Competition in ports services ‘could be improved’

New study makes several recommendations to increase comeptition

Competition in port services in Ireland could be improved a new report from the Competition Authority has found.

The report, which was commissioned by the Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation Richard Bruton, highlighted lengthy leasing and licensing arrangements for load on-load off terminal operators in Dublin Port, and also licensing arrangements for stevedore services in the port as appearing to restrict competition.

The first comprehensive study of competition in the Irish ports sector also found that the characteristics of the ports sector in Ireland mean that competition between ports is always going to be limited, making competition within the ports themselves for services provided particularly important.

It made a number of recommendations, including a change in how leasing and licensing in Dublin’s terminal s is managed, reducing the length of the leases and changing the current system of automatic renewal. It also believes two new general stevedore licences should be awarded in Dublin Port, and should be granted by through a tendering process or some other fair procedure, rather than by automatically renewing.


Port mergers should be examined by the Competition Authority, regardless of whether it meets the current merger thresholds, it said.

“A strong export performance will be crucial to the recovery in the economy and jobs market we are working so hard to achieve,” said Mr Bruton. “The report produced today is an excellent piece of work, and Government will study its recommendations in detail and take appropriate action. This will ensure that we continue to improve the environment for exporters and support the growth in jobs and the economy we need.”

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar said his department would consider the recommendations in detail and promised to respond to the Competition Authority within six months.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist