The Port of Cork welcomed the biggest ever car carrier to its port on Sunday. Photo: Port of Cork

That's a lot of cars!

The biggest car carrier to ever dock in Cork did so this week.

Port of Cork facilitated the vessel, partnering with global shipping company EUKOR, to ensure the supply chain and distribution of new cars for sale in the new year was not impacted by congestion, and the associated costs incurred, at other ports.

Had the Port of Cork not stepped in, the vessel, which began its journey in Korea, would have had to deliver the 682 vehicles bound for Ireland to Rotterdam from where they would have had to be shipped across separately at a later date, not only increasing the carbon footprint but also adding a significant delay to distribution to customers.

The enormous Morning Laura ship, with a capacity to transport 8,000 vehicles, docked in the port for about eight hours on Sunday 19 December.

It is the first ship to have docked at the Port of Cork’s new deep-water berth in Ringaskiddy, a development earmarked as a key enabler for growth for the port, it said.

Conor Mowlds Chief Commercial Officer, Port of Cork said: “This is further proof of the Port of Cork’s ease of access as a trade route to Europe and beyond and we look forward to maintaining and building on this new relationship with EUKOR into the future.

“We were very pleased to be in a position to accommodate their vessel and to play our part in maintaining the supply chain, particularly at this pivotal time of year for car sales, dealerships and indeed new car customers across Ireland.”

The 682 vehicles, of which nearly 40 per cent are electric vehicles from manufacturers like Hyundai, Kia and Ssangyong were delivered to Cork from the ship which began its journey in Korea before it stopped in Morocco, Italy, Spain and the UK before Cork.

Ken Behan, General Manager for EUKOR’s Ireland partner- Interliner Agencies Ltd said: “EUKOR and our own agency believe that nothing is impossible, which fortunately is a belief we share with the Port of Cork who pulled out all the stops, at short notice, to accommodate our vessel and the delivery of over 680 vehicles to Ireland over the weekend.

“The ease and efficiency, in terms of access and logistics, offered by Port of Cork made it economically attractive for a quick turnaround which is a key priority in our industry.”

The Port of Cork said it has been managing an exceptionally high and increased level of activity and trade, with over 650k tonnes, on average, of cargo and freight traffic through its port over the past four weeks.

The Port of Cork said this demonstrates further proof of its positioning as a key gateway for trade.