29/01/2015

Record Cargo Levels For Belfast Harbour

Newly-released figures reveal that Belfast Harbour handled a record 23 million tonnes of cargo during 2014.

This is an increase of 46% since the recession's lowest point in 2009.

Overall tonnage increased by 1.6% and the authority said this figure was driven by a strong growth in bulk cargo. This accounts fr more than 40% of throughput at the harbour.

Elsewhere, 476,000 freight vehicles passed through the harbour during last year, an increase of more than 2%, while container traffic improved by 2.9% to 125,000 units. In addition, the level of new car imports surged by 10% to 48,000 – its highest level since 2007.

With regards to cargo, the amount of cement moving through the port increased fivefold to 79,000 tonnes, but total cement tonnages remain less than one third of pre-recession levels. Trade sectors which grew well over the year included stone exports (up 18%), industrial and domestic coal (20%) and steel (38%).

Meanwhile, ferry passenger numbers remained steady during 2014 at 1.4 million, while cruise passengers calling at Belfast increased by 23% to a record 112,000.

Welcoming the figures, Roy Adair, CEO at Belfast Harbour, said: "Surpassing 23 million tonnes for the first time is a major achievement for the Harbour, driven by our ongoing investment programme to deliver best-in-class facilities. It has also been supported by major investments from customers such as Stena Line which has introduced a third ship to its Belfast – Liverpool service.

"Improving economic and consumer confidence across the island has helped drive growth. Increased steel imports, for example, reflects greater manufacturing activity, especially in the Republic of Ireland, while the improvement in freight, containers and new car imports suggests a modest pick-up in consumer confidence."

(JP/CD)

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