Speech by Port of Cork CEO Brendan Keating at Chamber of Commerce 22 March 2012

Speech by Port of Cork CEO Brendan Keating at Chamber of Commerce 22 March 2012

Tuesday 03 April 2012

Speech by Brendan Keating, CEO Port of Cork Company at Cork Chamber Breakfast Briefing – Wednesday 22nd March 2012

“Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentleman I am delighted to have this opportunity this morning to address you and I want to thank Cork Chamber and most particularly the President Mr. John Mullins and the Chamber Chief Executive Mr. Conor Healy. I also wish to acknowledge the sponsors of this event The Irish Examiner.

The achievement of a sustained recovery from today’s worldwide economic downturn requires, among other things, reliable and accessible ports, delivering prosperity. The Port of Cork therefore is central to a brighter economic future for the Irish economy and for this region because of the value it brings in moving goods to market for both consumers and businesses.

Success today for businesses in Global markets is dependent upon a number of critical factors, one such factor is a competitive, integrated route to market for products. A successful port in securing its future must gain a competitive advantage by integrating seamlessly into the logistics chain.

Logistics therefore are a central aspect of our business. Logistics has moved from being the transport of goods from trucks and sheds to market------- To being the logistics of getting in the right way, the right product, in the right quantity and right quality in the right place at the right time for the right consumer at the right cost. Our world therefore is complex and constantly changing, so much so, that Port container terminals are becoming crucial modes in complex transport networks which are evolving into fewer but more integrated logistic chains.

If I may at this stage, I wish to ask a question, what is the number one component in the logistics chain today?

Emphatically it is the Maritime Transport sector; because today shipping is the most widely used mode of transport in the world, carrying, in volume terms, about 90% of the world’s trade. So, shipping enables the transportation of enormous quantities of goods over long distances in the most environmentally sustainable way. Without shipping the export and import of goods on the scale which we have in the world today, would not be possible.

Shipping however cannot operate without Ports so Ports and Shipping are both dependent on each other and both are critically important components of the logistic chain which enables goods to gain access to global markets.

So What is the Port of Cork Company?

The Port of Cork is Ireland’s premier Deepwater Port and key strategic gateway on the South Coast of Ireland. It is a self financing limited liability company wholly owned by the State. It was established as a corporate entity in 1997 having been the Cork Harbour Commissioners from 1813 and is responsible for the management, control, operation and development of the Port.

We provide world class facilities, services, accommodation and land in the Port for ships, passengers and goods. At the peak in 2008 we handled 10.1 million tonnes of Cargo and had a turnover of €26 million with an operating profit €5.1 million.

Needless to say that has changed in recent years; however in 2011 we handled 8.6 million tonnes and operated profitability for the year. The Port of Cork is one of only two Irish Ports which service the requirements of all six shipping modes these include lift on lift off (Load on Load Off), roll on roll off, liquid bulk, dry bulk, break bulk and cruise liner traffic.

The Port of Cork while small in comparison with Europe’s major hub ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg, Le Havre, Felixstowe and Southampton, is nevertheless one of the major ports in the Irish State, the others being Dublin and Shannon Foynes. The Port of Cork, together with the other Irish Ports are the lifeblood of the country’s trade, and we play a very significant role in helping and supporting the recovery of the Irish economy. It has been widely reported that in eighteenth month period up to December 2011, Irish exports recorded very strong growth. We in the Port of Cork have played a significant role in this story, for a long period of time. More importantly however we have the capacity and the commitment to grow and develop the Port through the building of a necessary infrastructure to handle the trade and in so doing, help strengthen Cork as a Gateway.

A challenge for us today is to maintain our position as a significant player in the dynamic mode of global production and distribution networks. This will require a greater focus on the process of participating in global trading activities as opposed to offering port facilities and services alone. Also required is Port infrastructure with the capacity to handle ships which continue to increase in size.

Ringaskiddy with its deepwater facilities is unique, in Ireland; it is a global gateway and has potential for significant growth by virtue of its location and the fact that it forms part of an industrial cluster of international scale.

Having such a unique and valuable facility available, in our backyard as a driver of economic activity gives the region a significant competitive edge. Dr. Richard Maloney of University College Cork in an economic impact study undertaken in 2007, estimated the value of exports handled by the Port of Cork at €18 billion and he also estimated the value of imports to be €7 billion. I suggest very strongly, these figures speak for themselves and serve to illustrate in the strongest possible terms the value of the Port to this region but more particularly to the businesses and the jobs which it supports.

Some unfortunately, do not recognise the value the Port brings to our society and do not appreciate that in today’s Global economy Seaports such as the Port of Cork are significant engines of economic growth. In the world where trading activities are critical today, Ports generate trillions of euros of economic activity; support the employment of millions of people through the imports and exports of millions of tonnes of goods and cargo. Ports deliver prosperity to millions of people throughout the world including Ireland.

If Ireland and more particularly Cork is to continue to develop its open economy, which is dependent upon trade for growth and prosperity, there is a need for our Port to grow and expand so that our economy and our businesses can grow and prosper. Ireland as an island with peripheral status requires that we have ports such as the Port of Cork, which allow goods to be delivered to consumers and businesses at the lowest cost and as quickly as possible. If the Port of Cork is deprived of the opportunity of developing its facilities, this will have the effect of undermining the competiveness of businesses in the region, and in turn will undermine the regions ability to participate in and benefit from valuable trading opportunities in Global Markets.
Another challenge for the Port of Cork is to ensure that its infrastructure has capacity to match traffic growth for both unitised and non unitised cargo’s. It is worth noting that today Ireland’s port infrastructure is ranked by the O.E.C.D. at 16th of 19 countries.

If you bear with me I wish to set out the benefits which I see as accruing to the region from trading activities.

They are:

1. Economic Growth

2. The availability of a wider variety of goods and services to consumers and businesses at lower prices thereby contributing to higher standards of living for people

3. Increased employment levels ( today the E.U. commission states that 36million jobs or 18% of the E.U. workforce is dependent on trade performance)

Cork Harbour “Statio Bene Fida Carinis” has many significant natural attributes and unlike many other Ports in Ireland it has deepwater facilities, it is sheltered and therefore provides a safe haven for shipping in all weather conditions. Located on the south coast of Ireland, it links Cork and the South of Ireland, incorporating the entire Munster Region, with markets worldwide.

For the Lo Lo (Load on Load off) trade we have well established trading routes for container traffic into Northern Europe to Ports such as Rotterdam, Antwerp and Felixstowe, London, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Radicatel (France), Zeebrugee.

For the RoRo (Roll on Roll off) including containers, trade cars and other cargo we have established trading routes into Northern and Southern Europe to Port’s such as Esbjerg and Wallhamn in the Baltic to Bristol, Southampton and Antwerp. In Southern Europe to Barcelona, Valetta (Malta), Pireaus (Greece), Izmir, Limassol (Cyprus), Alexandria (Egypt), Palermo, Salerno, Savona (Italy) and Setúbal (Portugal). Added to this there are indirect links into Africa namely Dakar, Lagos and Douala.

The crude oil for Whitegate oil refinery has traditionally come from the North Sea, however depletion of supply from this source means that the product is now sourced from locations from much further afield such as North and West Africa.

The Port has a once weekly service operated by Brittany Ferries, from March to October each year linking Cork with Roscoff in Brittany, France.

Bulk products, such as animal feed and grain for the major part originate in the USA, South America and mainland Europe.

The lead and zinc concentrate exported through the Port links us with Spain, Germany, U.S.A. and China.

The cruise business has established Cork harbour as a significant tourist destination for cruise passengers from U.S.A., the U.K., Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, Australia and Russia.

The Port of Corks Strategic Plan examined the future development of Cargo handling capacity in the context of achieving a balance between economic social and environmental aspects of Port operations while achieving an acceptable return on investment.

At the conclusion of a lengthy process of evaluation of appropriate sites in the Harbour it was decided that Ringaskiddy was the most suitable.

The Plan also established that by 2030 that container traffic will have doubled, Bulk cargoes will have also doubled and liquid bulk with have increased by 15%


(the Port is expected to be handling:-
- 380,000 t.e.u. approx
- 30,850 RoRo units
- 1.8m tonnes of Bulk Cargo
- 7m tonnes of Liquid Bulk Cargo)
The additional facilities required include
• a new container terminal adjacent to the Ferry Terminal Building in Ringaskiddy.
• Bulk and general cargo facilities located at the Deepwater Berth / ADM Jetty in Ringaskiddy
• Additional Berth / Cargo facilities (Hopefully at Marino Point if we succeed in buying it )
• A Multipurpose berth adjacent to the proposed container terminal
• Bulk Liquid handling and storage facilities at Marino Point”


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