17/09/2019

Belfast Harbour Investment To Create 10,500 Jobs

Ambitious growth plans for Belfast Harbour are set to create over 10,000 jobs, it's been revealed.

The Port has committed to invest £254 million to deliver new marine and estate infrastructure and contribute towards making Belfast Harbour the best regional port in the world.

Around 7,000 jobs will be created in harbour developments, while the investment will support a further 3,500 construction jobs. It's estimated the roles will generate an extra £500m for the Northern Ireland economy, £300m in wages and £4 million in rates.

Planned over the next five years, the projects will lay the foundation for even more substantial 'once-in-a-generation' investments. Included in the harbour's '2035 Outlook' is a scheme to deepen the Port's shipping channel to accommodate larger vessels, to create new deep-water quays, the completion of the 2million sq ft City Quays development and the creation of a new globally recognised science and technology hub at Catalyst Inc.

Speaking at the meeting, Belfast Harbour's Chairman, David Dobbin said the plans will ensure the port is fit for purpose to handle and benefit from the technological, economic and social changes taking place in the 21st century.

He said: "We want to become the world's best regional port and create an iconic waterfront district for Belfast which will be an attractive place to live, work, visit and invest in. This will bring huge benefits for our customers, the regional economy and all our citizens. We can’t deliver our ambitious plans by ourselves which is why a partnership approach is a key part of our strategy. If Northern Ireland is going to be competitive on the global stage then we need to work together, collaborate more and invest in key infrastructure.

"Over the next five years Belfast Harbour intend to invest £254 million in new Port and estate infrastructure and facilities. This major investment programme is really only possible because of our Trust Port status which allows us to reinvest every penny of our net earnings back into the business."

Within the plans for the £254m investment, to be implemented between 2019 and 2023, is an upgrade of all cranes and material handling equipment, including installing new ramps to accommodate larger vessels and building new storage facilities.
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Work will also begin on digital 'Smart Port' initiatives to provide greater automation and a new unified system to coordinate cargo and shipping communications.

A number of real estate projects will also be completed, including City Quays 4, a 250-apartment build-to-rent development; Pierpont Plaza, a five-storey office facility at Catalyst Inc; additional new film studios and a media hub at Giant's Park and new public realm space.

Over the longer term the ambition is to significantly enhance the Port's capacity to attract new trade and manage the next generation of shipping by deepening the Victoria Channel and developing new quays and wharves. Belfast Harbour also wants to create an iconic waterfront district with attractive public spaces that is integrated into the rest of the city. This will potentially include new cross-harbour bridges, a water taxi service and opportunities for new tourism, leisure and cultural projects.

The Port also plans to be one of the most sustainable ports by deploying new technologies to improve air quality, reduce fuel consumption and reduce emissions. It will "digitise, decarbonise and decentralise" its energy usage by providing shore-side power vessels and creating a green micro-energy grid throughout the harbour estate.

CEO of Belfast Harbour, Joe O'Neill said the plans are among the most ambitious to ever be put forward in the Port's history.

The proposals will be pivotal in meeting Belfast City Council's aim to accommodate 66,000 new residents, create 46,000 additional jobs, and develop 550,000 sq m of employment floor space by 2035.

Mr O'Neill said: "Our strategy, however, is not just about physical infrastructure; we want to use our resources and expertise to develop partnership initiatives that build Northern Ireland’s capacity for economic growth. These will include projects to target new port trades, skills programmes to support employers, a Global Innovation Institute to encourage R&D and an accelerator programme to stimulate innovative business.

"Undoubtedly our plans will evolve and change over time, but the strategy sets out our long-term direction of travel. By 2035 our vision is to transform the Port and Belfast's waterfront, boost trade and make an even more significant contribution to Northern Ireland's economy."



(JG/CM)

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