Taking the helm of Belfast Harbour’s new Pilot Boat, supplied by local boat builder Red Bay Boats, and making his first statement since he was appointed as Chairman of Belfast Harbour at the beginning of January, David Dobbin took the opportunity to set out his vision for the business.
“Belfast Harbour is first and foremost a major port which makes a vital contribution to Northern Ireland’s economy handling almost three quarters of all of Northern Ireland’s sea borne trade. As the incoming Chairman I am committed to ensuring that Belfast continues to be the most modern and efficient port on the island. With over 23 million tonnes of cargo and 1.4 million ferry and cruise ship passengers passing through the Port annually, it is Northern Ireland’s primary gateway to rest of the world.
“The scale and breadth of the Harbour’s business ensures that it is of strategic importance to sectors as diverse as agri-food, tourism, manufacturing, construction, financial, legal, retail and energy.
“By providing best-in-class marine facilities for our exporters and importers, developing new commercial opportunities and ongoing investments in the regeneration of Belfast Harbour Estate, it will continue to be a major driver of economic activity across Northern Ireland and beyond.”
He concluded: “In the past 20-years Belfast Harbour has re-invested every penny of profit we have made into further developing our infrastructure for the benefit of the entire local economy. We have invested over £400 million in infrastructure and providing our customers with new quays, terminals, logistics warehousing and quality office space. Some of the investment in recent years has been to develop new sectors such as cruise ships and offshore energy creating new direct and indirect jobs across the economy.
“In the next few years we have committed to investing a further £140 million in a number of major projects including a new cruise facility, new cargo and crane facilities, further quay development, the next phase of the City Quays office development and increasing our movie studio facilities.
“Belfast Harbour has a tremendous history of being an engine for local economic and regional development. Our board drawn from the business community and nominees from Belfast City Council recognises the importance of the role we play and intends that we will continue to create significant trade and job opportunities for this and future generations just as we did in the past.”