Displaying items by tag: Belfast Harbour Chairman Len O'Hagan
#BELFAST HARBOUR -The largest port in the north reported improved turnover and profit during 2010-2011, according to the annual report of Belfast Harbour.
The port showed a 2% rise in profit before taxation to £17.8m and a 4% increase in turnover to £36.1m. Underpinning the harbour's performance were record levels of tonnages handled during the period - up 7% to 17.6m tonnes. Although some sectors, such as those related to construction, continued to struggle, this was offset by growth elsewhere.
The number of freight vehicles passing through the port rose by 14% to 357,000 and a record four million tonnes were handled in the dry-bulk sector, which includes trades such as aggregates and coal.
Belfast Harbour noted that capital expenditure projects valued at £18.3m were completed during 2010-11. A further £53.8m was committed to additional projects at the year end, principally the development of the UK's first dedicated offshore wind logistics terminal for DONG Energy.
Len O'Hagan, Belfast Harbour's Chairman, said: "In spite of ongoing sluggishness in both the UK and Irish economies, Belfast Harbour has posted a very strong set of results for 2011, reflecting the diverse nature of the business and a long-term strategy of major capital investment to ensure that Belfast offers the most modern maritime facilities on the island.
"Significant uncertainty, however, still exists in the global economy, with the UK officially falling back into recession and the continuing eurozone crisis which is undermining business confidence throughout the continent and beyond.
"There are still opportunities for growth, though, particularly in renewable energy where Belfast Harbour is investing £50m in a new terminal for the assembly of offshore wind turbines. There have also been opportunities to further develop Belfast Harbour Estate, not least the Titanic Belfast visitor attraction, which received a £13.6m donation from Belfast Harbour, and the Northern Ireland Science Park which was the subject of a £6m investment by the Harbour to facilitate a 55,000 sq ft expansion."
During the year the port benefitted from several developments within the Irish Sea ferry sector, including the opening of Stena Line's new Scottish terminal at Loch Ryan Port (Cairnryan) and introduction of a pair of larger and more modern vessels. During this timeframe Stena Line had completed its takeover of DFDS Seaways Belfast - Birkenhead route and freight-only service to Heysham.
Mr O'Hagan added: "Although the overall performance of Belfast Harbour has been strong, it is clear that economic recovery across the UK and Ireland remains patchy. Belfast Harbour, however, is committed to its long-term strategy of investing in infrastructure to maintain the Port's competitiveness and provide much needed capital projects for the construction industry."
The principle driver in the ports performance came from the agri-food sector with a record 2m tonnes of grain and animal feed imports. The sector also recorded fertiliser imports alone leap by 32%, reflecting the major investment by the harbour in recent years in the dry-bulk cargo trade.
Roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) accounted for a 2% rise to 313,000 vehicles carried, partly due to the introduction of newer larger tonnage on the Belfast-Heysham route.
Belfast Harbour Chairman, Len O'Hagan, said: "Although trading conditions in the UK and Ireland remain weak, the increase in tonnages handled by Belfast Harbour suggests that business confidence is starting to return, albeit slowly.
"Belfast Harbour continues to operate in a highly competitive port sector, but I am pleased to note that the £160m which the Harbour invested in new facilities during the past decade has enabled it to emerge from the downturn with new customers and a presence in new sectors such as renewable energy.
Capital investment in the port worth almost £6m were undertaken during 2010, including the purchase of a new mobile crane, a 10,000 sq ft expansion in logistics space and preliminary works to support the proposed development of an offshore wind turbine terminal for DONG Energy (click HERE). The combined capital expenditure in these projects is in excess of £60m.
Within the ports real estate, projects at the Titanic Quarter progress at the Public Record Office, Belfast Metropolitan College and the core attraction of the 'Titanic Belfast' visitor centre.
Master planning for the 24-acre mixed-use City Quays site adjacent to the Harbour Office was secured. In addition planning permission was lodged for a 230,000 sq ft of space at Sydenham Business Park on the south-eastern fringes of the harbour.
Further upstream closer to the city-centre at the Abercorn Basin, initial work had been completed on a marina where there are more plans for the development of a 250-berth full-service leisure facility.
Next Monday the port's cruise business is to welcome a new cruiseship, the 66,000 tonnes Marina of Oceania Cruises. The 1,250-passenger /800 crew newbuild's arrival to Belfast comes in a year that marks the thirteenth anniversary since the first liner docked in the city. In 2011 over 30 such vessels are due to visit bringing some 50,000 passengers and crew.
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