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Displaying items by tag: Belfast Port

#RecordTonnage - Belfast Harbour trade figures reveal that the port handled a record 23 million tonnes during 2014, up 46% since the recession's low point in 2009.

Overall tonnages rose by 1.6%, driven by strong growth in bulk cargo which accounts for over 40% of throughput at the Harbour. Trade sectors which grew particularly well included stone exports (18%), industrial and domestic coal (20%), paper products (33%) and steel (38%).

A record 476,000 freight vehicles also passed through the Harbour during 2014 (up over 2%), while container traffic improved by 2.9% to 125,000 units. The level of new car imports also rose by 10% to 48,000, its highest level since 2007.

Roy Adair, Belfast Harbour's CEO, said: "Surpassing 23 million tonnes for the first time is a major achievement for the Harbour, driven by our ongoing investment programme to deliver best-in-class facilities. It has also been supported by major investments from customers such as Stena Line which has introduced a third ship to its Belfast – Liverpool service.

"Improving economic and consumer confidence across the island has helped drive growth. Increased steel imports, for example, reflects greater manufacturing activity, especially in the Republic of Ireland, while the improvement in freight, containers and new car imports suggests a modest pick-up in consumer confidence.

"As the economy across the island has improved, so too has competition in the port sector. Belfast Harbour is actively pursuing a pipeline of new capital expenditure projects valued at £140m to support further economic growth across the Harbour Estate and to develop new and existing trade opportunities, ensuring that local businesses have access to world class facilities."

The Harbour's animal feed sector performed well, rising 3.3% to a record 2.2m tonnes, while scrap exports rose 14% to a record 373,000 tonnes.

Cement tonnages also improved, increasing fivefold to 79,000 tonnes. This was, however, from a small base and total cement tonnages remain less than one third of pre-recession levels.

Joe O'Neill, Belfast Harbour's Commercial Director said: "Exports from Belfast Harbour grew by 3.6% in 2014, accounting for 42% of all tonnages handled. In 20-years tonnages at Belfast Harbour have grown almost fourfold thanks to a rolling programme of Harbour investment totalling £400 m which has helped develop trade and attracted new business activity in the Harbour Estate.

"A major contributor to that success was Northern Ireland-based quarry firm, Conexpo, which grew its stone exports by 25% to almost one million tonnes in 2014 to meet demand from customers in GB and Europe.

"Conexpo is a good example of a SME whose export growth plans have been supported by Belfast Harbour's investments in new equipment and quays, and the availability of ever larger premises within the Harbour Estate. Our focus over the next 20-years is to ensure that the Harbour continues to grow and invest to support similar success stories."

Ferry passenger numbers remained steady during 2014 at 1.4m while cruise passengers calling at Belfast increased by 23% to a record 112,000.

Published in Belfast Lough

#BelfastHarbour - 4NI reports that Northern Ireland Environment Minister Mark Durkan has granted planning permission for a 60-acre extension to Belfast Harbour.

The expansion for port-related uses goes hand in hand with last year's announcement of Ireland's first dedicated cruise terminal for Belfast Harbour, that would accommodate next-generation cruise liners carrying more than 4,500 passengers and crew.

Minister Durkan said the expansion plans were "good news for Belfast" in terms of both enhancing the port and providing construction jobs.

Published in Belfast Lough

#NewTUGS - The tug Masterman was named at a ceremony in Belfast Port last week, the event marks the second tug for SMS Towage Ltd which launched a new towage service in early October, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The entry of SMS Towage to Belfast Port represents an investment in excess of £5m and is a response to the demand from port users.

The 50 bollard tonnes Masterman built in 2009 joins another omnidirectional tug Irishman completed in 1989 which has a bollard pull capacity of 40 tonnes. The pair are highly-manoeuvrable 24m tug boats capable of handling a full range of vessels.

They will be manned 24 hours a day and provide a 'just in time' service for the convenience of customers. The tugs first job was to assist the 43,000 gross tonnes bulk-carrier Billion Trader II.

SMS Towage's managing director Patrick Lyon said that the company had been set up to meet a clear demand for its services.
"We see Belfast as a strategic location. It is a vibrant port that will be home to a purpose built cruise terminal, a new offshore wind terminal and had a record year in 2012. We believe there is great potential for growth in the new business that will result in local employment."

The independent Northern Irish company will trade under the brand of SMS Towage, which operates on the River Humber and South Wales ports. Mr Lyon said that the company had grown quickly over the last 10 years to become the UK's largest independent harbour towage company.

 

Published in Belfast Lough

#BelfastCruises – This Autumn Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is 'bringing the world closer' to the people of Belfast, with three exciting cruise itineraries on board the 880-guest Boudicca.

According to Breaking Travel News, guests will have the opportunity, for the first time since 2007, to embark on a Fred. Olsen cruise from Belfast, without having to endure an expensive flight or long ferry crossing to reach its ships.

Boudicca will be offering a 10-night D1322 'Scandinavian Cities Cruise', departing on 23rd September 2013, a 12-night D1323 'Portugal, Madeira & the Canaries' cruise, departing on 3rd October 2013, and a two-night mini-cruise, D1324 'Liverpool Highlights', departing on 15th October 2013.

As previously reported, Braemar, a fleetmate of Boudicca had called to Dublin and Liverpool over the weekend.

 

Published in Belfast Lough

#TITANIC MEMORIAL CRUISE  - Following Balmoral's recent call to Belfast in memory of Titanic, the Fred.Olsen Lines cruiseship returned to Southampton where today she started a 12-night Titanic Memorial Cruise which will follow the White Star Line liner's original itinerary that included calling to Queenstown, now Cobh.

Before Balmoral calls to Cobh tomorrow, she is to pass Cherbourg, where the passenger tender SS Nomadic served the liner that layed anchored offshore. The 101 year-old  tender was also built by Harlalnd & Wolff  and she is undergoing restoration work in Belfast, to read more about her click HERE.

Likewise to Balmoral's Belfast visit, her arrival to Cobh is the inaugural call for this year's season, though her poignant arrival will be two days short of Titanic's call a century ago on 11th April 1912.

On Titanic's second anchorage at Queenstown, this too required tenders to transfer 123 passengers who embarked from the town's pier and of those only 44 survived the disaster. The timber built pier still exists albeit what survives is in a derelict state. There have been calls to raise funds to save the structure as previously reported.

Along the scenic waterfront passengers can take a tour of the town's new Titanic Experience in the White Star Line building, the Queenstown Heritage Story in the Cobh Hertiage Centre and the walking Titanic Trails.

From Cobh the Balmoral will sail across the Atlantic, arriving at the Titanic site on April 14th/15th - exactly 100 years on from this tragic voyage, where a memorial service will be held to pay tribute to the brave passengers and crew who perished on that fateful night.

The cruise will then continue to Halifax, Nova Scotia, the final resting place of many who were on board, before sailing on to New York, the Titanic's ultimate planned destination.

Published in Titanic

#TITANIC – The cruiseship Balmoral not only is the first caller to Belfast for 2012 as previously reported, but her arrival this morning marked more importantly as a cruise in the memory of the R.M.S. Titanic, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Cruise passengers embarked on the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines ship last Tuesday in Southampton for a mini-cruise which included a call to Liverpool yesterday.

Today passengers where to visit the builders of the White Star Line liner launched a century ago at Harland & Wolff shipyard at Queens Island on the banks of the Lagan.

Adjoining the complex is the Titanic Quarter where the recently opened Titanic Belfast Visitor Experience is making an impression through the iconic landmark, for further details click HERE.

Published in Titanic
28th February 2012

Cruiseship Boost for Belfast

#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.

For further information visit www.cruise-belfast.co.uk and to view the seasons schedule of cruise callers click HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners

#SHIPPING - The Irish Times reports that a tanker carrying hazardous cargo has been allowed to berth at Belfast Port after it reported a cracked hull off the north-west coast.

The 228-metre Germar Companion, which is is carrying 54,000 tonnes of vacuum gas oil, was on route from Rotterdam to New York when its crew discovered cracking in its upper deck some 25 miles off Tory Island.

The Air Corps and Naval Service were stood down after the cargo ship was granted permission to berth at Belfast, where its hull will be inspected.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Since mid-October port authorities in Belfast, Dublin and Cork have been training senior managers from Afrian, Asian and Latin American ports. The training workshops are in collaboration with Irish Aid and UNCTAD's 'Train-for-Trade' (TFT) Port Training Programme.
The workshop are tailored to 25 senior managers from these global ports, which seeks to improve port efficiency and foster international trade. In addition it is to reinforce technical and managerial skills of a port community's human resources.

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).

Published in Ports & Shipping
A two-year title sponsorship deal has been signed by Irish Sea ferry operator, Stena Line and the ice-hockey team the Belfast Giants, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Next month the team are to play in a special pre-season game against the Nottingham Panthers at the Odyssey Arena as part of the Hockey Festival Weekend (27-28 August). Following the festival the 'Giant's will then play their first competitive game at the same venue against the Sheffield Steelers in early September.

Stena Line themselves will be looking forward to introducing their own giants when two of the largest ferries are to be introduced on the North Channel in the Autumn. The two chartered 30,000grt sisterships are Superfast VII and Superfast VIII. To see the vessel breaking through an an ice-flow, click PHOTO. The 203m long pair can take 1,200 passengers, around 660 cars or 110 freight vehicles. To read more about these 'Superfast' class vessels and the new £80 port terminal click HERE.

The company's area director Michael McGrath said: "It's quite fitting that we are teaming up with the Stena Line Belfast Giants at this time as we prepare to introduce two of the largest ferries every to sail between Northern Ireland and Scotland when we open our new route and port in Cairnryan this November. The two Superfast vessels will be another two Giants to add to our team."

Last year Stena Line made a £40m acquisition of the Belfast to Liverpool (Birkenhead) and Heysham routes and four vessels from DFDS Seaways. The deal was approved by the Irish authorities but remained subject to clearance from the UK's Competition Commission until late last month when they fully approved the acquisition.

This brings to six routes the company runs on its Irish Sea route network where over two million passengers were carried each year, more than its rival ferry operators combined.

Published in Ferry

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