Belfast Harbour to invest £254m in bid to create ‘iconic waterfront’

Marine and infrastructure development could create up to 7,000 jobs, say authorities

Titanic Belfast is included within the harbour estate. Photograph: iStock

Titanic Belfast is included within the harbour estate. Photograph: iStock

 

Belfast Harbour plans to invest £254 million (€284 million) over the next five years in a series of new marine and infrastructure projects that it says could create up to 7,000 jobs in the North.

Harbour authorities want to “create an iconic waterfront for Belfast”, with plans including investment in physical infrastructure to modernise quays and deepen the area’s main shipping channel to enable larger ships to dock in Belfast.

They also want to build new cross-harbour bridges and introduce a water taxi service for the city, as well as providing venues for festivals and other large-scale events.

It is estimated their plans could support up to 3,500 construction jobs during development phases.

Details of Belfast Harbour’s ambitions are outlined in its 2019-2023 strategic plan which was published on Thursday at its annual stakeholder meeting in Belfast.

The authorities want to make Belfast a “smart port” by investing in new technologies such as installing automated cranes. They also hope to “go green” by improving the harbour’s environmental sustainability and reducing ships’ emissions within the port.

The harbour covers the port, as well as a 2,000-acre estate which is home to Titanic Quarter and a wide range of organisations including George Best City Airport to Bombardier, Titanic Belfast and Belfast Metropolitan College.

Work or study

It is estimated that more than 27,000 people work or study in the harbour estate every day and up to five million tourists visit the area each year.

Harbour authorities want to attract more investment to the estate and have ambitions to turn it into a leading European creative and media hub by expanding studio and film facilities within the estate.

They also want to develop a new science and technology hub at the headquarters of Catalyst Inc in Titanic Quarter, which is a non-profit organisation that supports entrepreneurs and innovators.