Strong Growth in Irish Shipping Sector Set to Continue

The Irish International Shipping Services Sector has shown a 17% growth in employment and 68% increase in the capacity of the Irish merchant fleet since 2000, according to estimates by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) of the Marine Institute.

This growth is forecast to continue in 2004 with increased inward investment in the sector boosting shore-based employment.  Ireland's competitive Tonnage Tax regime is the primary catalyst for inward investment in the sector according to Mr. Glenn Murphy, Director IMDO.

"The IMDO is currently in discussion with a number of International Shipping Groups interested in establishing dedicated ship management operations in Ireland and we expect that several of these projects will come to fruition during 2004" explains Mr. Murphy.

The availability of dedicated value-added services - such as banking, accounting and legal - to the shipping industry will also support the growth in overseas investment.  Bank of Ireland entered the International Maritime Finance Sector in 2003 establishing a dedicated Shipping Finance team in Dublin and a number of other IFSC banks are also offering International Shipping Finance from Dublin.

" These high-value sub-supply niche service developments add huge overall merit to Ireland's profile in the Shipping Service Sector," said Mr. Murphy.