Welcome to the first edition of On Board, the new ezine from Warrenpoint Port. In this quarterly publication we aim to keep the local community updated about everyday life at Warrenpoint Port. Page | 1
A Word from the CEO My name is David Holmes, and I am the CEO of Warrenpoint Port. I have been in position as CEO for 16 months now. It has arguably been the most challenging year in most of our career histories. I see first-hand the fantastic work our team at the Port are doing despite the many challenges, particularly in relation to managing Covid-19. I also hear the wonderful comments from our customers and Port users about the service we provide. These views are not always carried through into the local Warrenpoint community and we want to change that. The Harbour Authority in its current format has been here for nearly almost 50 years. It is an industrial zone so we can understand why it can sometimes seem at odds with its beautiful surroundings; but it is that very Port role that has supported the development of this area for almost 250 years. We appreciate at times, due to the nature of our work we will be at odds with some members of the community and sometimes we will have to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;agree to disagreeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. There are, however, many things we can work together on and improve. This is our first ezine newsletter and we hope to continuously improve it and deliver it each quarter to keep you updated on life at the Port. We are immensely proud of our Covid Community Christmas and the impact it is making locally. You can read more about this on pages 2 and 3. We recognise that people want to be consulted. We want to provide mechanisms for two-way communication through our onboard email, this ezine, tours and events when it is safe to do so and using our social media platforms to show what Port life is really like. We hope that going forward we will be able to continue to build on our relationship with the people of Warrenpoint and the wider area. Warrenpoint Port is a major economic driver for the area, we also however want to be a good neighbour and a good corporate citizen. We hope you enjoy our new ezine, feedback is very welcome via Onboard@WarrenpointHarbour.co.uk . We have no doubt that 2021 will continue to present us with many challenges and opportunities but in the meantime, I would like to wish you and your family a very merry, safe, and healthy Christmas.
David Holmes, CEO Warrenpoint Port
£9,000 Covid Christmas Community Fund Supports 22 Local Causes In early December we launched a ‘Covid Community Christmas Fund’ to try to spread some festive cheer in the local area after a difficult year for most people. The Port, our customers and port users contributed more than £9,000 into the fund. Charities and organisations were invited to apply to the fund and to let us know what they would do to Page | spread festive cheer. The response was overwhelming. 2 David Holmes, CEO, Warrenpoint Port said, “We were blown away with the response to the fund and the fantastic ideas people had to spread some positivity this Christmas season. We were delighted to be able to support all the organisations that applied before the deadline. The money was allocated and distributed right away, and we believe this will make a real difference in the local community. “The array of projects put forward makes something like this so worthwhile. This fund has been able to support activities from Christmas parties and selection boxes for the youngest in our communities who have had a difficult year in school and nursery; to supporting our esteemed older citizens, some of whom will be receiving breakfast packs. We were able to help support festive lights, competition prizes as fundraisers and very importantly vouchers and donations to go out directly to people in our community who need a helping hand this Christmas. We are helping with a Drive in Cinema for a charity, supporting homeless people and those requiring cancer treatment as well as supporting survivors of head injuries. One project that particularly touched us was our ability to help with the redecorating of a family room at a local Women’s Aid shelter; where women and children who bravely may have to escape the family home this Christmas can take refuge.” David Holmes added, “We have been publishing the full details of each of the projects and the donations on our social media so keep an eye out for these posts. We would like to sincerely thank our customers, suppliers and Port users who contributed into this fund. We could not have done it without them. Seatruck Ferries, Westland (Cronus), ReGen, Mannok Holdings (Quinn Cement), Mourne Shipping Services, Armagh Logistics, Cunningham Haulage, AMA, Barry Haulage, Point Shipping, T-Met Ltd, Nippon Gases, Seaforde Metals, King Communication, and members of our Board. I would also like to thank Wayne Denner for supporting with the online administration for the fund. “Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our team here at the Port for their continued work in our local community. Many of our local team have been here for a long time and they are constantly giving back to the community through involvement in lots of different activities and events. We hope that this latest initiative- our ‘Covid Community Christmas Fund ‘will help to spread local festive cheer and will help people in our community this Christmas.”
The full list of recipients of the Covid Community Christmas Fund is: Southern Area Hospice Services; Head Injury Support Newry; Warrenpoint Town FC; Page | Community Centre for 3 Warrenpoint Group; Youth Services (Education Authority); Cumann Pheadir Naofa; The Cabbage Patchers; Busy Bees Preschool Burren; Rostrevor Men's Shed; Women's Aid Armagh Down Ltd; St Bronagh's PS.; Burren Community Forum ; Newry Helping The Homeless/ The Larder (Foodbank); Down Right Brilliant; Advocacy VSV; 12 Townlands of Christmas; Killowen Primary School; Omeath Action Volunteer Group; Puzzles Playgroup; Newry Mourne Armagh MS Society; Seaview Nursery School; St. Dallan`s Primary School/ Friends Of St Dallanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s.
History Warrenpoint and the south Down area has a rich maritime history which we are delighted to play a part in. We are very proud of our history and we have some particularly important anniversaries coming up. Warrenpoint Port was constructed in the late 1770s which will make it 250 years old towards the end of the 2020s. Warrenpoint Harbour Authority was created as a Trust Port in 1971 and the 25th anniversary of this was celebrated in 1996. The modern Port was completed in 1974 with 40 years since this completion marked in 2014. In 2021 we look forward to the 50th Anniversary of the creation of Warrenpoint Harbour Authority and we will start our countdown towards the end of the decade when we will celebrate 250 years since the construction of the Port. Check out this fantastic old document which highlights the original transaction for the creation of the Port. We hope to include more about our history in upcoming features with the help of local historians. If you would like to make a contribution on the history of the Port, please drop us an email to onboard@WarrenpointHarbour.co.uk
CO2 Plant We are aware of the campaign by several local groups for the removal of the CO2 plant. When people are passionate about an issue, they have every right to campaign against it. We ask all those involved in these campaigns to please engage directly with us. The door is always open. There is however, no ‘conspiracy theory’. The Port was provided with a valid Planning Permission award by Nippon Gasses in 2015. This was for the storage and distribution of recovered food grade CO2 which is required across this island. That planning award stands. Nippon Gases and NMD Council have assured us that despite concerns, everything that needed to be done during the consultation period was done. Our objective is not to have the tanks removed but to soften their visual aspect. We totally respect people’s concerns about how they look. We have been engaging with locally elected representatives, local residents on Lower Shore Omeath and our nearest neighbours about solutions. We now have sample coverings in place of netting with forest imagery and plain banners in keeping with the background. We have taken delivery of another 100 willow trees which have been planted around the perimeter of the plant and 100 Yew trees which will be planted in the new year. The sample banners will be in place until the new year and the rest of the plant will be visually softened using the ‘tree imagery’ or the ‘plain mountain look banners’ if agreeable with our neighbours on the Lower Shore in Omeath and local political representatives on behalf of people in Warrenpoint. If you would like to comment on the sample coverings, please do so by Monday 11th January via firstname.lastname@example.org
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SPS Inspection Centre Update We are delighted that local business ‘CTS’ has been appointed as the principal contractor for the delivery of an SPS (Sanitary Phyto Sanitary) checking facility at Warrenpoint Port. This process is being managed by DAERA (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Page | Rural Affairs) and the appointment has been made through CPD (Central Procurement 5 Directorate). CTS, based in Warrenpoint is an award-winning, industry leading building and facilities management company owned and managed by local man, Connaire McGreevy. We hope this will ensure that the project will create or sustain local employment as well as deliver an environmentally sympathetic, high quality facility. The Port would clearly prefer not to lose the land required for this centre, but we must comply with post Brexit requirements. It is imperative that post Brexit we can continue to deliver our day-to-day activities of importing and exporting product for the agri-food sector in particular. “We are currently waiting on artist’s impressions from DAERA of what the facility will look like so we can share these with our stakeholders. The first stage of the process involves work on a contingency proposal which is ongoing. We believe this will include the demolition of the empty Aylesforte site. “We are awaiting details of the final delivery timeline. It is imperative that the temporary measure is in place by 1st January 2021 to allow us to continue to deliver ‘business as usual’ post Brexit.” Once the final Brexit agreement becomes clearer, we can potentially revisit specific requirements in terms of what exactly is required in Warrenpoint.
Warrenpoint Port Receives AEO (C) Status Warrenpoint Port has recently been granted AEO Status. This is Authorised Economic Operator Status. Granting of AEO authorisation is done under Article 38 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 - the Union Customs Code (UCC). Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status is an internationally recognised quality mark that shows your business’s role in the international supply chain is secure and has customs control procedures that meet UK and EU standards. Please note the logo is copyrighted by the European Union and any misuse could lead to prosecution.
Update on Trading: Warrenpoint Port is a vital economic driver in the south Down and Newry City Region last year contributing £9.6m (GVA) into the local economy. It is one of the largest employers in the area directly employing more than 70 people Page | and more than 400 indirectly. Warrenpoint is Northern Ireland’s second largest Port, handling circa 12% of Northern 6 Ireland’s port activity, with 45% export and 55% import. A recent £2 million + capital expenditure saw the creation of new internal roadways; redundant buildings coming down; and new plant and machinery.
2019 was very good for volume, handling some 5 million tonnes. We had the opportunity to handle some interesting project cargo including wind turbines. This is not the first time we have been a port of choice for unusual loads. We have invested in this making it a niche market that we should be attractive in. Like many other organisations the last 12 months have been challenging; but under the stewardship of CEO David Holmes, we are reorganising and building for the future. The current Covid restrictions require the need for a constant watching brief. The last quarter of the year was amongst the busiest we have ever seen in the Port despite the difficulties in the local and global economy. This demand has been primarily driven by Brexit preparation, something which we ourselves have spent a significant amount of time working on this year. A major element of the recent capital expenditure investment is Brexit readiness preparations. The Brexit planning has created the space to accommodate an SPS facility, the contract for which has just been awarded to local firm CTS. It is however, not without its challenges, not least in relation to timescale and the final outcome of the negotiations. Brexit, combined with the challenges of Covid and the impact both have on the economy, will continue to shape the foreseeable future. There is no doubt of that but that is merely an impetus for us to ensure we are leaner, fitter and well prepared for 2021 and beyond.
Workforce Engagement As part of our overall communications strategy, we have been engaging more with our workforce to ensure everyone understands our objectives. This helps us to invest in a team that understands our customers’ requirements and has the capacity and flexibility to meet those demands. It is also to allow us to listen more and respond to the team on workplace issues. David Holmes said, “I would like to sincerely thank our team. They have made me feel so welcome since I arrived last year and as frontline workers, they really stepped up to the challenges faced during the pandemic. We are delighted to announce that recently we have signed a contract with local app developer Wayne Denner, for delivery of the CoBabble app for all our employees. This will allow us to communicate in real time with our team, bring all of our health and safety profiling into the one place and allow us to have a more open line of communication internally.”
Pictured are members of the Port team with Wayne Denner and Elaine Montgomery from Cobabble at the sign-up day for the app at the Port.
New Chair for Warrenpoint Port Infrastructure Minister announces appointment of Chair to the Board of Warrenpoint Harbour Authority (WHA) Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon recently announced the appointment of Dr Gerard O’Hare as Chair for the Board of Warrenpoint Harbour Authority. The appointment will take effect from 1 February 2021 and will be for a maximum of four years. David Holmes, CEO Warrenpoint Harbour Authority said, “We are pleased to have been informed that a new Chair has been selected by the Department of Infrastructure for Warrenpoint Harbour Authority. As a local person, we have no doubt that Dr Gerard O Hare will be an asset to the Port. We look forward to getting to know him and to working with him going forward. I know he brings a wealth of experience to the role and he will be made very welcome in February 2021.” David Holmes added, “In the meantime we have a significant amount of work to do in relation to Brexit and Covid recovery as well as day to day operations; supporting our customers; and building on our relationships in the local community. We are incredibly grateful for everything that Stan McIlvenny has brought to the Port as Chair of the Board. “We have no doubt his support will continue to be invaluable as we navigate the next couple of months. He will be a significant miss to the team when he steps down next February but we deeply appreciate his effort and commitment up until that time.”
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Meet our Team We at the Port are very proud of our team, many of whom have worked with us for a long time. In each edition of On Board we would like to introduce you to some of our team.
Ian Murphy, Port Operative I started working in Warrenpoint Port at 18 years of age and I have worked here for 36 years. I hope no one is doing the maths because I look much younger. I am from Warrenpoint and I have lived here all my life. I love it. It is a fantastic place to live. My role in the Port is a shovel operator. It is my responsibility to load the grain- wheat, barley, maize or whatever it might be. I basically keep in constant touch with the silo office via radio who let me know where I am needed- which lorries and which shed. Things have changed quite a bit over the years with an increase in business, larger sheds, and improvement in machinery. I spent 29 years part time in the Fire Service too which helped both ways. It was good for me to have that training to help the Port and equally over the years we would have trained in the Port. I retired out of the Fire Service recently after 29 years, but I’ve carried on some responsibility in the Port. I am a trained ‘first responder’ and I sit on the Health and Safety Steering Group. I absolutely love living and working in this area. I spend most of my weekends in the Mournes, go to the gym, do pilates and cycle with the Firehouse Wheelers. One of my proudest sporting achievements is cycling from Malin Head to Mizen Head. If I could say one thing about my job it is that it is important to have a good work ethic and you will get great job satisfaction.
Conor Tinnelly, Electrical Supervisor I’ve been working in the Port for 13 years. I’m a good Rostrevor man but I live in the ‘Point. I worked in lots of different places, but it is fantastic to have local employment on your doorstep. I do not think you can put a price on the ability to walk to work. I’ve always worked in the maintenance department; we work every acre of the site. There is everything from electric gates and barriers to lights and cranes. People do not think about the cranes and the conveyor system’s being electrical. It is our team’s job to ensure that everything keeps working and going. I was reared around boats, so I have always had an interest in the Lough and working in and around the Lough. I have been the manager of senior football and hurling teams having managed the Mitchells and Attical. I am also the Chairman of Rostrevor Boat Club. We are more of a recreational Boat Club. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. If I had one thing to say about my role it would be that I feel like there is an energy about the place. It is not like a normal job. I would get bored in a normal job.
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Meet our Team Ashlene Kielty, Operations Administration Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been with the Port for 23 years. It is my role to deal with lorry drivers for container paperwork, manage the phones and paperwork relating to Page | 9 loads as well as crew lists and pre arrivals. It is a constantly changing role particularly at the moment with Covid and Brexit. When I started the men in the office couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t use computers, so I did all the technical side. Now almost everything has moved to electronic and you have to keep up to speed with technology. I am from Warrenpoint and I love living here. I have been volunteering in a charity shop on a Saturday for about 16 years and that keeps me busy at the weekends. It is for a good cause. If I were to sum up the best thing about my job, it is meeting new people and having a bit of craic with whoever arrives at the door.
Warrenpoint Board Update Each edition we want to update you on the work of our board. We have noticed some confusion on social media around the process for public appointments. All appointments to the Board of Warrenpoint Port are made by the Department of Infrastructure. The Port has no say or control over who is appointed. The makeup consists of three publicly elected representatives from Newry, Mourne and Down Council and business representatives as well as the CEO and Finance Director from Warrenpoint Port who also sit as standard on the Board. The Board of Warrenpoint Harbour Authority met on Tuesday 22nd September 2020. The meeting was attended virtually by all Board members. Key topics discussed were Covid-19 recovery and Brexit as well as the regular updates on health and safety; economic performance; finance; progress against objectives; and operations. In relation to Covid recovery the Board was given an update on performance in relation to key clients. Recovery in July and August was cited as being very positive compared to a 30% Covid-related decline in business in the previous months. The Board discussed the current situation in relation to the potential requirement for an SPS Centre at the Port. The Management team are awaiting further updates on this process and the likelihood of it proceeding from DAERA. This Board update was approved at the most recent Board meeting in November 2020.
Recently asked Questions We have introduced an email address for members of the public to ask questions. We also think it is important that accurate information is available to the public from source and not from speculation. If you have any questions or queries about Port activities, please do contact us at email@example.com Here are some of the recent queries we have responded to and excerpts from our responses:
Query in relation to ownership of the roadways around the Port The access points to the Port which were mentioned are owned by the Port and it is vitally important that these areas kept are clear for emergency access. The Port owns the WIN Industrial Estate access road, the area around the Town Dock building as they do the main Port entrance which was recently resurfaced by the Port. Maps and folios are available to support this information for anyone who wishes to review them. Most people will know that Warrenpoint Port is a self-financing corporate body. It is not funded through Rates. We generate our revenues from charging customers for discharge of and loading vessels, temporary storage, and shipping goods through the port. Any profit made is reinvested into the business to develop, maintain and improve the Port for the economic benefit of the region.
Query in Relation to Noise We are very conscious of our edge of town location and we work to minimise the noise impact where we can. The vessel in question is a container ship that starts loading at 6am. It is necessary to do this to remain on schedule. The port it is shipping to is tidal and it has to work to these tides. The nature of some of the work at the Port means that we cannot guarantee on occasion, that there will not be overnight loading or unloading but we do try to keep this to a minimum. This week we do not have our usual cargo crane driver on duty which may also have had an impact. We will speak to our team and alert them to your correspondence. We will also look into anything else that could possibly be done to reduce this noise. We genuinely do want to be a good neighbour, but we appreciate with the industrial nature of the Port this is not always possible. I know we cannot stop this noise altogether, but I do hope this goes some way towards answering your concerns. We will remind our team to try to carry out our operations as quietly as we can.
Query in relation to minutes of meetings with elected representatives It is our intention, if all the parties are agreed, to publish a note on key topics and discussion points after each of these meetings as we had done with our most recent meeting. If agreeable to the parties, we will ask prior to each meeting for a public minute to be recorded.
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Through the Port Hole Make sure to sign up to our social media to keep up to date with our stories, videos, and pictures. Here is a snapshot of some of our recent news. Page | 11
Port Round Up There is always plenty happening at the Port and here is a final round up of some of our onsite and community activity.
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The issue of a disused barge at Greencastle which was causing an eyesore and an issue for local residents, with a potential environmental impact and a possible hazard in the shipping lane had been brought to the Port’s attention by local Councillor Sean Doran. With a significant effort from a number of parties we believe a resolution has been found and we hope to be able to talk more about this in the new year.
Seatruck Seatruck Ferries have been keeping their customers up to date on the latest information available in relation to Brexit. Here is their latest advice in relation to shipping to and from Warrenpoint. Please not this is subject to change. Warrenpoint to Heysham • Nothing is required going from NI to GB. All traffic will have unfettered access with no customs, paperwork, or references required at check-in in Warrenpoint. Traffic will move as it does now unless it is in transit or they are non-qualifying goods. Heysham to Warrenpoint • From 1 Jan an import Declaration and safety and security declaration will need to be completed. You will need a valid GMR at check-in in Heysham. The TSS service can assist with the declarations.
MarPamm David Holmes, CEO, Warrenpoint Port was delighted to join the first regional stakeholder group of @MarPamm (Marine Protected Areas in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland Management Planning) on Friday 27th October. Warrenpoint Port looks forward to further engagement with this group and the key stakeholders on the protection and preservation of Carlingford Lough.
Miceal Lights up for the Hospice Our team are involved in many aspects of community life. This Christmas we are particularly proud of Miceal Leicester who has made an extra special effort with lighting up home to try to raise money for Southern Area Hospice. We think it looks fantastic and we hope it makes a real impact in a difficult year for charities. Well done Miceal and family. Warrenpoint Port donated £600 to Southern Area Hospice Services in lieu of Christmas Cards this year.