Vision 2041 Review & Consultation

Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) is situated on the deepest watercourse in Ireland, the Shannon Estuary, which is one of the deepest estuaries in the world. It extends to over 500km2 and has channel depths of up to 32m. SFPC has statutory maritime jurisdiction over the entire Shannon Estuary.

In 2013, SFPC published its thirty-year Vision 2041 Strategy outlining the Port’s future objectives for the medium to long term. This Strategy identified future port demand and associated landside and waterside capacity requirements such as port infrastructure and intermodal hinterland connectivity infrastructure.

The Vision 2041 Strategy indicated that a review would take place over a seven-to-ten-year timeframe. Accordingly, such a review – Vision 2041 Update – has commenced in 2022 to take account of the following.

- Progress made against the original Vision 2041 Strategy.
- Changing political, environmental and market dynamics including policy updates as follows:

Project Ireland 2040 National Planning Framework, 2018
Project Ireland 2040 National Marine Planning Framework 2021
Climate Action Plan 2021

- Evolving opportunities such as offshore wind energy, alternative fuels  production, unitised (container) transport affords SFPC significant potential for future development.

The Vision 2041 Update will remain consistent with the strategic objectives of the Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP), a document that identified the nature and location of future development that can be sustainably accommodated within the Shannon Estuary whilst safeguarding natural habitats and species afforded designation under EU directives.

A key output of the SIFP was the identification of nine Strategic Development Locations (SDLs) as designated for marine-related industry, which have been formally adopted by the respective development plans for Clare, Kerry, and Limerick County Councils.

In this respect, the Vision 2041 Update will remain within the physical confines of these designated SDL sites, offering development recommendations and considerations upon performing assessments of the following three growth drivers for the Shannon Estuary:

1. Delivering offshore wind energy at scale

SFPC is the closest deep-water port to the Atlantic wind resource quantified at over 75,000MW. This represents over €100bn of floating windfarm investment over the short, medium, and long term.

Delivering floating offshore wind from the estuary at a scale that matches the potential will require significant port infrastructure development with sufficient deep water access as well as ample space for both dry and wet storage.

The prospects for locating all aspects of the ORE delivery chain along the estuary are being assessed, with particular focus on those activities that must be done in relatively close proximity to the planned wind farms, such as major assembly of turbines, wet storage, and ongoing operations and maintenance (O&M) support.

2. Green industrial development and transition.

The introduction of renewable electricity (generated from offshore wind) to the estuary’s shores presents a significant opportunity for local industrial development. It offers potential for existing industries along the estuary to transition towards more sustainable production with reduced carbon /greenhouse gas emissions.

The development prospects along these two vectors (i.e new facilities and conversion of existing facilities) are being assessed for their potential application along the estuary. The large-scale production of sustainable alternative fuels such as green hydrogen and green ammonia using renewable electricity could serve both domestic and global markets, as well as induce further associated industrial development locally. Additionally, the impending closures of the fossil fuel power stations at both Moneypoint and Tarbert presents opportunities for the establishment of new power generation facilities that have flexibility to help smooth the transition to 100% renewable electricity.

3. Expanded, more diversified and sustainable services through the Port of Foynes

The continued development of the Port of Foynes envisages offering unitised or container services for short sea, feeder and in time deep sea services together while promoting the location of multi-modal distribution centres to Foynes.

The port is well positioned to expand its bulks operations and enter the container freight market with the ability to offer viable services to a significant proportion of unitised freight users. These services would also assist in decarbonising the existing supply chain by facilitating shorter HGV journey times and leveraging the direct rail connection at the Port of Foynes. Increasing trade through the Port of Foynes is consistent with National Planning Framework targets of achieving at least 50% of future growth outside the Eastern and Midlands region.

The development prospects for new / expanded port and logistics infrastructure within the Port of Foynes and nearby SDLs are being assessed based on these market developments as well as the planned completion of the Limerick to Foynes Road Scheme and the Limerick to Foynes Rail Reinstatement.

Whilst SFPC seeks to maximise the potential of the Shannon Estuary and its ports, the Vision 2041 Update will also continue to seek for Port operations to be responsive to achieve social and community integration. It is a key objective of the Vision 2041 Update that the development and operation of the Ports must benefit the wider community.

The expansive deep waters of the Shannon Estuary afford much economic potential in an important biodiverse environment. Accordingly, Vision 2041 and the SIFP were produced on the basis that any long term plan for the development of the Shannon Estuary must carefully consider the natural environment and that the correct balance is attained between these often perceived conflicting objectives. Namely by limiting the development recommendations to within the SDLs identified in the SIFP, this Vision 2041 update seeks to retain this balance.

The options that will be presented in the Vision 2041 update will neither be exhaustive nor prescriptive. Rather, they are a discussion on possible options that need to be evaluated and are subjected to a review of the relevant business case, environmental assessments, planning and consent requirements at the appropriate time.

Guide for submissions

It is requested that submissions focus on the areas identified in this document

1. Delivering offshore wind energy at scale
2. Green industrial development and transition.
3. Expanded, more diversified and sustainable services through the Port of Foynes

Inputs are welcomed from those who wish to comment on particular opportunities with respect to the 3 growth drivers which can make a positive contribution in the medium to longer term for the region.

Submissions should be no longer than 1,500 words and should be submitted by email to 

The closing date for receipt of submissions is 5pm, Friday, 15 July 2022.


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