Property development and film studios boost Belfast Harbour revenue

Turnover and profit both up, helped by increase in numbers using port

Belfast Harbour’s operating profit increased by 5.6 per cent to £34 million last year.

Belfast Harbour’s operating profit increased by 5.6 per cent to £34 million last year.


Turnover at Belfast Harbour jumped by 6.5 per cent to £61.9 million (€70 million) last year, boosted by record numbers of freight vehicles and passengers using the port, and by strong income streams from property development investments, its latest annual report shows.

Aside from its traditional port activities the harbour has invested in a number of successful property developments including its City Quays office project, the recently opened AC Marriott hotel and new film studios in Belfast.

Latest financial accounts show these investment’s helped boost the harbour’s operating profit by 5.6 per cent to £34 million.

For the eighth year in a row the port recorded an increase in both the number of freight vehicles – which grew by 10,000 to 513,000 – and passenger numbers, which jumped to 1.5 million on three ferry routes operated by Stena Line.

In total, 5,874 ships arrived at Belfast Harbour last year and 155,000 cruise passengers also arrived into Belfast.

The total tonnage handled by the port during the year grew to almost 23.7 million tonnes, with particularly strong growth from the bulk sector.

Dry bulk tonnage increased to more than 6.6 million tonnes because of record imports of grains and animal feeds, while the growth in exports of aggregates, one of Northern Ireland’s key commodities, jumped to 1.5 million tonnes during 2017.

The scrap metal sector also experienced record volumes, with tonnages up 10 per cent, and non-power station coal reaching record breaking tonnages at almost 800,000 tonnes.

Belfast Harbour invested £42 million in new port facilities and several regeneration developments last year.

According to Belfast Harbour chairman David Dobbin, there is also a strong pipeline of future investments, valued at more than £130 million.

Mr Dobbin said that because of Belfast Harbour’s status as a UK Trust Port it is “able to reinvest every penny of our earnings into maintaining and further developing the harbour’s 2,000-acre estate for the benefit of port users and tenants and the wider local economy”.

“We estimate that our current investment programme will generate over 10,000 jobs. Over 2,000 jobs have already been delivered in the City Quays offices and hotel developments, and the Belfast Harbour Film Studios,” he said.