Port of Belfast

Port of Belfast

The Port of Belfast is Northern Ireland's principal maritime gateway, serving the Northern Ireland economy and increasingly that of the Republic of Ireland.

It is a major centre of industry and commerce and has become established as the focus of logistics activity for Northern Ireland. Around two thirds of Northern Ireland's seaborne trade, and a quarter of that for Ireland as a whole, is handled at the port which receives over 9000 vessels each year.

With almost two million passengers and half a million freight units annually, Belfast is Ireland's busiest ferry port. It is also Ireland's leading dry bulk port, dominating the market with regard to imports of grain and animal feeds, coal, fertilisers and cement. Over 95% of Northern Ireland's petroleum and oil products are also handled at the Port.

During World War II the "Port of Belfast" was used by the Royal Navy as the home base for many of the ships that escorted Atlantic and Russian convoys including Captain-class frigates of the 3rd Escort Group. HMS "Caroline" is a First World War light cruiser permanently berthed within Belfast Harbour served as a base for the Royal Navy's shore establishment during this period.

HMS "Caroline" continues to be permanently berthed within Belfast Harbour and currently serves Northern Ireland as the training ship for some 130 reservists as the headquarters for the Ulster Division Royal Naval Reserve. She is the second oldest commissioned warship in the Royal Navy.

The Port of Belfast is located at the centre of Northern Ireland’s largest industrial and commercial zone with two thirds of the region’s major industrial employers located within 15km of the Port.

Shipping services operating at the Port provide over 80 freight and passenger sailings per week to Great Britain and 10 direct container sailings per week to mainland Europe.

The frequency of sailings and choice of destinations offered by regular shipping services operating from the Port enables Belfast to provide flexible transport options to meet the needs of Northern Ireland’s importers and exporters and the travelling public.

It is increasingly popular with cruise liners, and in 2006 23 ships with a total of 30.000 passengers called in the Port.

The Port and its land have been valued recently at over £10 billion.

Passenger services

The Port of Belfast is the busiest passenger port in Northern Ireland with 1.2 million passengers and almost 400,000 passenger cars using the port annually. Routes from the Port of Belfast include:

*Stena Line (Stranraer)
*Norfolkline (Liverpool)
*Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (Isle of Man)

ee also

*Belfast Lough

External links

* [http://www.belfast-harbour.co.uk/about-us.htm Belfast Harbour Authority]

* [http://belfast.ports-guides.com. Information of Port of Belfast]

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