Release Date: 10 July 2007
Release ID: 536
The Port of Belfast today announced plans to reclaim 120 acres of land from Belfast Lough at a cost of £630m to accommodate economic growth.
The announcement was made as an economic report was published detailing the scale of the Port’s contribution to the Northern Ireland economy. Produced by the London based research consultancy ‘cebr’, the study forecasts that by 2025 the Port will need to invest heavily to cater for a doubling of traffic if Northern Ireland is to match economic activity in the rest of the UK.
According to the independent study the Port’s activities directly and indirectly support 187,000 jobs (27% of Northern Ireland’s entire workforce) and 31% of the region’s total economic value (£19.5 billion).
Announcing the plans, Belfast Harbour Commissioners Chairman Len O’Hagan said:
“This report, the first of its kind, clearly demonstrates the vital role the Port of Belfast plays in the Northern Ireland economy. Last year the Port handled over 60% of Northern Ireland imports and exports, valued at £19.5bn.”
“Recent events have transformed our political landscape, and a new chapter in Northern Ireland life has opened. I firmly believe that the best is yet to come and that with a local Assembly focussed on the issue, our target over the next 15-20 years must be to close the gap in economic performance between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK and the Republic.”
“On a wider context, the ongoing removal of barriers to international trade presents both opportunities and challenges for our economy and we must ensure that Northern Ireland has the infrastructure in place; the terminals, the quays, the warehouses and the roads, to successfully manage the projected growth.”
“Our plans for future investment are a clear demonstration of the Port’s commitment, both to Northern Ireland, and to the continued growth of our economy.”
Roy Adair, CEO , Port of Belfast, said:
“Today’s report shows how important the Port of Belfast is to the continued success of the Northern Ireland economy. Economic growth means that current Port land resources will become exhausted and it is for this reason that we plan to reclaim 120 acres from Belfast Lough. The new land will support an additional 6 km of quayside and will require a total investment of £630m.”
“Since Belfast’s earliest days, the Port has ensured that local products can reach markets across the world. From our original base at the bottom of High Street, we have grown, and will continue to grow, to meet the needs of the Northern Ireland economy.”
It’s also estimated that 17,000 people (19% of Belfast’s total) work within the Harbour Estate and that the Port and its tenants annually pay over £11million in rates or 8.1% of Belfast City Council’s total.
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