The Galway Harbour Company operates and manages the Port of Galway. Galway Harbor has been important to sea-going trades and inland Ireland for centuries. Located in the city center, the Port of Galway is a long-standing and important part of the community.
Over the past decade, cargo traffic has increased significantly. In 1995, 243 vessels carried over 456 thousand tons of cargo through the Port of Galway. In 2007, 426 vessels carried 945.2 thousand tons of cargo. Commodities handled at the Port of Galway include steel, machinery, coal, scrap metal, and baled timber. The Port of Galway also supports the shipment of liquid, dry, and break bulk cargoes and oil.
The Port of Galway has pipelines to handle refined petroleum and bitumen, which amount to 90% of the port’s throughput. Oil tankers discharge their cargo at Folan Quay to oil storage tanks through underground pipelines. The storage facilities can hold 35 thousand cubic meters. A new 42-thousand-ton-capacity storage tank farm was opened in 2008. Cargo vessels discharge bitumen at the Dun Aengus North Quay, and Cold Chon Ltd. handles more than 70 thousand tons of bitumen each year through the bitumen membrane plant at the Harbour Enterprise Park.
The Port of Galway’s new 40-ton mobile crane handles dry bulk cargoes that include coal, aggregate, steel, petroleum coke, scrap metal, and timber. The Galway Harbour Company also operates a 25-berth pontoon city marine leisure facility that opened in 2008.
The Port of Galway is the most central seaport in western Ireland. In addition to commercial shipping activities, regular passenger ferries carry passengers to and from the Aran Islands. The harbor is currently undergoing major work so that it can accommodate a stop-over during the Volvo Ocean Race, one of the Port of Galway’s biggest events ever.