#StrongGrowth - Against the backdrop of 500,000 visitors to Belfast's Tall Ships Festival in the port area, Belfast Harbour has reported record profits and turnover, and committed to invest £120 million in new infrastructure projects over the next three years.
Figures detailed in the Harbour's 2014 annual report revealed that turnover increased 4% to £52.6 million whilst Profits before Tax climbed 8% to a record £29.4 million. The Harbour also paid a record £10 million in tax during the year.
The performance was supported by growth in the volume of trade through the Harbour, with particularly strong performances in the freight traffic sector, up 2.2% to 476,000 vehicles and bulk cargoes such as coal and animal feed which brought dry bulk trade to over seven million tonnes for the first time.
In the past five years the Harbour has invested £100 million in new projects to enhance its infrastructure and services to Port customers and to maintain competitiveness with other ports across the island of Ireland. Projects in the pipeline include an upgrade of the Harbour's Roll-On/Roll-Off facilities, enhanced container handling capability and Cruise ship facilities.
Commenting on the results David Dobbin, Belfast Harbour's Chairman, said: "Belfast Harbour has successfully come through the global recession by investing heavily to diversify its business activities and to improve the competitiveness of its operations.
"Although growth in trade has slowed over the past year, the total throughput through the Port at 23 million tonnes is now 47% above low point of the recession in 2009. There is, however, little room for complacency given the fragile nature of the recovery and the negative impact which a stronger sterling is having upon local exporters.
"The Harbour's strategy of long-term investment for long-term growth has served us well. This will continue through a pipeline of capital expenditure projects totaling £120 million. Projects include a bespoke cruise facility and addressing the continuing shortage of Grade A office accommodation in Belfast by further developing the City Quays scheme. Last week the Board approved a £20 million spend on the City Quays 2 building."
During 2014 the Harbour commenced work on City Quays 1, the first office building in its City Quays development. With that building now complete and legal firm Baker & McKenzie secured as the anchor tenant, work will begin soon on the next stage of the development, City Quays 2, providing a further 124,000 sq ft of office accommodation.
Upon final completion the £250 million, 20-acre City Quays scheme is expected to support 10,000 jobs and generate £11 million in rates income for local and central Government.
Dr. Dobbin added: "As an entirely self-funded business with no recourse to the public purse or private finance, there is a clear linkage between the Harbour's ability to invest and grow, and its financial performance.
"Every penny of the Harbour's earnings are retained within the business and reinvested to develop Port facilities and real estate, creating much needed jobs and driving regional development. This year's record financial performance gives the Harbour a strong basis from which to support future growth.
"Belfast Harbour is an integral part of the life and economy of Northern Ireland, as demonstrated by the 500,000 visitors anticipated at this weekend's Tall Ships Festival. The public has a keen interest in Belfast's maritime heritage and with £120 million earmarked for new projects the Harbour has demonstrated its commitment to the Harbour's future."
Other developments during 2014 included the enhancement of quay facilities at Pollock Dock to support increased waste and recycling related tonnages, and the award of planning approval to develop up to 200,000 sq ft of business space within Sydenham Business Park.
The existing Fairway Buoy has been moved east northeast (ENE) to a new position, while four new buoys have been added - two at the main approach to the Port of Belfast, and two further out in the lough at Kilroot and Helen's Bay.
Vessels heading into the Port of Belfast are to pass north of the repositioned Fairway Buoy, while outward vessels must now pass south of the buoy, both reporting to Belfast Harbour Radio on VHF Channel 12.
Moreover, all vessels arriving to and departing from Belfast Harbour, when proceeding to or from anchorages or other berths within Belfast Lough, are requested to make contact with Belfast Harbour Radio to confirm their passage plans whether inbound (15 minutes from the Fairway), outbound (on passing Beacon No 12) or on heaving anchor.
Full details of co-ordinates of the new buoy placements are included in Belfast Harbour Notice No 20 of 2012, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.
#TITANIC'S TENDER - While all the attention is focused on the R.M.S. Titanic and the newly opened Titanic Belfast visitor experience, the White Star Line passenger tender SS Nomadic is only a stone's throw away from the venue, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Like the liner she was built by Harland & Wolff and her launch took place in 1911. She was commissioned by White Star Line as a 1st and 2nd class passenger tender for Titanic and sister Olympic.
The Nomadic carried out her duties based in Cherbourg, where she transferred passengers to the Titanic on her only call to the Normandy port. As such the vessel which is registered in the French port, is the last surviving White Star Line vessel in the world and the only remaining authentic link to the ill-fated liner.
Decades later, the Nomadic became a floating restaurant on the River Seine in Paris close to the Eiffel Tower, where the venture which started in 1977 remained formore than twenty years.
The ageing vessel faced new safety regulations threatening her fate which ultimately led to her being seized in 2002. She was then offered for sale and then followed a court action for her to be scrapped but a campaign was raised to save the historic vessel which succeeded in her securement.
At 95 years old she was towed by barge back to her builder's birthplace in Belfast in 2006. Now that she is over a century old the vessel is currently undergoing restoration by the SS Nomadic Charitable Trust. She is dry-docked in the Hamilton Dock which adjoins the new iconic landmark of the Titanic Belfast building within the developing Titanic Quarter.
Yesterday 'hard-hat' tours began of the preserved liner tender and it is essential to note that tickets are to be 'pre-booked' with the last tour on 15th April. Daily tours are at 10.30, 12 noon, 2pm and the last tour is 3.30pm. To ensure availability visit: www.nomadicbelfast.com/book-a-tour
For further information about the various visitor attractions and events click the following headings, to be directed to the relevant websites.
Following yesterday's inaugural cruise call to Belfast this year of Balmoral as previously reported the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines vessel was making a cruise in memory of the liner. To see the list of the other cruiseships calling to the city, click HERE.
- RMS Titanic
- SS Nomadic
- White Star Line
- Nomadic Charitble Trust
- Harland & Wolff
- White Star Line passenger tenders
- Hamilton Dock, Belfast
- Port of Belfast
- Belfast Lough News
- Cruise ships
- Cruise Liners
- Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
- Restaurant river Seine boats
- Titanic Belfast
- Titanic Quater
- Titanic Belfast Festival
- RMS Olympic
#TITANIC- In this centenary year of the R.M.S.Titantic's sinking, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Balmoral is to include a port of call to Belfast Harbour, where passengers are to visit the Harland & Wolff shipyard, during an Easter mini cruise in early April, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Balmoral will be the first cruiseship to berth in Belfast this year and her passengers are to visit the world famous shipyard on Queens Island where the liner was built for the White Star Line.
In addition there will be opportunities to call to the Botanical Gardens, Ulster Museum and Belfast Castle. The three-night mini-cruise starts in Southampton and is to include an en-route call to Liverpool, a former City of Culture.
For further information on other cruise calls to Belfast as previously reported on Afloat.ie click this HERE. In addition to the Titanic Walking Festival (31 March-22 April) as also reported click HERE
#CRUISE LINERS-Belfast Harbour looks forward to another bumper year as cruise operators are to increase by 32% compared to last year, with 41 cruise ships bringing almost 75,000 visitors to the port.
The following major operators are to visit: Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Saga Cruise and others will dock from far flung destinations.
At over 1km long, Stormont Wharf, will again be the main berth for cruiseships in particular the ability to accommodate an increasing trend in larger class vessels touring the Irish Sea. The wharf was extended in recent years at a cost of £10m and is the longest deepwater quay in Ireland.
To promote Belfast Harbour as a cruiseship destination, the port and the Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau (BVCB) set up the Cruise Belfast Initiative to market the location internationally.
#PORTS & SHIPPING – Figures released by Belfast Harbour for the year 2011 show that tonnage rose by 7% to a record 17.644m tonnes. The increase for last year was driven by strong performances in break-bulk and ro-ro (freight vehicles) and in the dry-bulk sector.
Break-bulk products jumped 23% to 332,000 tonnes. In particular, steel and steel coil traffic doubled in 2011 compared with 2010 reflecting improved activity in Northern Ireland's engineering manufacturing sector, while the number of freight vehicles using the port rose by 14%.
Dry-bulk, which includes items such as aggregates and agri-food related products, exceeded four million tonnes for the first time in the port's history.
There was a record year for stone exports, up 13% to one million tonnes, reflecting on-going road maintenance and construction projects in the UK and Europe.
Other notable performers in the sector included scrap metal (up 8%) and salt (up 82%), driven by last winter's 'Big Freeze' and according to the port, they expect similar conditions this year.
#PORTS & SHIPPING- Vega Stockholm, a vessel which featured in the BBC The 'Box' that tracked the movements of a single container around the world in 2008, coinciding with the start of the credit crunch crisis and telling the story of globalisation and the world economy, departed Dublin Port this evening, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The Box travelled the world ( totalling 50,000 miles) first departed from the BBC TV Centre headquarters, London and headed northwards by road to Scotland. From there the Box was loaded on board the Vega Stockholm in Greenock and she departed on 12th September (see PHOTO) and made an en route call to Belfast before arriving the next day in Dublin Port. Only 16 days later the fateful decision by the Irish Government to bail-out the Irish banks was made with a state guarantee.
The domestic economic crisis was also set against some of the most dramatic developments in the global economy including the first global recession in 60 years, notably with the fall of global finances giant Lehman Brothers.
The container box or forty equivalent units or (FEU) in industry parlance was painted in distinctive red and emblazoned with the words BBC News and the website www.bbc.co.uk/thebox so it could be tracked online across continents and oceans in addition to coverage by T.V. and radio. To trace the route taken by Box over 421 days to and from the UK, click HERE. In addition for further photographs taken by viewers following the Box departing the Clyde on board the container vessel click HERE.
On the first leg of a worldwide journey, Vega Stockholm (2006/8,306grt) departed the Scottish port with the Box laden with 15,000 bottles of Scotch whiskey bound for Shanghai, though this particular 'feeder' vessel would of carried the box to another port prior to onward shipment to the Far East by a much larger containership.
The Box carried other cargoes on different legs as part of its worldwide journey to include 4000 shoes and over 95,000 tins of cat food for our fluffy friends. Of the entire journey, over 47,000 miles was spent crossing the oceans.
The box itself suffered some battering along the way including that of an economic front as the container sat still for three months in the docks of the Japanese port of Yukohoma.
At the time a record 10% of the fleet were idle, and revenues per container were likely to have dropped from already extremely depressed levels. The journey of the Box made for an interesting time to be following a container around the world.
To put some figures into context during the exercise the global container business made a collective profit of £3bn in 2008, but is estimated to have lost a cool £20bn in 2009.
After the Box arrived back to Southampton with vehicle parts, the container finally returned to London. Perhaps the most ironic tale of the exercise was the actual fate of the 'Box' itself, as it was reported the container ended up in South Africa to be converted for use as soup kitchen, another story for the Beeb!
- Ports and Shipping
- Dublin Port
- BBC The Box
- Vega Stockholm
- Global economy
- Lehman Brothers
- Irish bank bailout
- Irish state bank guarantee
- BBC headquarters
- Port of Greenock
- Container feeder services
- Port of Shanghai
- Scotch Whiskey
- Credit crunch crisis
- Southampton Docks
- BBC News
- Port of Belfast
The new route to Loch Ryan Port, Cairnryan includes a new £80m ferryport terminal which will be served by the 30,000 gross tonnes sisters, the largest ever ferries on the North Channel. Stena Superfast VIII is currently in the Skagerrak off northern Denmark and follows her sister Stena Superfast VII which arrived over the weekend, having also undergone refurbishment at the Romentowa shipyard.
The relocation of Scottish terminal from Stranraer to Loch Ryan Port is seven miles closer to the open sea and sailing times are to be reduced to 2hrs and 15minutes. The new terminal is to be officially opened on 25th November when First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness will join Dan Sten Olsson, Chairman of Stena Line.
As for the 15,229 gross tonnes Stena Navigator, she made her Stranraer-Belfast sailing yesterday, after de-storing at the VT4 ferry terminal, only completed in 2008, she proceeded to berth at Albert Quay, the location of the former city-centre ferry terminal.
In the interim period to the opening of the new Belfast-Cairnryan route, the sailing schedule on the Belfast-Stranraer service are been maintained by another conventional ferry, Stena Caledonia and fast sailings by the HSS Stena Voyager.
HSS Stena Voyager is expected to lay-up at VT4 after making final sailings to and from Stranraer this Sunday. It is expected Stena Caledonia will also be withdrawn that day and berth at Albert Quay. In the process she will pass Harland & Wolf shipyard, where she was launched in 1981 as the St. David, the last of the quartet of Saint-class ferries commissioend for Sealink/British Rail.
The career of Stena Navigator on the North Channel was short as she only entered service two years ago. She was built in 1984 as Champs Elysees first served for SNCF/Sealink's jointly run Dover-Calais route, followed by a brief spell under Stena Line as Stena Parisien on Newhaven-Dieppe sailings.
She returned to the Straits of Dover route but this time as SeaFrance Manet under the control of SeaFrance. In 2008 SeaFrance introduced SeaFrance Moliere, the former Superfast X, ironically another sister of Stena Line's 'Superfast' ships. This Superfast vessel along with two custom built newbuilds entered SeaFrance service in recent years which led to the eventual replacement of SeaFrance Renoir and her half sister SeaFrance Manet.
- Port of Belfast
- Stena Line
- Ports and Shipping News
- Ferry news
- Loch Ryan Port
- HSS Stena Voyager
- St. David
- Belfast Lough News
- Stena Superfast sisters
- Loch Ryan Port Cairnryan
- Harland & Wolf
- Sealink/British Rail
- SaintClass sisters
- Straits of Dover
- VT4 Terminal
- Loch Ryan Scotland
- Sealink British Rail
The Port Training Programme is comprised of a "Modern Port Management" course and a final dissertation. During this training of trainer's workshop, the senior managers will be trained as local instructors on Modules 1-4 of the "Modern Port Management" course.
On completion of the workshop which ends today, they will serve as local instructors for their respective ports, collaborating with UNCTAD specialists and transferring their acquired knowledge to the participants of the TFT Port Training Programme.
UNCTAD stands for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development which was launched in 1998. The new Train-For-Trade programme strengthens national and regional human and institutional resources for trade and investment as a key to growth for UNCTAD member countries, particularly the least developed ones (LDCs).
Fram operates on cruises from Norway to Spitsbergen, Greenland, and Europe. She also cruises in Antarctic waters and explores the Chilean fjords. She can handle 400 passengers in 254 berths. On board there is a reception area, a large top-deck glass-enclosed observation salon positioned forward, bar, restaurant, library, shop and leisure facilities, including gym, sauna and jacuzzi. For further information and deck plans click HERE.
Throughout her interior she has traditional and modern artwork from a selection of Norwegian and Greenlandic artists. To read more on her Antarctic cruises and other destinations click HERE.
On this particular cruise, she had departed from Bergin and called to several Scottish ports prior to berthing in Belfast and docking in Dublin yesterday. This evening she heads for the Isles of Scilly, followed by a call to Portsmouth before disembarking her passengers in Hamburg.