CORK City Council is engaging with the Port of Cork Company (PoCC) in a bid to ink a deal to acquire the Port of Cork City Quays to help facilitate Ireland’s largest regeneration project, Cork City Docklands.
While no contract has yet been signed, negotiations are underway at present between the local authority and the commercial semi-State company, with a council spokesperson stating that an “agreement in principle” has been reached.
“Cork City Council can confirm that it has reached agreement in principle for the acquisition of the City Quays, in keeping with the long term ambition of the council to achieve the development of the Cork Docklands.
“Respective teams from both the council and the Port of Cork will now work on the details of the proposed transaction with a view to progressing to contract,” the spokesperson yesterday told The Echo.
On Wednesday, Conor Mowlds, chief commercial officer at PoCC said that, contrary to some reports, the company “has not signed a contract with Cork City Council to acquire the Port of Cork City Quays”.
Mr Mowlds said PoCC has, however, “agreed to enter into talks with Cork City Council to develop a Heads of Agreement, to eventually relocate port activity downriver from the City Quays”.
“A key point of this agreement will be to ensure that PoCC continues to facilitate trade within the City Quays, and we wish to reassure our clients, our staff and stakeholders that there will be no handover of the quays until proper infrastructure, including the construction of the M28, is in place.
“The Port of Cork Company maintains its support for the Cork Docklands redevelopment potential.
“It remains an objective that all Port city centre business will relocate downriver towards Tivoli, Marino Point and Ringaskiddy, however this future development will only take place with consultation with all relevant stakeholders,” Mr Mowlds continued.
In a statement earlier this week, Mr Mowlds said the sale of the City Quays is important in the company’s strategic development.
“The sale of the City Quays is an important step in the Port’s strategic development, the careful management of which will not only support the displacement of cargo activity downriver in a manner that continues to support regional trade, but will also help us realise the value of a Port asset disposal, as is incumbent upon us as a commercial semi-State,” he said.
Last month operations got underway at the Port of Cork’s new €86m container facility in Ringaskiddy in what was described as a “proud and monumental milestone” for the company.
PoCC said that initially, the new terminal would handle Independent Container Line’s Cork-US service as well as the weekly Maersk’s Costarican service as the company continues relocating its deep-sea trans-ocean cargo business to Ringaskiddy.