Belfast ro-ro terminal provides link for Ireland
COMPLETION of a rollon/roll-off terminal, as the latest stage of the GBP100 million (about HK$1.14 billion) development of the Port of Belfast, will provide a key link between Northern Ireland and the rest of Europe, says harbour commission chairman Robert Barnett.
Speaking at the opening of the GBP8 million Victoria Terminal 2 ro-ro facility, he described it as one of the best of its kind in Europe, capable of handling ferries up to 190 metres long with 7.9 metre draft, according to London Press Service.
Mr Barnett said the freight and passenger terminal, which has been built entirely on reclaimed land with the backing of European regional funds, would help the port to alleviate the ''peripherality'' of Northern Ireland and provide a vital link to boththe UK mainland and continental Europe.
Norse Irish Ferries operates the route between Belfast and Liverpool, using the two largest ro-ro ferries on the Irish Sea.
Each can accommodate 2,000 lane metres of freight and 200 passengers.
The service has proved attractive to drivers, cutting out 466 kilometres of driving to Stranraer in Scotland to pick up a ferry to Larne, north of Belfast.
Norse Irish Ferries has also secured a Euro link through a tie-up with Sally Line ferry services from Ramsgate in southeast England to Dunkirk in northern France and Ostend, Belgium.
Norse Irish Ferries president Philip Shepherd says the company plans to market a through freight tariff to the continent from Northern Ireland using the Channel Tunnel from the middle of next year.
''With the Port of Liverpool nominated as a Channel Tunnel terminal, the tie-up with the tunnel will offer both hauliers and passengers an advanced system of travel into Europe.'' The company plans to establish a further link to Europe using the Olau Lines route from Sheerness in southeast England to Vlissingen in the Netherlands.