Northern Irland’s Belfast Harbour has unveiled details of a GBP 40 million (USD 49.1 million) investment program to upgrade its container terminal at Victoria Terminal 3 (VT3).
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 trade opportunities.
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 efficiency.
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.