Dublin Port launches 3FM Project

Dublin Port

Dublin Port Company has launched its new 3FM Project, the final project needed to bring the port to its final capacity by 2040.

The project is set to deliver 20% of the capacity required by 2040 on one-fifth of Dublin Port’s land at an estimated cost of €400 million ($452 million).

Construction is set to begin in 2026 and is scheduled to be completed between 2030 and 2035.

The project has six elements, including:

  • A new private road called the Southern Port Access Route (SPAR) to link the north and south port areas, taking HGVs off the public road via a new bridge across the River Liffey immediately east of the Tom Clarke Bridge – giving pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport users a less congested route for active travel across the city.
  • The construction of the largest container terminal in the country in front of ESB’s Poolbeg Power Station with an annual throughput capacity of 360,000 containers (612,000 TEU).
  • The redevelopment of the existing blue container terminal to create a new Ro-Ro freight terminal in its place with an annual throughput capacity of 288,000 freight trailers.
  • Creation of a 325-metre diameter ship turning circle in front of Pigeon House Harbour.
  • Development of 6.1 hectares (15.1 acres) of new public parks in three locations on the Poolbeg Peninsula to provide community gain.
  • Provision of a 1.0-hectare site to accommodate utilities needed, firstly for the city’s district heating scheme powered by the Covanta waste to energy plant and, secondly to accommodate a range of utilities for the Pembroke at Dublin Four development.

“There is very little spare capacity for future growth of unitised trade in Dublin Port or in any port in the country. Planning for long-term needs as far out as 2040 is very difficult and it is important for us in Dublin Port to plan early to ensure that we are ready to construct nationally essential port capacity in advance of demand,” commented Eamonn O’ Reilly, Chief Executive for Dublin Port.

“We are developing Dublin Port based on Masterplan 2040 at an overall estimated cost of €1.6 billion ($1.8 billion) over the 30 years from 2010 to 2040. Port infrastructure is very expensive, and by the end of the year, we will have invested €500 million ($564 million) in the 11 years since 2010. Over the next five years, we will invest a further €450 million ($508 million). We aim to begin to build the €400 million 3FM project in 2026 and to complete it between 2030 and 2035.

“Masterplan 2040 projects that Dublin Port will need capacity for an annual throughput of 3.1 million trailers and containers by 2040. The 3FM project will deliver one-fifth of this capacity by way of a new Lo-Lo terminal – 360,000 containers per annum – and a new Ro-Ro freight terminal – 288,000 freight trailers per annum.”

The next step in the planning stage is the preparation of a detailed design and environmental analysis in advance of lodging a planning application in 2023. Before beginning work in January 2022, Dublin Port Company is consulting a wide range of stakeholders, particularly local communities.

Dublin Port has recently experienced the effect of Brexit on cargo throughput as its figures for the first nine months of 2021 saw port volumes down 3.3%. Through the period January to September 2021, overall port volumes declined to 25.9 million gross tonnes.

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