Belfast Harbour has announced £15 million investment plans to re-develop one of its ferry terminals.
The project is part of a long-term investment strategy in port infrastructure and will see the transformation of Victoria Terminal 2 (VT2), which currently services Stena Line’s popular Belfast to Liverpool route.
The major investment will enable the terminal to handle the next generation of modern RoRo (Roll-On / Roll-Off) ferry vessels, including Stena’s new E-Flexer ships.
Co Down based contractor Graham has been appointed to carry out the work, on the same day the firm secured a contract for Europe’s largest infrastructure project – Crossrail.
The Belfast project will sustain 100 jobs through the construction and installation of new ramp infrastructure. It is anticipated that work will start in June and will be completed in early 2020 ahead of the arrival of the new ferry vessels.
The latest phase of works follows a recent £1.5m investment that increased VT2’s landside capacity and improved its entrance and accessibility.
Michael Robinson, port director at Belfast Harbour said the significant investment will provide “best-in-class facilities” for Northern Ireland’s importers and exporters.
“The project includes the design and construction of a new two-tier ramp that will make it faster to load and discharge traffic, improve customers’ experience and enhance connectivity to one of Northern Ireland’s key markets,” he said.
“By supporting the introduction of larger vessels the investment also futureproofs Belfast Harbour’s ferry facilities and strengthens our long-term partnership with Stena Line.”
Stephen Hand, pre-construction director for Graham believes the latest investment will greatly improve the service at Belfast Harbour.
He also said that, this major construction project will include new berthing infrastructure and the installation of a new double deck linkspan that will allow vehicles to drive simultaneously onto the ferry.
The berthing facilities at VT2 need to be upgraded to accommodate new and bigger vessels. This project will create new berthing infrastructure and enable efficient vehicle access to ships.
Belfast Harbour’s VT2 currently handles more than 200,000 freight units annually on the Belfast to Liverpool route.
The new, larger E-Flexer ships, which are currently under construction in China, are due to enter service in the Irish Sea in 2020 and 2021.
The 215m long ships will enhance freight capacity by 40 per cent and have space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers and crew.