Belfast Harbour has announced it is to invest £15 million on the redevelopment of Victoria Terminal 2 (VT2) which services the Belfast-Liverpool route.
The project awarded to Northern Ireland based construction firm GRAHAM will enable the terminal to handle the next generation of modern RoRo (roll-on/rolloff) ferry vessels and will support aroudn 100 jobs during its life .
The construction and installation of new ramp infrastructure will accommodate the berthing of Stena Line’s new E-Flexer ships and represents part of Belfast Harbour’s long-term investment strategy in Port infrastructure.
It follows a recent £1.5m investment that increased VT2’s landside capacity and improved its entrance and accessibility in preparation for the arrival of the new vessels in early 2020.
“The upgrade of the VT2 ferry terminal represents another significant investment by Belfast Harbour in Northern Ireland’s transport infrastructure and will provide best-in-class facilities for Northern Ireland’s importers and exporters,” said port director Michael Robinson.
“The project includes the design and construction of a new two-tier ramp that will make it faster to load and discharge traffic, improve customers’ experience and enhance connectivity to one of Northern Ireland’s key markets.
“By supporting the introduction of larger vessels, the investment also futureproofs Belfast Harbour’s ferry facilities and strengthens our long-term partnership with Stena Line.”
It is anticipated that work will start in June 2019 and will be completed in early 2020.
Stephen Hand, pre-construction Director with GRAHAM, said: “This major construction project will include new berthing infrastructure and the installation of a new double deck linkspan that will allow vehicles to drive simultaneously onto the ferry.
“The berthing facilities at VT2 need to be upgraded to accommodate new and bigger vessels. This project will create new berthing infrastructure and enable efficient vehicle access to ships.”
VT2 handles more than 200,000 freight units a year on the Belfast-Liverpool route.
The new E-Flexer ships, which are currently under construction in China and are due to enter into service in the Irish Sea in 2020 and 2021 will be substantially bigger than the ships currently on the route and will enhance freight capacity by 40%.
At 215m long, the new ships utilise the most modern marine technology available and be the most sustainable vessels operating in the Irish Sea.