Check Against Delivery
First of all I would like to thank you for inviting me to this official opening of DHL's new Express Hub.
I am very pleased to be associated with an event such as this, marking as it does a further commitment to Ireland by one of the world's leading freight and logistic companies.
DHL, established in 1969 in the USA has since being taken over by Deutsche Post in 2001, it gone from strength to strength, and has been expanding vigorously since then.
DHL is now a dynamic, vigorous and world-class European company, delivering services at the very highest levels.
I am glad to see that the company has had a long association with Dublin Airport, having been established in Ireland in 1979 and is now responsible for some 15% of the total air cargo throughput at Dublin Airport.
DHL has expanded rapidly in Ireland over recent years and is now operating out of 40 facilities and employing some 2,000 people in total. In a way, its growth has reflected and mirrored the growth in the wider economy in Ireland over the last decade.
Current indications for the Irish economy are that GDP growth over the next three years to 2010 is forecast to be an average of 3.5%.
A figure which is still impressive by international standards.
Furthermore, the fundamentals of the Irish economy are strong and, provided we effectively manage the current economic climate , the economy is expected to revert to its trend growth by the end of 2010.
Ireland is a small open economy and we face considerable and challenging competition in a global and ever-changing marketplace. Over the past decade in particular our economy has radically evolved. We now face the daily challenge of competing against other evolving economies in many different parts of the globe.
The challenge of meeting this international competition is pushing Irish businesses towards greater efficiencies. We need to, and must, be able to respond to these presssures by becoming more and more efficient and by delivering an international class service to our customers.
As an island economy , we are therefore very dependant on the efficiency of our transport linkages in helping us to achieve this. This is why I am particularly happy to be here today.
The Hub which we are opening here is a perfect example of how we react to competitive pressures and become more efficient in allowing Irish businesses to deliver a continuously improving world class service to our international customers.
In conclusion, I would like to thank DHL once again for inviting me here to open this new facility. I would like to wish them, and all the staff that will be employed here, every success for the future.