Belfast Harbour has made its largest ever investment in a single piece of port equipment with the installation of a new £6.6m ship-to-shore container handling crane, as part of a £40m upgrade of its Victoria Terminal 3 (VT3) container terminal.
The new fully electric crane is part of a three-year investment project to significantly improve the container terminal’s safety, sustainability, efficiency and capacity, progressing Belfast Harbour’s ambition to be the best regional port in the world.
Since Belfast Harbour sources all its electricity from green energy, this new fully electric crane will also be carbon neutral.
Michael Robinson, Belfast Harbour’s Port Director, said: “As part of our £40m investment programme in VT3, this new crane will service the increasingly large container ships importing and exporting from Belfast. It is one of ten new cranes that are being installed, supporting Belfast Harbour’s SMART Port strategy to improve efficiency through new technology and further our ambition to be the best regional port in the world.
“With a high degree of self-automation incorporated into our new crane investments we will be able to enhance operational safety and do so in a more sustainable manner. The enhanced capability of the new cranes will also increase the container terminal capacity by 30%, helping us to cater for future economic growth. The region’s importers and exporters will also benefit from the improved container discharging and loading efficiencies provided by the new cranes and our investment at the VT3 terminal.”
Declan Freeman, Managing Director of Belfast Container Terminal Limited, operators of the VT3 terminal, said: “We welcome the significant investment Belfast Harbour is making in the container terminal which will make it one of the most modern and efficient terminals in these islands. The new Liebherr ship-to-shore crane is a superb asset for the terminal and together with the investment in new automated rubber tyre gantry cranes, we are confident that operational efficiency and safety will be enhanced.”
Manufactured by Liebherr in Co. Kerry, the crane was delivered to Belfast Harbour’s D1 site (in Co. Down) in March. After a 12-week construction period it was moved across the Victoria Channel by barge to VT3 (in Co. Antrim) in a complex 15-hour operation.
The crane can lift 40 containers, each weighing up to 40 tonnes, from a ship every hour. It can operate in winds of up to 50 mph and weighs 765 tonnes.