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Displaying items by tag: Belfast Harbour

For the second year running the Port of Belfast trade tonnages handled during 2019 have remained strong at more than 24M tonnes.

Positive growth was recorded in several sectors including Roll-on / Roll-Off (Ro-Ro) freight vehicles and exports of aggregates, while last year’s more favourable weather conditions led to lower imports of grain, animal feeds and fuels.

Ro-Ro units rose by 4% to a record 542,000, reflecting the continued popularity of Stena Line’s freight traffic routes to Scotland and England. Exports of stone by Co Down based Conexpo for GB and European infrastructure projects exceeded 1M Tonnes for the first time. Tonnages in the wider aggregates sector grew by 4% to a record 1.6M Tonnes.

Northern Ireland’s tourism sector also benefitted from record numbers of cruise and ferry passenger numbers, up by 6% to over 1.6M, the highest figure recorded in 16 years. The number of tourist coaches carried also increased by 10% to a record 10,000.

Joe O’Neill, Belfast Harbour’s CEO, said: “Although there has been prolonged uncertainty about Brexit’s implications for Northern Ireland, port-related trading activity within the local economy has been steady with tonnage levels staying above 24M Tonnes for the second consecutive year. This reflects Belfast Harbour’s highly diversified and resilient business model which enables us to operate across every major cargo sector.

The 2019 figures also revealed that container traffic increased by 2%, surpassing the 130,000 units handled threshold for the first time since 2008.

Port Director, Michael Robinson added: “Over the longer-term, the mix of trades handled by the port will continue to evolve as consumer spending habits change and the drive to decarbonise the economy accelerates. “While this will lead to a decline in fossil fuel imports which have been a staple of the port industry for the last century, it also presents opportunities to further develop trades related to the green economy and sectors such as offshore wind where Belfast Harbour has a proven track record.

Belfast Harbour is Northern Ireland’s leading gateway and key economic hub for trade and tourism, handling more than 70% of the region’s seaborne imports and exports. The 2,000-acre Harbour Estate hosts more than five million annual visits, including 1.6 million ferry and cruise ship passengers. It is also home to a vibrant mix of 760 businesses working across multiple sectors, including marine logistics and heavy engineering, commercial and residential real estate, retail, financial and IT services, tourism and leisure, media and creative industries. The 85 berth Belfast Harbour Marina is located just upriver from the commercial port and is popular with visitors and long-term berth holders alike.

The ongoing £250million 5-year investment programme in port infrastructure and real estate projects will help deliver Belfast Harbour’s vision to be the world’s best regional port, upholding the highest environmental standards and adopting innovative smart technology and digital infrastructure.

Published in Belfast Lough
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A captain found drunk in charge of his ship in Belfast docks has been fined £500, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Fifty-eight-year-old Oleg Okolobvich was arrested after fellow crew were forced to step in to avoid the cargo vessel Danica Hav colliding with the quay at Belfast Harbour on Tuesday (14 January).

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard on Wednesday (15 January) that a ship’s pilot reported strange behaviour from the captain — who later failed a breath test after his arrest.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping

A dedicated cruise terminal the first on the island of Ireland, reports ITV News, has opened in Belfast.

A partnership between Visit Belfast and Belfast Harbour, the terminal has been created to cater for the growing number of cruise passengers visiting the city in recent years.

More than £500,000 has been invested in upgrading the facility in the Titanic Quarter which now includes a Visitor Information Centre.

The money has been invested by Belfast Harbour with funding also coming from Tourism NI. The centre will be managed by staff from Visit Belfast.

Captain of the Crown Princess, Domenico Lubrano Lavadera, opened the terminal alongside tourism officials and the Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane.

More on the story can be read through this link. 

Published in Cruise Liners

In preparation for the arrival of Stena Line’s new generation E-Flexer ships as Afloat previously reported onto the Belfast-Liverpool service in 2020/21, the company has announced the need to make a number of important infrastructure upgrade changes in Belfast Harbour.

According to the operator this involves Victoria Terminal 2 (VT2) where the arrival of the first new vessel (on this route) Stena Edda is scheduled in Spring 2020. 

To minimise customer disruption and inconvenience whilst this work is being carried out, Stena Line has made temporary arrangements to relocate its Belfast – Heysham Service to Albert Dock/Ballast Quay for approximately 6 months, starting this week on Friday 14th June, 2019.

Anna Breen, Stena Line’s Freight Commercial Mangere (Irish Sea North) said: “ Whilst we fully appreciate the slight inconvenience this may cause, Albert Dock/Ballast Quay is a facility we have used before and are very familiar with so we will do all we can to minimise any possible inconvenience to our customers. As we invest and grow our business on the Belfast -Liverpool service, the new E-Flexers will provide an additional 20% freight capacity, hopefully this will provide even greater business development opportunities for our customers in the years ahead. Stena Line has a proven track record of investing in its ships and ports and nowhere is this more evident than in our expanding Belfast Hub. “

A map (as above) outlines the most convenient way to access the new temporary facility at Albert Quay (located closer to Belfast city centre).

Customers who require further information or clarification are advised to contact the Stena Line Customer Service Team on 0845 0704000

Published in Ferry

Mexican tall ship Cuauhtémoc is the star attraction at the Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival which continues till tomorrow, Monday 27 May.

The sail training ship is among the host of vessels — including Naval Service OPV LÉ Samuel Beckett — docked in the city’s harbour this weekend.

Belfast Live has all you need to know for how to get there and what to do among the wide array of activities, which this year spread across the Lagan from Queen’s Quay and the Titanic Quarter to Donegall Quay and the historic Sailortown district.

That maritime history is also the subject of a new exhibition charting a pioneering ID card system introduced for merchant seamen during the First World War.

Some 60 Sailortown locals have been identified among the cards that were discovered by David Snook while researching his own grandfather’s history, as BBC News reports.

The exhibition is currently on display at St Joseph's Church on Prince’s Dock Street.

Published in Maritime Festivals

Artemis Technologies’ Belfast-based bid for a carbon-free yacht-building project is in line for major seed funding, according to Sail World.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the company spun off from America’s Cup team Artemis Racing and led by double Olympic gold medalist Iain Percy announced plans last October to bring shipbuilding back to Belfast Harbour.

The company is developing an Autonomous Sailing Vessel or ASV, a 45-metre catamaran with a top speed of 50 knots, powered by renewables which will offer it unlimited range.

Percy said last year: ““We aim to lead in the decarbonisation of the maritime industry by building on our America’s Cup heritage and expertise in hydrofoils, wing sails and control systems to develop and manufacture green-powered commercial vessels, helping to ensure a sustainable maritime future.”

Artemis Technologies has now secured early-stage funding to pursue a full bid for UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund.

Successful projects will receive anywhere from £10 million (€11.65 million) to £50 million (€58.3 million) to see their concepts through to fruition.

Percy described the new funding as “a major endorsement of our plans to make Belfast the advanced maritime manufacturing capital of the world.

“The city is already home to some of the most advanced aerospace and composite engineering talent available anywhere on the planet and we want to harness that potential by combining it with Belfast's rich maritime history and our own expertise in high-speed yacht design.”

Sail World has more on the story HERE.

Published in Belfast Lough

#cruiseliners - A total 285,000 visitors on board 151 cruise ships are due to call at Belfast Harbour this year, an increase of 31% on the 115 visits during the 2018 cruise season.

The figures were announced by Cruise Belfast, the partnership between Belfast Harbour and Visit Belfast.

According to Cruise Belfast, July will be the busiest month with 32 ships scheduled to call among them SAGA’s first ever newbuild vessel Spirit of Discovery. Other first time callers to Belfast this year include Disney Magic and Cruise & Maritime Voyages which acquired a ship and renamed Vasco da Gama.

In total 35 separate cruise lines will call at Belfast, the most frequent being CMV with 15 calls scheduled and Princess Cruises set at 13 calls. 

The Italian-based Costa Line will also call at Belfast for the first time while the number of calls from Celebrity will double to eight. Norwegian Cruise Line is expanding its visits from one in 2018 to eleven calls as part of its strategic growth plans for the northern European market.

Published in Cruise Liners

#BelfastLough - Belfast Harbour announced its results for 2017 and has reported a record financial performance and a strong investment pipeline of £132m in port infrastructure.

In addition to port infrastructure, real estate projects are been targeted at improving the competitiveness of its operations and generating further growth.  

Turnover in the year to December 31st 2017 was up 6.5% to £61.9million and operating profit up 5.6% to £34million. The growth in turnover and profits was supported by a 3% increase in port cargo handled to a record 23.7million tonnes, and additional income from the Harbour’s successful property developments in its City Quays river front offices and AC Marriott Hotel, plus new Film Studios on the North Foreshore.

During 2017 Belfast Harbour invested £42million in new port facilities and regeneration developments across its 2,000 acre Estate.

Future capital expenditure plans include an upgrade of the port’s ferry and container handling facilities at a cost of £60million, and further investments in new logistics warehousing units. Planned developments at City Quays include a new 900-space multi story car park currently under construction and a further 250,000 square foot Grade ‘A’ office building which is awaiting final planning approval.

The planned upgrade of ferry terminal facilities is in support of a major investment by Stena Line in new larger Roll-On/Roll-Off ferries which are due to start operation on Belfast routes in early 2020.(See related story: upgrade on Merseyside).

Belfast Harbour is also making a substantial investment in new cranes and terminal capacity improvements at the port’s container terminal at VT3. This terminal handles direct shipping services between Belfast and the key European hub ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, and provides global connectivity for Northern Ireland’s exporters and importers.

Commenting on the annual report, Belfast Harbour’s Chairman, David Dobbin, said: “Belfast Harbour is a key economic driver for our region. Our Trust Port status allows us to reinvest all of our earnings after tax for the benefit of port users and the wider local economy. This ongoing investment cycle has been key to our financial success and has allowed us to support the growth in trade and passenger/visitor numbers, and the creation of quality new jobs across our estate.

“We estimate that our current investment programme will generate over 10,000 jobs. Over 2,000 jobs have already been delivered in the City Quays offices and hotel developments, and the Harbour Film Studios.”

Joe O’Neill, Belfast Harbour’s CEO, added: “A key factor in the success of Belfast Harbour is the ongoing growth in port throughput in sectors such as aggregates, steel, animal feeds and grains, Roll-On/Roll-Off freight, ferry passengers and cruise ship visits. Port operations account for c.80% of turnover and the continued delivery of best-in-class marine facilities remains our investment priority.

“The Harbour’s real estate activities also are delivering ongoing growth. As trade in traditional sectors such as coal and refined oil reduce, we will continue to explore new trade opportunities, alongside those in real estate and tradeable services. Our ongoing partnerships with Titanic Quarter and Catalyst Inc. also continue to yield positive results.”

During 2017, 5,874 ships arrived at Belfast Harbour. Over half a million freight vehicles passed through the port while passenger numbers rose by 9% to 1.5m.

The port welcomed 155,000 cruise passengers and Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector also continued to perform strongly with related trades handled increasing by 10% to almost 2.3m tonnes.

Published in Belfast Lough

#BelfastHarbour - A total investment of £30M by Belfast Harbour and Northern Ireland-based LCC Group have put the city at the centre of the global supply chain for hi-tech coal.

Since opening last year, LCC’s £12M facility has handled almost 500,000 tonnes of processed coal which is exported directly across the world to destinations such as Saudi Arabia, Australia, Scandinavia, mainland Europe and North Africa. LCC’s investment and export opportunity is built upon a circa £20m investment by Belfast Harbour in recent years to enhance its deep water and cranage capability.

The LCC facility, the most sophisticated of its kind in the world, removes impurities from coal. The coal can then be used to produce ferro alloy and silica metals which are used in the manufacture of hi-end products such as solar panels and medical equipment. LCC imports coal to Belfast from Columbia for processing before onward export.

Over 130 direct and indirect jobs are supported by the operation including engineers, lab technicians and port support services.

Michael Loughran of LCC Group, said: “This £12m investment means that LCC operates one of the most environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art coal processing facilities to be found anywhere in the world. In addition to creating 30 new jobs and up to 100 indirect jobs in supporting sectors, the facility has put Belfast at the heart of the global hi-tech coal industry.

“Working in partnership with Belfast Harbour and building upon its investments in port infrastructure, LCC is now to the fore of the emerging clean-tech coal sector. The facility is designed to meet the most stringent 21st century environmental standards, and uses the most up-to-date technology to combat potential air and water pollution.”

Michael Robinson, Belfast Harbour’s Commercial Director, added: “In recent years Belfast Harbour has invested around £20m in a new deep-water quay and new larger cranes to enhance its bulk cargo operations in anticipation of our customers’ future needs.  This has enabled the Port to handle ever larger vessels and accommodate LCC’s new facility beside its main bulk handling quay at Stormont Wharf.

“Belfast Harbour is now handling direct export shipments to Saudi Arabia for the first time in its history and recently exported bulk cargo to Australia for the first time in living memory. This new trade is also supporting jobs across a wide range of port services including stevedores and hauliers.”

As alluded above the port handled a shipment to Saudi Arabia last week which involved 20,000 tonnes of processed coal.

Published in Belfast Lough

#CruiseLiners - According to Cruise Belfast 2018 will be another record cruise season for Belfast Harbour with 117 ships expected to dock in the city bringing more than 200,000 visitors to Northern Ireland.

25% more ships are booked to arrive in Belfast Harbour compared to last year including, eight new Cruise Lines which have added Belfast to their itineraries, joining the cruise industry’s leading operators Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Cunard. The City is also becoming increasingly popular with ‘Exploration and Adventure’ ships which operate at the luxury end of the market.

More than half of the ships calling will each bring over 1,000 visitors to Belfast with the largest ship, the 330m long Royal Princess, bringing more than 61,000 passengers to the City during her 12 calls. August will be the busiest month with 26 cruise calls bringing over 40,000 passengers and crew.

Among the new lines calling is Swiss-based Viking Line which has recently diversified into ocean going cruising having previously concentrated on the popular European river cruise market. Viking Line has scheduled four calls to Belfast in 2018 bringing almost 6,000 visitors in total. Other first time callers include ‘mega-yacht’ operator Variety Cruises, who are scheduled to call ten times this summer.

The length of Belfast’s cruise season has also extended with the first call due in mid-March and the last call in mid-October. For the first time it’s expected that passenger and crew numbers to Belfast will break the 200,000 mark, up almost 50,000 in a year.

By the end of the season Belfast Harbour will have welcomed over 700 ships and 1.2M cruise visitors since the first cruise ships visited the Port in 1996.

Details of the cruise schedule can be found on Belfast Harbour’s website www.belfast-harbour.co.uk/cruise-schedule/

Published in Cruise Liners
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