A new marketing drive promoting deep water marine investment opportunities along the Shannon Estuary is being undertaken by stakeholders engaged in the development and management of Ireland’s largest and deepest estuary.
Local authorities in the region, namely Clare County Council, Kerry County Council and Limerick City & County Council, have joined with IDA Ireland, Shannon Commercial Properties and Shannon Foynes Port Company in producing a prospective Marketing Brochure package that details ‘Deep Water Marine Investment Opportunities’ at 6 Strategic Development Locations deemed appropriate for marine-related investment.
Investors around the world are being distributed with the while a dedicated new website, www.shannonestuary.ie has been launched.
1,220 hectares of land at the 6 sites are zoned for marine-related industry in Regional and Local statutory development plans. The sites include Moneypoint (280Ha), Innismurry/Cahericon (65Ha) in County Clare, Askeaton (98Ha), Foynes Island (40Ha), and Foynes Port and adjoining lands (186Ha) in Limerick and Tarbert – Ballylongford Landbank (550Ha) in County Kerry.
The promotion of investment and development opportunities is the result of the Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the Shannon Estuary, a land and marine-based plan launched in late 2013 by a multi-agency steering group comprising member organisations from throughout the wider region.
The Shannon Estuary features 500km2 of navigable water running from Kerry Head and Loop Head as far as Limerick City, a distance of 100km. The Estuary is Ireland’s premier deepwater port routinely catering for ships up to 200,000 deadweight tonnage (dwt) with key ports at Limerick and Foynes and direct connectivity to all major international shipping lanes. It is home to a number of large industries and employers, including ESB Moneypoint, Aughinish Alumina, Tarbert Power Station, Shannon International Airport and NORA Fuel Reserve.
Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr Bill Chambers says it’s an exciting development. “The promotion by the regions’ local authorities and key agencies of one of Ireland’s most important assets is an exciting development for counties Clare, Limerick and Kerry as it has the potential to deliver significant marine-related investment in the coming years.”
Chambers added “The Shannon Estuary Region is an attractive investment location for companies in the pharmaceutical, manufacturing and ICT sectors due to the global connectivity offered by Shannon Airport, the quality of lifestyle, and the abundance of world-class third level education facilities and graduates. The presence of large-scale marine-based facilities, 1,220 Hectares of zoned land, and the existing sheltered deep water resource presents considerable new investment potential along the Shannon Estuary.”
Brian McCarthy, Senior Planner, Planning and Enterprise Development, Clare County Council, commented, “This multi-agency approach is aimed at sustainably accommodating future development, economic growth and employment within the Shannon Estuary. By working to attract new investment opportunities we are cognisant of the need to achieve a careful balance between promoting development, and the protection and conservation of this natural resource.”
Niall O’Callaghan, Business and Relationship Manager, IDA Ireland said, “As Ireland’s Foreign Direct Investment Agency, we at IDA Ireland very much welcome the completion of the SIFP marketing material and look forward to distributing it with our network of Overseas Teams. The Shannon Estuary is a key pillar in the potential attractiveness of the Mid-West to new forms of foreign direct investment and, aligned with IDA Ireland’s Regional Strategy through the Action Plan for Jobs I very much welcome the delivery of this project.”
O’Callaghan continued “The culmination of many months work with our stakeholders within the Mid-West Region, the full potential of the SIFP can only be achieved with a coordinated delivery of infrastructure to support the 6 Strategic Sites that have been identified,” said Mr. O’Callaghan. “With this outcome, we can remain optimistic about the future potential investment in the Estuary, both land and marine based.”
The existing facilities on the Estuary are serviced by the largest vessels entering Irish waters while all commercial marine activities on the Shannon Estuary are managed and controlled by Shannon Foynes Port Company.
Pat Keating, CEO, Shannon Foynes Port Company stated “As Ireland’s largest bulk-port company and the port authority for the Shannon Estuary, Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) views the implementation of the SIFP as vital to realising the commercial maritime opportunities afforded by the unequalled naturally occurring deep waters of the Shannon Estuary.”
Keating stressed the importance of zoning the 1,200 hectares. “It identifies, once and for all, the necessary land to facilitate the sustainable maritime development of this national strategic asset. The SIFP is also closely aligned with our own 30 year masterplan Vision 2041, under which €38m was invested in the SFPC port estate in 2015 alone. It is only with the ongoing collaboration and cooperation of all the stakeholders that we can fully realise the enormous estuary potential and the implementation of the SIFP is an important step in this regard”.
Welcoming the collaborative stakeholder approach, Ray O’Driscoll, Managing Director, Shannon Commercial Properties said: “As part of Shannon Group plc which provides global connectivity through Shannon Airport, and through Shannon Commercial Proprieties owns one of Ireland’s largest property portfolios, we are delighted to be part of this initiative which will promote development opportunities in the Shannon Estuary. Shannon Commercial Properties owns significant land banks at Ballylongford and Askeaton, two of the 6 strategic development locations and we are actively engaging with all stakeholders to realise the full potential of these assets”.