Dublin Port Company (DPC) has announced the outcome of the selection process that will see Terminal 5 in Dublin Port licensed to Stena Line and Seatruck Ferries. Stena Line will operate a new Dublin-Birkenhead (Liverpool) service while Seatruck Ferries and parent company CLDN will further develop their Dublin-UK services as part of this new shared freight terminal agreement.

In September 2023 DPC called for proposals from interested ferry lines to service west coast English or Welsh ports (excluding Dublin-Holyhead) out of Dublin following confirmation that P&O (which operated from Terminal 5 in Dublin Port) would exit the Dublin-Liverpool route by year end.

Stena Line’s new freight service between Dublin and Birkenhead (Liverpool) commences mid-February 2024, while Seatruck Ferries will move its Dublin-Heysham freight service within Dublin Port to Terminal 5 in January 2024.

DPC’s decision to award a shared licence to both Stena Line and Seatruck Ferries at Terminal 5 maximises the port’s existing infrastructure by pushing more truck and container freight through the terminal’s footprint. The move further supports DPC’s objective of adding capacity where possible, given the ongoing constraints on port lands, with Dublin Port already running close to capacity. 

Barry O’Connell, CEO, Dublin Port Company, said:

“It is essential for Ireland’s economy that we have strong availability and competition on direct shipping routes between Dublin Port and the UK. We are pleased to welcome Stena Line’s new Dublin-Birkenhead route which brings choice to the market, and to continue working with Seatruck Ferries and CLDN on growing its Dublin-Heysham service.”

Stena Line’s new freight service will initially operate with one ship departing Dublin early in the morning and making the return journey from Birkenhead in the evening.

Stena Line already operates from Dublin Port to Holyhead and from Birkenhead to Belfast, and this new service will complement these existing routes. The company is currently assessing ship deployment options ahead of the mid-February start date in Dublin.

Paul Grant, Trade Director (Irish Sea), Stena Line, said:

“We are very excited to re-establish this vital trade corridor with our new freight route between Dublin and Birkenhead which will further increase crossing options for our hauliers and their customers. With Stena Line now operating two routes out of both Dublin Port and Birkenhead, we are establishing key logistics hubs connecting freight flows across the Irish Sea and creating efficiencies for port users. We have invested significantly in our Birkenhead operations in recent years and as a result have seen growth on our Belfast to Liverpool service. We are confident that this new service will prove popular, offering more choice for our freight customers on both sides of the Irish Sea.”

Seatruck Ferries and CLdN have been steadily expanding services into and out of Dublin in recent years. CLdN currently operates direct services from Rotterdam, Zeebrugge and Santander, while Seatruck Ferries operates the Heysham and Liverpool routes.  As a result of the licence, Seatruck Ferries will move its Dublin-Heysham service to Terminal 5 in early 2024. All other CLdN services, including the Seatruck Ferries services to and from Liverpool, will continue to operate from Terminal 4. CLdN will also add a vessel to the Dublin-Liverpool route providing extra sailings on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, bringing the total number of daily departures from three to four in each direction.

Alistair Eagles, Managing Director Seatruck Ferries said:

“We very much welcome this decision by Dublin Port. CLdN and Seatruck’s unaccompanied freight business on the Irish Sea has been growing steadily over recent years and more than 70% of all Irish Sea ferry freight now moves on an unaccompanied basis. The use of both Terminal 4 and Terminal 5 will enable us not only to further increase capacity but also to optimise the efficiency of our operations at the port. We look forward to growing our links with DPC as a stable and reliable partner and to further expanding our offer to customers.”

Separately, DPC has announced that it has granted a new operating licence to CMA CGM Inland Services (CCIS), a subsidiary of CMA CGM Group, to begin operating at Dublin Inland Port.  CCIS is one of the world’s largest providers of inland services with a container depot network in over 30 countries worldwide.

From this this month, CCIS will become the second company to move its container operations to DPC’s North Dublin logistics hub, following an €8 million investment by DPC on a second phase of the development. It brings to €56m DPC’s total investment in Dublin Inland Port, all self-financed.

With their newly-acquired licence, CCIS is now set to expand its portfolio, which already boasts over 23 dedicated empty container depots across Europe. Their state-of-the-art Dublin facility will specialise in container storage and repair, focusing on catering to the export needs of foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerated products. Together with service partner Doyle Shipping Group (DSG), the investment will create 25 new jobs.

This is the second licence awarded at Dublin Inland Port at the North Dublin logistics hub after Dublin Ferryport Terminals (DFT) were granted permission by DPC to operate in October 2021.

Doyle Shipping Group is an Irish family-owned shipping business founded in 1882. They employ over 700 people throughout Ireland, handling over 13 million tons of cargo and providing port service solutions throughput all major ports in Ireland, as well as other services through their Logistics and Renewables divisions. Now steered by the third generation of the Doyle family and a committed board of directors, the Group aims to continue to invest in infrastructure and skills, with an emphasis on Health and Safety, and growth that is underpinned by long-term thinking.

The ongoing development of Dublin Inland Port continues DPC’s delivery of its Masterplan commitment to maximising the use of existing port lands by relocating port-related, but non-core activities – including empty container storage – away from Dublin Port.

Dublin Inland Port is located 14 kilometres from Dublin Port off the M2, with direct access to the M50 and to Dublin Port via the Dublin Port Tunnel and is part of Dublin Port’s world class route-to-market infrastructure.

Cormac Kennedy, Head of Commercial at Dublin Port, said:

“In the past 12 months, we’ve invested a further €8million developing the next phase of Dublin Inland Port, which has created the opportunity for CCIS to relocate and grow its business in Ireland further. We are also delighted to see that this will create 25 new jobs.  We are delighted to welcome CCIS and to support their business at the facility this December.

“As part of our Masterplan, we made a strategic decision to relocate non-core port users away from the Dublin Port estate. While this has freed up valuable space that is now being used for core activities, we are still running at close to capacity. 

“By strategically relocating non-core users, we have successfully freed up 75% of our masterplan 40-hectare target, allowing Irish exporters and importers to benefit from the much-needed additional space within the Dublin Port footprint. Overall, since it opened in 2021, Dublin Inland Port has resulted in more efficient use of the Dublin Port Tunnel and Dublin Port’s internal network.”

A spokesperson for the CMA CGM Group said:

“We are delighted It is a great opportunity to have been granted an operating license by Dublin Port Company for Dublin Inland Port. This marks the first expansion of CMA CGM Inland Services (CCIS) into Ireland and aligns seamlessly with our commitment to delivering top-tier logistics solutions.

“With our extensive portfolio, including over 23 dedicated container depots across Europe, this newly acquired license allows us to specialise in container storage and repair. At the state-of-the-art Dublin facility, CCIS will also specialise in the provision of refrigerated containers for frozen foodstuffs and high value pharmaceuticals which are exported worldwide from Ireland. Focused on catering to the export needs of key sectors such as foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, beverages and refrigerated products, we are eager to contribute to the growth and efficiency of Dublin Inland Port.”

Max Doyle, Director, Doyle Shipping Group Dublin, added:

“This is an exciting development for the region. Doyle Shipping Group are pleased to be partners in this project, which should go some way to further easing the burden on quayside terminals as well offering a high-grade option to those looking to manage their empty equipment. DSG has operated in the region for many years and we are delighted to be able to further improve the options for our customers. In partnership with CCIS, we are confident that we can provide a service that will benefit from CCIS expertise in Inland depots and DSG’s operational experience and knowledge of the local market.”

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