THE Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has sought expressions of interest in the provision of a cargo facility at Shannon.
The move has been welcomed in Clare as it is felt that the development of such a facility would give a huge boost to the county’s economy and result in the creation of many local jobs.
The advertisement, on the eTenders website, states, “The Dublin Airport Authority wishes to procure a suitably experienced entity to design, build, finance and operate a multi-user cargo aviation facility at Shannon Airport, County Clare, Ireland. The successful candidate will be responsible for the successful delivery (including obtaining full planning permission for the facility), management, operation, maintenance letting and rental payments (regardless of occupancy) for the facility during the expected 33-year lease period.”
In March 2009, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Lynxs group for the purpose of jointly developing a major international logistics hub and business facility at Shannon.
However, the DAA has said other operators will be considered now, while they have said the advertisement doesn’t necessarily mean the project will go ahead.
“From its previous dealings with Lynxs group, DAA is aware that it meets the necessary criteria for the project and it has been pre-qualified. The current process is to ascertain if there are other companies and/or consortiums with the relevant experience required ahead of a possible tender for the project. No final decision has yet been taken to proceed with the project and the request for information does not convey a commitment to proceed with the project.”
Shannon Development chief executive, Dr Vincent Cunnane, said that putting in place a cargo hub is vital for Shannon. “Shannon Airport will not survive on passengers alone and needs a cargo hub. Developing cargo and logistics facilities at Shannon Airport will provide a major new business asset not only for the Shannon Region but for Ireland as a whole.
“It will open up new trading opportunities in world markets and given the close proximity of Shannon Free Zone to the airport, it will create business opportunities at the zone.”
He said it would offer a range of benefits to the region.
“When completed, it will act as a catalyst for new manufacturing and logistics investment into the region and will assist Shannon Airport’s case to secure US customs pre-clearance capability for cargo at Shannon. A new facility will enable air freight to be consolidated at Shannon and should help underpin all our efforts to develop new air services. This in turn would position Shannon as Ireland’s cargo airport for existing and new FDI industrial supply chain infrastructural needs. Shannon Development will continue to work with Shannon Airport Authority to maximise the potential of the airport as an economic driver for the region.”
Clare TD Joe Carey also said the development of the hub would be important for Clare.
“Realising this facility can act as a catalyst for unlocking the potential for jobs in the region and the renewal of Shannon Airport as an international facility. If handled and developed properly, the proposed cargo hub will act as a magnet to attract manufacturers to set up in the region through easy passage of their goods and services.
“This project has been spoken about for long enough. We need to move speedily to the next stage without further delay,” he said.