DUNDALK Chamber of Commerce President Paddy Malone has said he regrets the decision to transfer the management of the Port to the Dublin Port Authority.
According to Mr Malone, Dundalk Port is an important part of the infrastructure of Dundalk and the North East.
“It is the gateway for importing materials such as salt, grain and coal for households and businesses in the region,” said Mr Malone.
“It is also used as a hub for exporting metals. It is a coastal port of particular use to light commercial shipping, which in many cases is not suited to other deep sea locations.
“It supports a number of jobs directly and in addition there are many local people employed in ancillary and support roles in the locality.”
Mr Malone added: “Dundalk Port has a long and proud history as an independent seaport and many locals have fond memories of the area as a buzzing trade zone that once saw the railway connect it with Greenore port.
“As with any port it requires constant maintenance eg dredging and it is hoped that this will continue under the new management structure. The lack of shipping over the last two years means that drainage maintance is of even more importance. Normal ship movements help in part to dredge the port.
“Without that maintenance the port would deteriorate and potentially become unusable. The employees of the port need to have their jobs secured...
“The choice of Dublin, a deep sea port, rather than other similar ports on the east coast, as the strategic partner is another cause of concern, however, if it leads to further investment and modernisation it is to be welcomed.
“Dundalk Chamber shall be making separate representations to the Dublin Port Authority to ensure that the port is not forgotten and that clarity on its future is obtained at the earliest possible opportunity.”