PORT of Cork chairman, John Mullins, hopes that activity can return to the long-idle Marino Point within two years, bringing valuable jobs to the area.
Since the former IFI plant closed, in 2002, with the loss of 220 jobs, the jetty and other facilities have lain idle.
The Port of Cork led a consortium to buy it and, since the deal was finalised, in 2017, there has been significant interest in the project.
“We are working on the new masterplan for Marino Point,” Mr Mullins said. “We have parcels of land there and various people looking at them and we will be presenting a masterplan to Cork County Council of various tenants that intend to go in there.”
The Marino Point jetty is located in ten metres of water, enabling large ships to dock there, and the plan is for it to be used as a bulk terminal for products like agrifeed and fertiliser.
The redevelopment is a joint venture with Wexford-based company Lanber Holdings. Mr Mullins said such partnership ventures, which it is also exploring for the planned second cruise terminal in Cobh, are a way to finance projects that the port’s budget alone could not.
“Our balance sheet can’t do everything at the same time,” he said.
“We want to make those changes and make sure it is an operating part of our port and this is the way to do it.”
He hopes to confirm details of the venture in 2019 and have it up-and-running the following year.
“We are in advanced negotiations and expect to be able to announce a number of tenants in 2019,” he said. “We could see operations there by late 2020, maybe early 2021.”
There will be initial construction jobs created as a result of the project, followed by other roles as part of the new commercial activity in the area.