The Shannon Superhighway Concept is designed to benefit farmers as follows:
Repeat flooding of Shannonside farmland will be a distant memory.
Shannon Region farmers and farming families will benefit from a massively improved transportation infrastructure.
Improved infrastructure will ensure better market prices for agricultural produce.
It will also ensure lower market prices for farming inputs.
A Port specifically for farmers is proposed for Lanesborough, serving the Roscommon, Longford region.
The Shannon commercial navigation will give direct access to new markets via Foynes Port etc.
It will also allow direct low-cost importation of bulk fertilizers, feed-stocks, fuels, building materials etc.
Cost per tonne/kilometre of barge travel is 17% that of road transport.
1 barge load = 85 truck loads.
A total reliance on long-distance high-cost road transportation will no longer be necessary.
Direct new markets to Europe and the rest-of-the-world are of major benefit.....now that the British Market is compromised by Brexit!
Economic benefits of flood-free land
The Rydell Report 1956, estimates that 175,000 acres (71,000 ha) of farmland bordering the Shannon and its tributaries, is subject to regular flooding. With the elimination of flooding the production value of the land is significantly increased.
Production value also relates to capital value as the following simplified calculations indicate:
Assumed value of land subject to regular flooding (say) = €5,000 acre
Assumed value of flood-free land (say) = €11,000 acre
Increase in capital value = 175,000 ha x €6,000 = €1,050,000,000
Potential Benefit = €1 Billion
Transportation Cost Savings
The Superhighway Navigation will give significant transportation cost benefits to farmers.
The European Commission aims to promote and strengthen the competitive position of inland waterways in the transport system and, to facilitate its integration into the intermodal logistics chain. Part of the Commissions Policy Statement reads as follows:
"In particular, (inland waterways navigation) offers an environment-friendly alternative in terms of both energy consumption and noise emissions. Its energy consumption per km/ton of transported goods is approximately 17% of that of road transport and 50% of rail transport. In addittion, inland waterway transport ensures a high degree of safety, in particular when it comes to the transportation of dangerous goods. Finally, it contributes to decongesting overloaded road networks in densly populated regions".
Canal Transportation Directly to Europe & Foreign Markets
We estimate barge travel time between Lanesborough and The Shannon Estuary at circa 16 hours. On reaching the Estuary, Farm produce and manufactured agricultural goods could be transferred directly to ocean-going vessels sailing directly to Europe, the Far East etc.
For Midlands Farmers, the current expensive and (Brexit!) uncertain export route to Europe via Dublin / Holyhead / Lowestoft and Zeebrugge is by-passed!