Warrenpoint Port to invest £3m preparing for Brexit

Facility anticipates ‘significant increase in trade’

Clare Guinness, chief executive officer, Warrenpoint Port. The facility is to invest £3 million.

Clare Guinness, chief executive officer, Warrenpoint Port. The facility is to invest £3 million.

 

Warrenpoint Port is to invest £3 million (€3.4 million) as part of its preparations for a “significant increase in trade” post Brexit.

The fifth busiest port on the island, is forecasting that its core business could increase by 80 per cent over the next two decades.

Clare Guinness, chief executive of Warrenpoint Port, said the new investment will including a new crane which will be built and supplied by Finnish manufacturer Konecranes at its site in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Ms Guinness, who just over seven months ago became the first female head of any port on the island, has outlined that it achieved “record trade figures” in recent years and she expects this trend to continue despite the challenges that Brexit could pose.

Warrenpoint Port, a UK Trust Port which operates independently, mainly trades in timber, cement, steel and grain.

Last year it handled a record 3.56 million tonnes of cargo valued at £6.2 billion . Up to   £164 million of this was direct international trade.

It has become one of the biggest timber importers on the island and has benefitted strongly from the latest construction boom in the Republic, according to the port’s statistics. Around 70 per cent of total timber imports which pass through Warrenpoint Port go south, while 30 per cent remain in the North.

Three months ago the port published a new draft masterplan which contained a detailed strategy to expand on its position as the second largest port in the North and maximise the economic contribution it makes to both the regional economy and its surrounding community.

Warrenpoint Port believes its geographic position – it is located halfway between Belfast and Dublin – could give it a post Brexit advantage depending on what deal is struck regarding a land border between the North and South.

In the meantime Ms Guinness said the new crane will “significantly boost operations at Warrenpoint by allowing for the speedier loading and unloading of goods, as well as reducing downtime”.

“We are also investing significant capital to refurbish two of our existing cranes at the Port to ensure they will continue to serve our customers for many years to come.

“The investments are being made to facilitate further growth at the Port as we gear up for trade in the post-Brexit era.”