The Port of Belfast and the large land estate falling within its borders are managed by the Belfast Harbour Commissioners.
Their annual report reflects the changes in the level of trade, the considerable investment in improving the assets of the port, and the impact of property transactions on the balance sheet.
Overall financial turnover improved by 5% to reach £32.7m, trade fell by 5% reflecting the impact of the recession. The Commission does not list separate revenue streams but any fall in port revenue has been offset by improved property rentals or gains from property transactions.
The relatively high ratio of operating and pre-tax profit to turnover, together with accumulated investment funds, means that the organisation was well placed to finance its capital development programme which in 2008 cost £29.7m.
In recent years, notable capital projects included the new terminal for Stena Line, a large new bulk store, and the refurbished deep water wharf which can accommodate large cruise liners. The Commission is also partnered with Titanic Quarter Ltd in the promotion of the 185 acre Titanic Quarter site.
In 2008, the profit and loss account reflected a surplus on land transactions of £2.6m, down from over £5m the year before.