Cargo volumes through Belfast Harbour have surpassed 24m tonnes for the first time since records began. Trade increased by over 900,000 tonnes during 2018 to 24.6m tonnes, up 3.8% on the previous year.
Photo: Belfast Harbour
Growth was led by a strong increase in freight vehicle carryings on Stena Line’s services to Great Britain, rising by 3% to a record 532,000 freight vehicles and for the second consecutive year more than 1.5m passengers passed through the Port. Stena Line’s trading performance in 2018 was enhanced as a consequence of its introduction of a third larger vessel in 2018 to the Belfast – Liverpool route and market share gains on the Belfast – Cairnryan route.
Stena Line has also commissioned eight new ‘E-Flexer’ RoPax vessels, currently under construction in China, and during 2018 the Company confirmed that two of these vessels will operate on the Belfast – Liverpool route from 2020 and 2021 respectively reflecting Stena Line’s continued commitment to Belfast and the NI market. The ‘E-Flexer’ ships will be the most sustainable ships on the Irish Sea with Scandinavian inspired facilities and more efficient loading and unloading capabilities for freight customers.
Imports and exports of industrial coal by local company LCC, grew by more than 37% to more than 1mT as it scaled up production at its a high-tech coal processing plant. Industrial coal is imported to Belfast for processing and adding value at the facility and is subsequently exported around the world to countries including Australia, Saudi Arabia and Russia for use in the steel and alloy industries.
Following last year’s cold spring and the dry summer, the animal grains and feeds sector also performed very well with tonnages rising to 2.35m tonnes (up 7.5%) which is a record for the Port.
Continue reading the article, with comments by Joe O’Neill, CEO, on the Belfast Harbour website here