Belfast Harbour has reported a record financial year for 216 with turnover rising by 7% to £58.1M.
The annual report also revealed that operating profit grew by 12% to £32.2M.
The growth was driven by improved port throughput – up by just over 1% to more than 23m tonnes in 2016 – and increased property income. The freight ferry sector, operated by StenaLine, performed particularly well with over half a million vehicles passing through Belfast, a rise of 60% since 2010. Passenger numbers also grew strongly in 2016, up 9% to 1.5m, the highest level since 2004.
The Harbour invested £42M (up from £18m in the previous year) in infrastructure including new logistics warehousing, quayside cranes, the new Harbour Studios and ongoing urban regeneration schemes such as City Quays. A further £105M has been committed to future capital expenditure projects.
Last year Belfast Harbour invested £3M in 90,000 sq ft of additional warehousing and £4m in new cranes, including the largest single crane operating in any British or Irish port.
Significant investments were also made in regeneration projects in the Harbour Estate including City Quays 2, a 124,000 sq ft Grade A office, which will accommodate 1,000 workers, an 188-bedroom Marriott Hotel and the 66,000 sq ft Belfast Harbour Studios.
Dr David Dobbin, Belfast Harbour’s Chair, said: “This has been another highly successful year for Belfast Harbour reflecting an improving economic background and the benefits coming from our ongoing investment in port facilities and development of the Harbour estate – investments which have totalled £130m over the past five years.
“Belfast Harbour has an ambitious investment pipeline which will continue to drive our business and enhance the capacity of Northern Ireland’s economy, creating jobs and maintaining Belfast Harbour as the region’s most important access point to the global marketplace.
“Planned in consultation with Invest NI, City Quays has created strong interest among inward investors. The first office, City Quays 1, is fully let, with City Quays 2, due for completion this summer already generating significant interest. The Board has also approved the development of City Quays 3, a 260,000 sq ft office which is expected to be completed by 2019.”
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