A REVIEW of potential sites for the development of a new container terminal in Cork harbour will be completed by early next year, according to Port of Cork chief executive Brendan Keating.
Mr Keating said the decision by An Bord Pleanála to refuse planning permission for a new container terminal and multipurpose berth at Oysterbank near Ringaskiddy was disappointing, but the company was moving ahead to find alternatives.
Mr Keating conceded that the decision was a setback for the company and was all the more disappointing given the recognition of the project as being of strategic importance to the economy.
After the project was refused in June 2008, the company completed a review of all aspects of the application and the decision by An Bord Pleanála, said Mr Keating.
“Following the review of the planning decision, the port is also . . . undertaking a review of the strategic plan and is committed to re-examination and consultation on potential suitable sites within Cork Harbour and we aim to have this completed by early 2010.
“It is our strong belief that the development of new port infrastructure capacity is essential for economic enhancement of Cork city and region and for the competitiveness of the Irish economy, enabling it to realise its economic potential and facilitate growth and trade.”
Mr Keating made his comments as the Port of Cork published its report for 2008 which showed an increase in annual turnover of 5.5 per cent to €26.3 million despite a reduction in traffic by 5 per cent attributable to the slowdown of the economy.
The report showed the company reported a profit of ordinary activity before tax of €4.1 million and a profit after tax of €3.3 million after cost of sales, administration expenses and exceptional items were deducted.
Total traffic at the port fell by 5 per cent to 10.1 million tonnes in 2008. Oil traffic fell by 4.4 per cent to 5.8 million tonnes and accounted for 57.6 per cent of cargo handled through the port.
Non-oil traffic accounted for 4.28 million tonnes in 2008 marking a decrease of 179,185 tonnes or 4.56 per cent compared with the same period in 2007 while cereals, coal, bulk fertiliser and animal feed showed marginal increases.
Cork remains the second busiest port in Ireland in terms of container traffic despite a reduction of 6.97 per cent.