Southern Ireland’s Port of Cork is implementing a major redevelopment plan that will include the relocation of bulk and container cargo from their current locations in the Tivoli Industrial Estate to a tract 10 kilometers (km) closer to the open sea at Ringaskiddy. Tivoli will then be redeveloped as an urban space.
The construction of the modern Cork Container Terminal (CCT) at Ringaskiddy started following the award of planning permission in 2015. The €86 million ($98.2 million) CCT development is expected to start shifting container operations from the old Tivoli Terminal in 2020.
The chairman of the Port of Cork, John Mullins, said, “The transfer of port-related activities from the city and Tivoli will create a real opportunity for Cork dockland sites to be redeveloped in the near future. This state-of-the-art facility is the most significant single investment in marine infrastructure and superstructure in the history of the Port of Cork Company.”
Cork Container Terminal will continue to link the city with mainland Europe to the east and the Americas to the west, albeit with a larger terminal, including a 360-meter-long quay with a 13- meter draught at the berth. However, Paul O’Reagan, the operations manager at the Port of Cork, told FreightWaves that the draught in the channel will be a little less at 12.5 meters. The terminal storage area will cover 13.5 hectares, allowing for an annual capacity of 240,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in the first phase of the development and increasing to 330,000 TEU subsequently.
O’Reagan also pointed out that the current Brexit developments would be unlikely to have a major effect on the throughput at CCT as the landbridge option, via the United Kingdom, would still be quicker even if border controls were implemented as a result of a no-deal Brexit.
Port operations at Cork will be more efficient. Crane manufacturer Liebherr was recently contracted to build two post-Panamax ship-to-shore container cranes, capable of handling vessels of up to 3,500 TEU in size. Other container-handling equipment such as straddle carriers, which are used to move boxes around a container terminal, have also been ordered by the Port of Cork.
O’Reagan said, “We will operate the terminal ourselves, but the design of CCT has been future-proofed, so it is not initially automated, but we are looking at information technology options such as a full vehicle booking system of the type used at Southampton Container Terminal, and we will move to a smart terminal operating system in the future.”
The plan, according to O’Reagan, is to offer customers a modern terminal with modern technological links and the ability to operate complex logistics chains from the facility.
O’Reagan said that Southern Ireland “is a feeder country,” meaning that the ultra-large container ships of around 20,000 TEU will call at major ports such as Rotterdam, Antwerp and Felixstowe, and that cargo will then be transhipped via smaller feeder vessels to smaller ports like Cork.
All existing customers, including BG Freight, Samskip and Maersk’s CRX service out of South America, will move to CCT, said O’Reagan. He added, “We are in talks with other feeder operators and there is one other mainline operator interested,” but he said it was too early to disclose their names.
Softpak, an IT company, is currently developing a terminal operating system and this will allow direct links to customs and revenue for the automatic release of cargo in a paperless transaction. In addition, technical information-sharing will allow customers to see where their container is and that will create more efficient supply chains.
The terminal operating system will be trialled from around July or August in the old terminal so that the port operator can roll out the system in the new terminal.
The development is being funded by the port through an innovative financing structure that is comprised of Allied Irish Banks, plc., the European Investment Bank, and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund with some self-financing, and a €12 million ($13.7 million) tranche from the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility fund.