Belfast Telegraph

More trade through Belfast harbour

Trade through Belfast harbour is on the up again after a three-year downturn.

Total cargo through the port rose to 16.5 million tonnes last year, a 5% rise on the previous 12 months.

Tonnage both in and out of Belfast lough had dropped 10% since 2007 as a result of the global credit crunch.

With the harbour handling almost two thirds of Northern Ireland's sea borne trade, its performance is a barometer of wider economic activity.

The Stormont Executive is set to introduce a multi-million pound levy on the harbour as part of plans to generate additional income to offset spending cuts.

Passenger numbers through the port in 2010 dropped slightly to 1.3 million, down less than 1%, while 35 cruise ships called at Belfast carrying 62,000 passengers and crew.

Bulk cargoes through the harbour were up 12% during the year, with agri-food related trades recording particularly strong upturn.

For the first time ever grain and animal feed tonnages reached the two million tonne mark.

Stone exports jumped by almost 50% as a consequence of major road repair programmes in Great Britain and the development of new markets in continental Europe.

Severe winter weather helped push salt tonnage shipments up by 238% to a record 98,000 tonnes.


From Belfast Telegraph