The Port of Cork is experiencing a positive outlook for 2023, with chief commercial officer Conor Mowlds noting the increased business from cruise ships. Mowlds highlights the contribution of cruise ships to the local economy, with over 100 ships expected to visit the port this year. The cruise ship traffic has helped the port overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit. Cobh, one of only two global ports where large cruise ships can berth along the quaysides, has greatly benefited from the cruise ship traffic, bringing an estimated €14 million to the local economy. The direct routes to the continent, such as the Brittany Ferries route, have also contributed to the positive outlook.
As chief commercial officer, Mowlds is responsible for the port’s commercial strategy and development. With experience in both the public and private sectors, he previously served as the head of the National Maritime College of Ireland. The Port of Cork recently opened an €89 million container terminal in Ringaskiddy, marking the largest single investment by any port in Ireland in the past century. The terminal has the capacity to handle major incoming container traffic and is expected to handle 120,000 containers in its first year of operation. The port is also operating two terminals, including the Tivoli terminal. Long-term plans for the port will be influenced by road access via the M28 and the R624. The M28 road network, when fully operational, will be transformative for the port.
Another significant addition to the port’s commercial operation is the Independent Container Line’s direct deep-sea route between Cork and the US east coast. This route provides exporters with unprecedented opportunities to develop business in the USA. The port has seen pre-tax profits increase by 20% to €13.28 million in 2022, with revenues rising by 21.5% as the business recovered from the impact of the pandemic. The number of employees has also increased from 154 to 170.
The port’s 2050 masterplan outlines its ambitions for the next three decades, with a focus on supporting the growth of the offshore renewable energy sector. Planning permission has been granted for a €200 million land reclamation project to extend the quayside walls, which will bring jobs and economic development to Cork and the wider region. The masterplan aims to achieve a 51% reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050. The port has secured planning permission for quay extensions, making it the only port in Ireland capable of supporting the offshore renewable industry. The port is working with funding partners to secure investment for this strategic development.
In summary, the Port of Cork is experiencing a positive outlook for 2023, driven by increased business from cruise ships and direct routes to the continent. The recently opened container terminal in Ringaskiddy marks a significant investment for the port, while the direct deep-sea route to the US provides new opportunities for exporters. The port’s 2050 masterplan focuses on supporting the offshore renewable energy sector and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With strong financial performance and planning permission for quay extensions, the Port of Cork is well-positioned for future growth and development.