Release Date: 13 July 2006
Release ID: 534
The Port of Belfast has uncovered an original copy of an advertising campaign first published in the News Letter 74 years ago today. Printed in the days when the News Letter was a broadsheet, the advert highlights Belfast’s position as the ‘Premier Port and Gateway of Ireland’ and details the various facilities the Port had to offer.
Among the Port’s benefits listed were ‘Docks, Sheds, Cranes and Facilities for All Classes of Ships and Cargo’, ‘Seven Miles of Quays’, ‘Excellent Waterside Sites for Industries’ and the ‘Ideal Distributing Centre for Ireland and South of Scotland’.
Roy Adair, the Port of Belfast’s current Chief Executive, said:
“The Port has changed dramatically in the last seventy years due to changes in technology and its expansion through land reclamation projects, but there are definitely common strands between the 1930s advertising campaign and those used by the modern Port.
“For example, although the Port is primarily associated with ships, an integral part of the business is still the provision of up-to-date storage facilities and terminals for the 17m tonnes of cargo and 1.2 million passengers who use the Port every year.
“In recent years the Port has continued the tradition of investment, developing dedicated steel, paper and animal feed handling facilities which have helped make the Port of Belfast Northern Ireland’s leading logistics and distribution hub, and the island’s premier Port for bulk cargo.”
In addition to the advert, the News Letter also ran a full page of editorial on the Port of Belfast’s development, describing it as the ‘Gateway of Ulster’ and the ‘Tidal Estuary Which Became a Model Modern Port’.
In particular it highlights the work of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners whose ‘great vision and courage’, ‘progressive spirit’ and ‘feverish activity’ were fundamental to developing, among other things, the Victoria Channel which, when it opened in 1849, ensured easy and safe navigation from the River Lagan to Belfast Lough.
In the words of the News Letter this development made the Port of Belfast ‘the artery through which has pulsed the flow of trade, foreign, cross-channel, and coastwise, chiefly responsible for raising the status of Belfast from that of a town of 87,000 inhabitants to a city exceeding 400,000’.
Roy Adair added:
“The Port of Belfast is still instrumental to the economic well being of Northern Ireland and the smooth running of day-to-day life, handling two thirds of the Province’s seaborne trade including food, fuel, timber and every sort of consumer good.
“The present day Port is very aware of the enormous contribution which our predecessors made to Northern Ireland and, in similar vein, is overseeing a five-year, £140m plus investment programme - the largest in the Port’s history – to deliver new facilities and infrastructure which will maintain Belfast as a ‘model modern Port’.
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