A new warehouse has been announced at Belfast Harbour, in response to the growing demand from logistics operators as roro traffic at the port reaches an all-time high following Brexit. The £9 million warehouse at Westbank Road will be close to the port’s RoRo ferry terminals, providing close access for freight travelling to and from Great Britain.
The new 50,000sq ft warehouse at Belfast Harbour will have a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating and will include provision of high efficiency chilled and ambient warehouse space with 17 loading docks, over 40 HGV parking spaces, and parking provision for both cars and bicycles. It will be capable of handling the volume of roro traffic moving through the port, which is at an all-time high, aided by recent investments made by the port in terminal infrastructure and StenaLine’s addition of new ships serving NI to GB routes.
“We are really pleased to see the new logistics warehouse receive planning permission as we believe the development will further cement Belfast Harbour’s place as NI’s key shipping and logistics hub,” said Michael Robinson, port director at Belfast Harbour.
“The decision to proceed with this project at the heart of the Port was driven by both an increase in customer demand, and the desire from logistics and supply chain businesses to improve connectivity and increase sustainability through reduced mileage. The warehouse will not only provide much needed new capacity in the sector but will also create jobs locally and support Belfast Harbour’s position as a world leading regional port and key economic hub for the region.”
Belfast Harbour authorities saw record trade volumes last year, with 25.6 million tonnes handled by the port, up 9% on the previous year. It attributes the rise largely to a post-Brexit diversion of traffic away from Great Britain (GB) to Republic of Ireland (RI) routes. Although Brexit’s Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol requires checks on goods entering NI from GB, the processes are not as rigorous as those applied on GB shipments to the Republic of Ireland.
While the ongoing grace periods remain there are fewer checks at NI ports and there are no restraints on NI exporters selling into the rest of the UK market if they ship from NI ports. As a result Belfast Harbour is seeing unprecedented levels of trade and rising demand for warehousing.