Belfast Telegraph

It's plain sailing for Foyle Port as it posts best results in its 162-year history


Foyle Port has had five consecutive years of growth
Foyle Port has had five consecutive years of growth

By John Mulgrew

Foyle Port has revealed pre-tax profits of more than £2m during a record year in the Co Londonderry harbour's 162-year history.

The port saw profits rising by around 50%, with turnover sitting at £8.6m.

It's now in its fifth year of consecutive growth.

The business, which has grown its workforce to 92, has invested around £3.6m in the last year, including a new tug boat to "safeguard the future shipping operations in Lough Foyle".

Port boss Brian McGrath said that while it would deal with the consequences of Brexit, the "uncertainty (created by the vote to leave) erodes business confidence and deters investment".

He also claimed the business "continues to play a significant part in the business life in the north west city region and on both sides of the border".

"Not only have the numbers of employees increased by around 20% at the port, we also sustain over 1,000 more jobs in the area," Mr McGrath said.

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"As a wider economic zone, our work at the port transcends politics and borders.

"With Brexit coming down the track, we are committed to delivering our commercial and statutory duties, whatever happens.

"We will simply have to deal with the consequences of the future arrangements of the customs union, single market and the common travel area.

"Uncertainty erodes business confidence and deters investment, but we will face up to the new realities.

"We move into the next year with great enthusiasm as our plan to develop a new cruise ship terminal continues to gain strong support from those who recognise the massive tourism potential in this part of the island of Ireland."

The port, which has doubled its turnover in the last 10 years, deals in a range of areas of ship trade, including bulk commodities such as coal and oil.

Foyle Port chairman Bonnie Anley said the latest results were the strongest in its 162-year history.

"The past year has been significant for the port as it was the strongest financial performance in our 162-year history," Mr Anley explained.

"As a trust port, we reinvest all our profits, which means that our workforce and all the wider businesses that we support benefit collectively.

"Our sustained growth has driven more than £100m of inward investment into the north west region and our successful diversification of the business means that we are on course for further growth in the years to come.

"External uncertainties prevail, but our strategy has proven robust with a 25% operating margin achieved in 2016/17 demonstrating how well the wider port is performing."

Earlier this year, the port invested in a new Damen ASD 230 tug boat. The Strathfoyle will be the most powerful vessel in Foyle Port's fleet.

The Strathfoyle will work alongside the port's existing ASD tug, the Shrove.

pre-tax profits revealed by Foyle Port - a rise of around 50%, with turnover sitting at £8.6m for the financial year

Belfast Telegraph