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Displaying items by tag: Belfast Harbour

Belfast Harbour has submitted a planning application for the development of six new purpose-built film and television studios at its existing Giant’s Park site.

The harbour company says the plans represent an investment of £45m and will generate 250 construction jobs and around 1,000 creative industry jobs.

The proposed development would quadruple the size of the Belfast Harbour Studios complex and make Belfast a leading centre in the industry, the company says.

Phase one of the Belfast Harbour Studios development opened three years ago at Giant’s Park on Belfast Lough with two 32,000 sq ft studios and 125,000 sq ft of overall production space.

These have been used for a number of major productions including SyFy’s Krypton TV series and are currently occupied by a major film production company.

Belfast Harbour now intends to develop four additional 21,000 sq ft studios and two 16,000 sq ft studios, as well as up to 100,000 sq ft of production offices and 130,000 sq ft of support workshops on an adjoining 20-acre site.

In total, the project represents more than 346,000 sq ft of additional production facilities which, when combined with phase one, will create the largest studio complex outside of the South East of England.

Located on Belfast’s Giant’s Park on the North Foreshore, the expanded facility will also provide flexible backlot areas and dedicated support space for specialised creative suppliers to the industry, and aligns with Belfast Harbour’s ambitions to create a leading European media hub.

Joe O’Neill, Belfast Harbour’s CEO, said: “In recent years Belfast has established itself as one of the UK’s top media production hubs. In 2017 we invested £20m to provide brand-new studio facilities but with record levels of demand for studio space globally, we are confident the time is right to progress with phase two of the development.

“The location is highly accessible, is serviced by ultra-high-speed internet connections and benefits from a skilled local workforce that has proven its ability to help deliver some of the world’s best film and television content.

“This new studio complex will build on Northern Ireland’s already impressive international reputation and generate around 1,000 creative industry jobs across a wide variety of disciplines.”

Upon receipt of planning, Belfast Harbour would start construction on phase two later this year with completion of the new studios scheduled for 2021.

Richard Williams, CEO of Northern Ireland Screen, said the expansion would provide a significant further boost for the local industry at a time when studio space is at a premium across the UK.

“With Disney and Apple joining Netflix and Amazon in investing in the launch of their own on-demand streaming services, there is no end in sight to the demand for high-end, high-cost content. That has led to unprecedented demand for studio space globally, so Belfast Harbour’s announcement comes at a perfect time for our local industry,” he said.

“Belfast Harbour’s support for the screen industries in Northern Ireland is exemplary, and their vision for phase two of Belfast Harbour Studios is inspired. It is a development that will help Northern Ireland to become the largest screen sector in the UK and Ireland outside of the southeast of England.”

Spending on film and high-end television in the UK from major international productions topped £3.04bn in 2019, according to figures released by British Film Institute’s research and statistics unit.

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 Belfast Lough

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 Belfast Lough

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
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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