Freight News, Sea

Belfast puts in a strong performance

[ July 2, 2020   //   ]

Belfast Harbour said its financial performance for 2019 was in line with expectations and provided a strong platform from which to respond to the challenges posed by Covid-19.

It reported turnover of £65.9m in the year to the end of 2019 (down 4%) and generated operating profits of £30.6m (down 15% from the record results of 2018). The decline in earnings largely reflected the completion of a major offshore windfarm contract mid-2018 and the ongoing decline in power station coal throughput.

Trade remained strong during the year, with more than 24 million tonnes of cargo passing through the port. There were a record number of freight vehicles – up 4% to 542,000. During 2019, the port invested £44m in a range of port and estate projects, including £40m invested to automate container handling and upgrade the Belfast -Liverpool ferry terminal, in readiness for the introduction of larger new Stena Line vessels.

In 2019 Belfast Harbour committed £115.7m in further investment in projects to deliver its vision of becoming the best regional port.

Belfast Harbour chairman, David Dobbin, said: “Belfast Harbour has not been immune to the significant social and economic challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic but our port has continued to operate safely and effectively throughout the recent crisis. I want to thank the entire Belfast Harbour community for keeping the port open, every day, through the entire pandemic.”

“It is reassuring to know that as we prepare for the post crisis recovery, that our performance in 2019 and recent years provides a strong platform to move forward.

“The full implications of the pandemic on trade and our local economy are significant and still unfolding. So far trade through Belfast Port has proved remarkably resilient. Early figures for the March to May period show trade volumes down 20-25% on normal but in recent weeks throughput is running around 10% down on last year.”