The overall objective of this research project is to explore how the maritime transport (MT) industry can support the growth of the Irish economy. As an internationally trading island economy, economic activity in Ireland is highly dependent on maritime transportation. Consumers depend on the MT industry to obtain imported consumer goods; Ireland’s export sectors depend on the MT industry to bring their products to markets abroad; and Irish manufacturing industries depend on the MT industry for delivery of imported intermediate inputs as part of their global supply chains. As a small open economy, growth in Ireland depends critically on the international competitiveness of the economy, as identified in Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth (2012). The costs and efficiency of the MT industry have a marked bearing on this country’s competitiveness.
Although it is clear that there exists a strong interconnectedness between the MT industry and Ireland’s macroeconomy, research is needed to better understand and quantify the macroeconomic effects of changes in Ireland’s maritime transport industry. A key focus of this project will be on the construction of new economic models to examine how increased investment in Irish ports may be expected to boost the wider Irish economy. We will use these models to evaluate whether the National Ports Policy (2013), which introduced categorisation of the ports sector, is meeting its core objectives, and examine what reforms, if any, to the policy are needed in light of national and global developments since 2013 (for example, Brexit, Project Ireland 2040, and the transition to a low-carbon economy).