Shannon Foynes Port Company has been named as part of the EU’s Atlantic Corridor
LIMERICK has received a pre-Christmas Brexit boost, with news that the Shannon Estuary has received a formal European transport corridor designation.
Shannon Foynes Port Company has been named as part of the EU’s Atlantic Corridor, one of nine key designated transport corridors in the Trans European Network (TEN-T).
And its inclusion in the Atlantic Corridor has been hailed as an acknowledgement of the strategic importance of the Shannon Estuary and a further example of the EU standing by Ireland as Brexit approaches.
The move is expected to boost the company’s plans to expand post-Brexit, and as part of its masterplan, Vision 2041. It will also enhance the opportunity for European funding.
The Atlantic Corridor designation is the second achieved by Shannon Foynes Port Company which is also part of the EU’s North Sea Mediterranean corridor.
“This is very positive news for Shannon Foynes Port Company and the Shannon Estuary,” said the port company’s chief executive Pat Keating.
“Getting this additional designation is further evidence of how much Europe is increasingly recognising the significance of the Shannon Estuary as a key transport node and it is also an initiative to support us post-Brexit.”
“Europe has stood strong with Ireland on Brexit and this is a specific example of that,” Mr Keating continued. “The North Sea Mediterranean corridor takes in the UK, which would no longer be in Europe post-Brexit, of course, and putting us on the Atlantic Corridor is a strategic move in response to this.”
Port company chairman David McGarry said the company and the estuary had been recognised as a significant transport network long before Brexit, particularly because of its location as a gateway between Europe and North America and also because of the natural depths of the waters on the Shannon Estuary.
“Those waters are among the deepest in Europe and with very few ports capable of accommodating the world’s largest ships, this creates a huge opportunity for us,” he pointed out.
The company wants to capitalise on that opportunity but this requires investment.
“Having access to competitive funding programmes and being recognised as a core European transport asset thanks to this designation is very important.”
The ultimate objective of TEN-T is to close gaps, remove bottlenecks and eliminate technical barriers that exist between the transport networks of EU Member States, strengthening the social, economic and territorial cohesion of the Union and contributing to the creation of a single European transport area.
The policy seeks to achieve this aim through the construction of new physical infrastructures; the adoption of innovative digital technologies, alternative fuels and universal standards; and the modernising and upgrading of existing infrastructures and platforms.