Freight firm ordered to move shipping containers or face possible contempt of court applications

Stateline Transport Ltd fails to secure extension to court-mandated deadline of April 5th for removal of containers from Tesco site

A freight company has until April 5th to remove thousands of shipping container units from an unauthorised site in Dublin or its directors could face applications for contempt for disobeying a High Court order.

Stateline Transport Ltd failed to get an extension to the time it has to remove between 1,500 and 2,000 containers at the Tesco Ireland-owned land in Santry. The containers have been stored there until they are ready for reuse in international shipping.

In 2020, Stateline agreed a 10-year lease with Tesco to use the land for its containers. However, Fingal County Council brought enforcement proceedings against both Tesco and Stateline, saying the use was unauthorised development.

As a result, Tesco itself sued Stateline seeking orders, including an injunction ending the unauthorised development use. Stateline is currently awaiting the outcome of an appeal to An Bord Pleanála seeking retention of the use.


The Tesco case was settled on the basis that Stateline would move out, but with a 12-month stay on the agreement to cease use of the site for container storage. Tesco agreed but said that question was for the High Court to decide.

Stateline, in its arguments to the High Court, said it was still awaiting the planning board’s decision. It also said it had sought permission to operate at an alternative site in Fingal, which had been refused, but it said a revised application, lodged on February 8th last, should meet the concerns of the local authority.

Last November, the High Court refused a 12-month stay and said Stateline had to be out in six weeks.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons also ruled that failure to comply with the order could constitute contempt of court under section 53 of the Companies Act 2014. This meant the directors of Stateline could be liable to a process leading to possible sequestration of assets should the order be disobeyed by the company, he said.

Last month, following an appeal by Stateline, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court decision and said Stateline must be out by April 5th.

The case returned on Tuesday before Mr Justice Simons when David Dodd, for Tesco, said the parties had agreed that certain orders could be made, including providing for an application for possible contempt under the Companies Act should the order not be obeyed.

Counsel asked that the case be listed for mention after the April 5th deadline for removing the containers.

The judge adjourned it until after the Easter vacation.