Feature, Freight News, Sea

Belfast increases spending in tough climate

[ July 3, 2019   //   ]

Belfast Harbour increased its capital investment spending during 2018 by 24% to £52 million and is committed to a further £137 million of projects to turn it into a leading regional hub and develop the city’s waterfront, said the trust port in its latest annual report.

Investments were funded by a strong financial performance in 2018, although Belfast predicts a challenging operating environment ahead.  Turnover grew by 11% to £68.8 million and operating profits increased by 6% to £36 million, underpinned by an increase in trade which rose by almost 4% to more than 24 million tonnes for the first time.

Chairman David Dobbin, said: “As a Trust Port we have to fund our own development. Every penny of our net earnings is reinvested into improving and developing our facilities for the benefit of Port users and the wider economy. …Trends in shipping and freight handling technology mean that there is an ever greater need for investment in infrastructure to support larger, more hi-tech vessels and more automated and efficient cargo handling.”

But he added: “The outlook for the current year is for a fall in port trade with a weather related decline in animal feedstuffs after two record years, and for the continued decline in power station and domestic coal demand. We have also seen the completion of the current round of wind turbine contracts in the Irish Sea. We are responding to these challenges and to trends in the wider economy, such as the shift from spend on traded goods to tradeable services and leisure, and from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”