s annual results for 2009 stating that the Port of Cork had delivered a resilient performance given the national economic recession. Total traffic at the Port of Cork amounted to 8.3 million tonnes, a decrease of 17.8% on the 10. 1 million tonnes achieved during 2008. This reduction was caused directly by the economic slowdown in the Irish economy since the second half of 2008. Turnover amounted to €20.8 million, a decrease of 20.8%, however an operating profit of €1.5 million after deducting costs including exceptional costs of docker and Lift on – Lift off (LOLO) stevedoring rationalisation of €6.3 million, resulted in a loss on ordinary activities after taxation, of €4.9 million.

Oil traffic which accounts for 60.93% of cargo handled through the Port of Cork decreased by 16.8% to 4.84 million tonnes.  The Port of Cork remains the second busiest Port in Ireland in terms of the number of containers handled, however container traffic reduced by 20% to 148,621 TEU’s.  In 2009 containers shipped through the Port of Cork were destined to and from the mainland European ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp and Zeebrugee. Additionally, there is a weekly service linking Ringaskiddy in Cork with Scandinavia, North West Europe and the Mediterranean. Non-oil traffic accounted for 3.48 million tonnes in 2009, a decrease of 789,434 tonnes or 18.47% when compared with the same period in 2008.

Trade figures for the first half of 2010 suggest that there may be a stabalisation in trade as activity levels are generally in line with those of the same period of 2009. Increases in certain trades such as bulks and trade cars and the fact that other trades are starting to consolidate is encouraging.

Mr. O’Mahoney said: “Sustaining the Port business in the current economic climate has required a continued focus on innovation and change in the business practices.   Similar to our customers, the Port of Cork has taken an aggressive position on controlling costs.”

Despite challenges of the current economic environment the Port of Cork are continually seeking out new business and trading opportunities and are confident all efforts in this area will be successful in time.

Chief Executive, Mr. Brendan Keating pointed out that The Company’s sustained commitment to investment in the Port is a clear demonstration of confidence in the potential for business development and trade growth along with supporting our commitment in providing first class port facilities to customers.

The achievement of higher levels of efficiencies across all Port activities continues to be a priority in maintaining the competitiveness and attractiveness of the Port to customers. A key milestone in this regard was the completion of the Dock Rationalisation Programme in February 2009.  This agreement saw the elimination of the casual dock labour system in the Port.  In addition to improving the competitive position, it will also help improve levels of flexibility and responsiveness to customers thereby making a significant contribution to supporting the drive for business growth.

Mr. Keating said: “The Docker Rationalisation programme presented the Port of Cork Company with the opportunity to enter into an agreement with the Stevedores, which resulted in the Company taking control of all aspects of Lift on Lift off trade in the Port.  This additional milestone agreement, completed in July 2009, has made a dramatic improvement to efficiency and has contributed to long-term competiveness thereby helping secure the future of the Port.”

During 2009 the Port of Cork Company undertook a comprehensive review of the planning refusal by An Bord Pleanála for a new container terminal at the Oyster Bank, Ringaskiddy. Arising from this review it was decided to prepare a new Port Strategic Plan a key element of which involved a comprehensive evaluation of suitable sites in Cork Harbour for a new container terminal. Following detailed technical assessments and consideration of all issues raised during the stakeholder engagement, the primary location in the lower harbour for the relocation of port activities from the upper harbour is Ringaskiddy. 

Speaking about the outcome of the Strategic Development Plan Review, Mr. Keating said: “Ringaskiddy is already the location of extensive investment in Port facilities where considerable volumes of port trade are handled. The development of additional Port facilities at this location would mean that demands associated with the world wide trend towards larger vessels could be met in the Port and also the development would be consistent with the objectives of Cork County Development Plan.”

However he added it was critical that the upgrade of the N28 should be advanced as a priority action to support the Port and the other vitally important industries located in the Ringaskiddy area.

He continued: “The Port of Cork is confident that new port facilities can be delivered in support of the business and trading needs of the region.  It is a strong belief of the Port of Cork Company that the provision of Port infrastructure capacity is essential in enhancing the economic prospects for Cork City, County and the South West Region.”

In 2009, the company hosted 54 cruise ships carrying in excess of 103,000 passengers and crew which contributed in excess of €44 million to the economy of the region. The investments made by the Port of Cork Company in the development of cruise facilities in Cobh is now showing positive returns with booking levels continuing to grow.  The Port of Cork Company is committed to the further development of this business by the investment of additional capital in the next three to five years.  

Towards the end of 2009, the Port of Cork implemented a Leisure and Recreation Strategy for Cork Harbour. The primary focus of the strategy is on water based Leisure and Recreation activities in and around Cork Harbour in which the Port of Cork aims to play a leading role in providing and supporting improvements of amenities in these areas. Consultation with community groups, water related clubs, statutory bodies and other interested parties will be an important feature of continuing this strategy in the future. The new Port of Cork City Marina is the first marina facility in the heart of Cork City and a key advance of the Leisure and Recreation Strategy.

The Port of Cork Company is committed to the highest standards in environmental management programmes through the implementation of global best practice and is accredited under ISO14001 and the EcoPorts foundation. Sustaining the quality of the environment in Cork Harbour, particularly in areas which have the potential to be affected or influenced by Port Operations, is a priority for the Company. 

ENDS

For further information please contact:

Sara Dymond
Commercial Marketing Executive
Port of Cork Company
Custom House Street
Cork
Ireland

Tel: +353 (0) 21 4625 375
Fax: +353 (0) 21 4276 484

www.portofcork.ie
www.youtube.com/portofcork

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