Belfast Harbour revealed on 19th February that trade through the port in 2017 increased to a record 23.7 million tonnes, up by 600,000 tonnes on the previous year. Belfast Harbour handles more than 70% of Northern Ireland’s seaborne trade and freight traffic on Stena Line’s ferry services continuing to grow, reaching a record 514,000 vehicles (up 2%) with external demand for Northern Ireland’s agri-food produce a key element for the increase. Demand for animal feeds and grains rose by 11% to 2.2m tonnes, assisted by improved farm incomes arising from higher milk prices as well as last year’s poor weather conditions. Container traffic also rose by 1.6% to over 125,000 units. Ferry passenger numbers increased to over 1.5m for the first time in 13 years and the Port welcomed a record 155,000 cruise visitors. Aggregate exports surpassed 1.5m tonnes for the first time, up 16% year-on-year and up 60% in the past five years. Imports of steel for the local heavy manufacturing and construction sectors rose by 14% to a record 211,000 tonnes. The development of a dedicated offshore wind terminal has also continued to generate traffic, handling 305,000 tonnes of wind farm components last year, the highest since it opened in 2013.
Oban. Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited has published an invitation to tender to identify a principal contractor to supply a new linkspan at Oban Ferry Terminal. The linkspan, which is the terminal’s original linkspan and is predominately used by the Mull ferry service, has reached the end of its serviceable life and needs to be replaced. The existing support structures will also be strengthened as part of the project.
Southampton welcomed its largest container vessel to date on 10th March. The 217,673gt/2018 built and 400m long/20,656 TEU capacity CMA CGM Antoine De Saint Exupery is the new CMA CGM flagship.