Freight News, Sea

Belfast reveals crane upgrade plans

[ October 1, 2019   //   ]

Following its earlier announcements of a long-term strategic plan, Belfast harbour has revealed details of its £40m upgrade of its container terminal at Victoria Terminal 3. The three-year investment programme will invest £28m in ten new cranes and civil works delivered by local contractor FP McCann to reconfigure the 27-acre terminal to increase capacity by around 30% and improve efficiency.

The terminal is operated by Belfast Harbour’s partners, Irish Continental Group (ICG), and currently handles more than 250 sailings annually between Belfast and key Northern European container ports such as Rotterdam, Antwerp and Le Havre.

Belfast Harbour recently launched its 2035 Strategic Outlook with plans to be the ‘Best Regional Port in the World’ and a ‘Smart Port’ by investing in new technology and enhancing capacity.

Port director Michael Robinson said: “This investment programme will future-proof the terminal for a generation as well as utilise the most modern technology making Belfast Harbour one of the world leaders through the implementation of RTG remote control and stack automation technology. Long-term, we anticipate that the container market will continue to grow and surpass pre-recession levels and as a port we need to be ready to handle these volumes.”

The first of two ship to shore cranes will be delivered in Q1 2020 and the investment will also provide eight new Kalmar Rubber Tyre Gantry (RTG) cranes, which are faster and more versatile than the current yard cranes and can be operated remotely. The first five RTGs will be delivered in November 2019 with the first two RTGs commissioned and ready for use in early Q1 2020.

Mr. Robinson added: “This is amongst the largest investment projects that Belfast Harbour has ever undertaken and will help create one of the most modern container handling terminals of its size in Europe.

“There is widespread recognition in industry and government that Northern Ireland’s future economic growth will rely on increasing exports and this investment puts us in a strong position to accommodate export growth by local companies over the long term.”

Managing director of ICG Container and Terminal Division, Declan Freeman said:

“This announcement is good for all local exporters who want to access international markets and we are very much looking forward to the arrival of the first new RTGs in November.”