Belfast Harbour turnover climbs
Belfast Harbour increased its turnover and tonnage last year, on the back of increased grain, animal feed and fertiliser imports.
The harbour said the results followed investment of £160m in the past decade, which aimed to make it the island’s leading dry bulk port.
The harbour generated a substantial increase in dry bulk traffic last year, which rose from 3.2m tonnes in 2009 to 3.9m tonnes in 2010. Aggregates traffic rose from 605,000 tonnes in 2009 to 891,000 tonnes last year; fertiliser imports increased from 201,000 tonnes to 265,000 tonnes in the same period; and grain and feed imports jumped from 1.7m tonnes to 2.0m tonnes. Freight vehicle traffic increased by 2% to 313,000 vehicles, partly because of the introduction of new, larger vessels on the Belfast–Heysham route.
Belfast Harbour chairman, Len O’Hagan, said: “Although trading conditions in the UK and Ireland remain weak, the increase in tonnages handled by Belfast Harbour suggests that business confidence is starting to return, albeit slowly.”
He added that investment to support the creation of an offshore wind turbine terminal for Dong Energy and the prospect of a cut in the corporation tax rate left the harbour to be optimistic of further growth.
Warrenport, the third largest harbour in Northern Ireland, also reported on its 2010 activities. It similarly increased its cargo tonnage, which rose from 2.4m tonnes in 2009 to 2.6m tonnes in 2010.
There was a 2.5% increase in total vessels. However, turnover fell slightly from £3.35m to £3.29m, while profits rose from £201,000 to £216,000.
Reasons given for Warrenpoint’s strong performance included substantial investment in its new Deep Water Quay and the return of a container service, through a link with Cardiff.