Belfast Harbour has announced today (Tuesday) a £40m investment to upgrade its container terminal.
Victoria Terminal 3 (VT3), where the upgrade will take place, connects Northern Ireland to global markets through European hub ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp.
Recently, Belfast Harbour launched its 2035 Strategic Outlook with plans to be the ‘Best Regional Port in the World’ and a ‘Smart Port’ by investing in new technology and enhancing capacity.
It is expected that this upgrade will improve productivity and help customers grow and target new trade opportunities.
The three-year investment programme will see Belfast Harbour invest £28m in ten new cranes and undertake major civil works delivered by local contractor FP McCann to reconfigure the 27-acre terminal to increase terminal capacity by around 30% and improve terminal efficiency.
The terminal is operated by Belfast Harbour’s partner, Irish Continental Group (ICG) and currently handles more than 250 sailings annually between Belfast and key northern European container ports such as Rotterdam, Antwerp and Le Havre.
Michael Robinson, Belfast Harbour’s Port Director, said: “This investment programme will future-proof the terminal for a generation as well as utilise the most modern technology making Belfast Harbour one of the world leaders through the implementation of Rubber Tyre Gantry remote control and stack automation technology.
“Longterm, we anticipate that the container market will continue to grow and surpass pre-recession levels and as a port we need to be ready to handle these volumes.”
Two ship to shore (STS) cranes have been purchased from Liebherr Cranes, the first of which will be delivered in Q1 2020.
The investment will also provide eight new Kalmar Rubber Tyre Gantry (RTG) cranes, which are faster and more versatile than the current yard cranes and can be operated remotely, further increasing productivity. The first five RTGs will be delivered in November 2019 with the first two RTGs commissioned and ready for use in early Q1 2020.
Mr. Robinson added: “This is amongst the largest investment projects that Belfast Harbour has ever undertaken and will help create one of the most modern container handling terminals of its size in Europe.
“There is widespread recognition in industry and government that Northern Ireland’s future economic growth will rely on increasing exports and this investment puts us in a strong position to accommodate export growth by local companies over the longterm.”