Dublin Port head defends decision to cut number of cruise ships

The CEO of Dublin Port has defended the company’s proposal to limit cruise liner traffic because of capacity issues.

Eamonn O’Reilly told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that the plan is to reduce the number of cruise ships allowed into Dublin from 160 this year to 80 in 2021 because of the need for increased capacity for container traffic when the UK leaves the EU.

It is necessary to ration available capacity, he explained given the competition for berth spaces.

Mr O’Reilly said Dublin Port company had a long discussion with the Minister for Transport Shane Ross this week during which they discussed Brexit, borrowing and cruise berths.

“The Minister expressed his concern and we explained our rationale.”

He said there was a choice to either satisfy the demands of the cruise industry or the capacity to import.

Cruise ships use Alexandria Basin into which a new ro/ro (roll on/roll off) operator will be moving, he added, this will handle twice the volume of freight business that currently passes through Rosslare Harbour.

Among the items being imported through this new service will be animal feed, cars and freight, all of which will be impacted by Brexit, he said.

When asked if the Port is ready in case of a no deal Brexit, Mr O’Reilly said they are “as ready as we can be.”

Eight hectares of land in the Port has been “given over to it” and new border posts will be ready for March 29.

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