Rosslare beats the odds

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Rosslare Europort, the only Irish port to have substantial direct ro-ro services to the Continent, is continuing with its substantial investment plans.

The port, which is wholly owned by Iarnrod Eireann, the Irish State-owned railway company, last year handled 168, 000 freight units and close to 1,100,000 passengers. Rosslare Europort’ s continental direct business actually grew by 6.1% in the first six months of this year.

According to the port’ s general manager, John Lynch, the volume of Irish traffic using the UK landbridge to the Continent is diminishing as more users prefer the direct sea link.

Its current €8 million investment programme is well under way, including a new linkspan on Berth 2. Capacity in the unaccompanied trailer compound has been doubled and more Tugmasters are being bought, which will bring the number to 13 units. Current construction work should be completed by the New Year while the port has longer term investment plans that will enable it to handle a new class of ro-ro ship, the Humbermax.

The port has plans to deepen the port to give unrestricted access to vessels up to 7. 5 metres in draught, while Arup Consulting Engineers is preparing a framework plan for the next 20 years.

New services are starting, too. This month sees Cobelfret, a major Belgian operator, start a weekly ro-ro service to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam, while next month, LD Lines from France is starting a new weekly service to and from Le Havre, using the newly built Norman Voyager.