Feature, Freight News, Sea

Belfast reaches record despite economic storms

[ February 19, 2018   //   ]

Trade through Belfast increased to a record 23.7m tonnes in 2017, up by 600,000 tonnes or 3% on the previous year, the port said in an announcement on 19 February.

It said that the increase came despite the low level of growth in the local economy, significant and strategic investments by the Port and its customers having had a positive impact, as was the relative weakness in sterling on exports.

Chairman, David Dobbin, said that while Belfast had seen record levels of overall trade the picture for individual trade categories is somewhat mixed. There was growth in ferry activity, container traffic, agrifood, steel and aggregates, but also ongoing declines in power station coal and liquid fuel as the local natural gas network is extended.

He added: “Having seen a record year in shipments of wind farm components in 2017, we also anticipate activity will reduce with the completion of currently planned offshore wind farms and expected delays before new schemes are approved.

“The good news is that we anticipated these trends and have invested more than £250M in the last 10 years in infrastructure and facilities to support the growth sectors and future-proof the business. We are also in the process of making significant investments in ferry and container handling facilities, new cranes and materials handlers, and in new logistics and storage facilities.”