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Displaying items by tag: Commerce

3rd December 2009

Port of Belfast

Port of Belfast

The Port of Belfast is Northern Ireland's principal maritime gateway, serving the Northern Ireland economy and increasingly that of the Republic of Ireland. About 60% of Northern Ireland's seaborne trade and 20% of the entire island's is handled by the Port which receives over 6,000 vessels each year.

The Port is also a major centre of industry and commerce - its Harbour Estate is home to some of Northern Ireland's most important urban regeneration projects and it is the region's leading logistics and distribution hub.

With 1.2 million passengers and half a million freight units annually, Belfast is Ireland's busiest ferry port. It is also the island's leading dry bulk port, dominating the market with regard to imports of grain and animal feeds, coal, fertilisers and cement, and exports of scrap and aggregates. Over 95% of Northern Ireland's petroleum and oil products are also handled at the Port.

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History of the Port

The origins of the port in Belfast can be traced back to 1613, when, during the reign of James I, the town was incorporated as a borough by royal charter, with provision for the establishment of a wharf or quay. As a result, a quay was constructed at the confluence of the Rivers Fearset (Farset) and Lagan and the development of the Port of Belfast began.

Records show that by 1663 there were 29 vessels owned in the town with a total tonnage of 1,100 tonnes. Trade continued to expand throughout the century, to the extent that the original quay was enlarged, to accommodate the increasing number of ships.

By the early eighteenth century the town had replaced Carrickfergus as the most important port in Ulster and additional accommodation was considered necessary. A number of privately-owned wharves were subsequently constructed on reclaimed land. Throughout the century trade continued to expand as Belfast assumed a greater role in the trading activities of the country as a whole. In 1785 the Irish Parliament passed an act to deal with the town’s burgeoning port. As a result, a new body was constituted: The Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port and Harbour of Belfast, commonly called “the Ballast Board”.

Although at this point the Port was well established it remained disadvantaged by the natural restrictions of shallow water, bends in the channel approach and inadequate quays. These problems, together with an increasing volume of trade, led to a new government act of 1837. This reconstituted the Board and gave it powers to improve the port, through the formation of a new channel. Initial work on straightening the river commenced in 1839 and by 1841 the first bend had been eliminated. The creation of what was to become the Victoria Channel had begun.

In 1847 the Belfast Harbour Act repealed previous acts and led to the formation of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners. This new body, with much wider powers, completed the second stage of the new channel two years later. From that time the Commissioners have developed and improved the Port, reclaiming land to accommodate new quays, new trades and changes in shipping and cargo-handling technology. The efficient, modern port of today is evidence of the foresight and commitment of successive generations of Harbour Commissioners.

 

Port of Belfast, Harbour Office, Corporation Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT1 3AL. Tel: 028 9055 4422

Commercial Contacts – Email: [email protected] • Tel: 028 9055 4422 • Fax: 028 9055 4420      
       
Marine Contacts – Email: [email protected] • Tel: 028 9055 4422 • Fax: 028 9055 3017      
       
Estate Contacts – Email: [email protected] • Tel: 028 9055 4422 • Fax: 028 9055 4411      
       
Corporate Contacts – Email: [email protected] • Tel: 028 9055 4422 • Fax: 028 9055 4420      
       
Human Resources – Email: [email protected] • Tel: 028 9055 4422 • Fax: 028 9055 4420

Harbour Police – Email: [email protected] • Tel: 028 9055 3000 • Fax: 028 9055 3001      
       
Harbour Safety – Email: [email protected] • Tel: 028 9055 4422 • Fax: 028 9055 3020      
       
Calls within the Belfast Harbour Police telephone system may be monitored or recorded

Published in Irish Ports

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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