Posted on Tuesday 12 February 2019 by John Mulgrew

Harbour 1221

Belfast Harbour has handled more than 24 million tonnes of cargo for the first time in its history.

Trade increased by more than 900,000 tonnes during 2018 to 24.6 million tonnes, up 3.8% on the previous year.

The harbour says “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 1.5 million 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.”

Imports and exports of coal by LCC, grew by more than 37% to more than one million as it scaled up production at its a high-tech coal processing plant.

Joe O’Neill, chief executive of Belfast Harbour, said:

It was a strong year of growth, with virtually every trade sector reporting an increase in traffic and with many reaching record levels.

Growth has been supported by Belfast Harbour’s long-term investment programme to improve its competitiveness and efficiency.

“During 2018, for instance, we invested in the purchase of the largest hydraulic crane in any UK or Irish port, and took significant investment decisions to improve and increase ferry and container handling capacity. We will continue to work with our partners to utilise new technology to make Belfast both the greenest and most digitally enhanced regional port in the world.

We were delighted with Stena Line’s decision to increase capacity on the Belfast – Liverpool route during 2018 and are working in partnership with them to accommodate the new ‘E-Flexer’ ships next year through substantial investment in our port facilities.”

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