The investment in the VT3 facility, which connects Northern
Ireland’s businesses to global markets through the European hub ports of
Rotterdam and Antwerp, is expected to improve productivity and create better
The three-year investment program, which is part of the
port’s 2035 strategic outlook, will see Belfast Harbour invest GBP 28 million
in ten new cranes and undertake major civil works to reconfigure the 27-acre
terminal to increase terminal capacity by around 30% and improve terminal
The terminal is operated by Belfast Harbour’s partners,
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, providing local importers and exporters with
access to overseas markets.
“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,” Michael Robinson,
Belfast Harbour’s Port Director, said.
“Long-term, 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,” he added.
The investment in new larger cranes and a new terminal
layout would enable the port to handle larger ships. The first of the two ship
to shore (STS) cranes will be delivered in Q1 2020, while the first five of
rubber tyre gantry (RTG) cranes are expected in November this year.
“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,” Robinson concluded.