Foynes port is set to become a major transit point for the transport of freight to and from the US following an announcement from Minister Denis Naughten.
Deputy Mayor of the Metropolitan District of Limerick, Daniel Butler has said that Minister Naughten’s proposed plans for Foynes port would require investment from both public and private sectors.
“t’s not just going to be funded through public funding but certainly the main parts of the infrastructure will have to be funded publicly,” he said.
Shannon Foynes Port Company, Ireland’s second largest port operation, handles the largest vessels entering Irish waters and has a track record of continuous growth and innovation.
The competitive ability of Foynes port depends not only on its geographical position but primarily on the freight handling rate inside the port, where the capacity of shipments are particularly important.
The construction and development of road and rail networks at Foynes port are crucial for linking the port to Ireland’s main transport networks.
Speaking on the proposed reopening of the Limerick to Foynes rail line, Mr Butler said, “It would be used for heavy freight. It would be more suitable to carry bulk that trucks wouldn’t be able to carry.”
Mr Butler commented on the cost of reopening the line and said that it would be used on a daily basis and would carry full freight loads which would be funded and paid for by the company transporting the goods.
“It would be under a different funding model to that of the line in Ballybrophy that’s dependent on customers so this would be a far more sustainable model,” he said.
The development of european seaports is taking place under severe market conditions and strong competition.
In such cases, ports tend to make profit primarily by focusing on the quality of services, competitive prices and good hinterland connections.
Mr Butler said, “I think there’s demand for a capacity with a lot of the major ports in Europe beyond capacity now.”
“There is definitely demand for greater movement of goods around Europe and Ireland is a great access point into Europe,” he continued.
Speaking on Minister Naughten’s suggestion that Foynes could rival that of Rotterdam port, Mr Butler said, “We have a greater capacity here to take larger freight where Rotterdam is actually struggling at the moment to take those loads and in Foynes we have an under-utilised resource.”
He said that the project would see growth in the manufacturing industry in Limerick and localised development in Foynes would take pressure off the city and would offer more equal and balanced development throughout the city and the county of Limerick.