Wednesday, 21 November 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
135. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if he will implement a ban on heavy goods vehicles arriving and departing from Dublin Port between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. [29206/01]
Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): Dublin Port Company as a statutory independent commercial State company under the Harbours Act, 1996, is wholly responsible for the management, control, operation and development of its harbour. While the day to day management of traffic within the port is undertaken by the port company, such responsibility ends once that traffic is beyond the port gate.
The Deputy will be aware that I established a task force earlier this year to advise me on transport logistics in connection with ports, including the opportunity to divert traffic to other less congested ports outside Dublin and the prospects for off peak scheduling of traffic. I also requested the task force to identify cost effective options for the movement of traffic through Dublin. Included among the questions and issues being addressed by the task force, which would impact on traffic from Dublin Port through the city centre, is the potential to transfer non-essential activities, such as fuel storage and empty containers, out of the port to a more peripheral location.
While not pre-empting the task force findings in any way, I have recently taken an initiative in this regard, looking at the possibility to establish a container-storage facility for Dublin Port traffic on the periphery of the city close to the M50, connected to Dublin Port preferably by rail with an operational capacity to work off-schedule. I have charged Dublin Port Company with the responsibility to deliver this facility, either alone or in partnership with the private sector. The aim is to  cut down on gridlock and deliver much needed time savings for all traffic. I have also requested Dublin Port to collaborate with its shippers to deliver a genuine 24 hour port facility. This could involve, inter alia, enhanced incentives and discount pricing which would contribute to relieving pressure on Dublin peak traffic congestion.
As the largest port in the State and on the island, the dependence on Dublin Port to handle almost half of the State's commercial freight traffic cannot be understated nor its contribution to the national economy. Dublin Port is doing all it can to encourage operators in the port, shippers and importers – exporters to further develop flexible round the clock working systems for all operations, including customer collection and delivery. All these issues are being addressed by the task force which expects to report by year's end.
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