Civil engineering specialist contractor GRAHAM has completed a £15m redevelopment of the Victoria Terminal 2 (VT2) ferry terminal ramp which services the Belfast to Birkenhead route.
The existing berth has been upgraded to handle the next generation of modern Roll-On / Roll-Off (RoRo) ferry vessels, Stena Line’s new E-Flexer series ships.
The project involved the installation of a new double deck linkspan that allows vehicles to be loaded or discharged simultaneously over two decks of the ferry. This investment will allow Stena Line to increase capacity, reduce turnaround times, improve customers’ experience and enhance connectivity to one of Northern Ireland’s key markets.
As part of the works, GRAHAM’s project team also constructed new berthing infrastructure including dolphins, walkways and automatic mooring system, and a new approach ramp to the linkspan upper deck.
To increase the efficiency of piling operations during the scheme, the project team designed and fabricated a hydraulic piling gate that was utilised on a floating crane barge on site, reducing the time taken to complete the piling works.
Throughout the works materials were procured through the local supply chain and GRAHAM also recruited a new engineering apprentice to work on the scheme.
The project forms part of Belfast Harbour’s long-term investment strategy in Port infrastructure and futureproofs Belfast’s ferry facilities.
The new E-Flexer ships, which entered service earlier this year, will enhance freight capacity by 40%.
At 215m long, the new ships will have a freight capacity of 3,100 lane metres and space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers and crew. They will also utilise the most modern marine technology available and be the most sustainable vessels operating in the Irish Sea.
Thomas Craven, Contracts Manager for GRAHAM, said:
“We’re delighted to have been part of this important infrastructure project for Northern Ireland, which will unlock further potential for freight capacity between Belfast and Liverpool.
“Our team called upon its vast expertise in port and marine engineering to deliver this first class terminal and associated infrastructure. The facilities will provide major benefits to Northern Ireland’s importers and exporters, improving the customer experience as well as enhancing capacity on the route.”
The VT2 project follows GRAHAM’s recent work at the Port of Tilbury, where the firm delivered the UK's newest and largest unaccompanied freight Roll on/Roll off (Ro-Ro) terminal.
Trevor Anderson, Belfast Harbour said:
“The upgrade of the Victoria Terminal 2 ferry terminal represents another significant investment by Belfast Harbour in Northern Ireland’s transport infrastructure and will provide world class facilities for Northern Ireland’s importers and exporters.
“The project is an important step in our ambition to become the World’s Best Regional Port. By supporting the introduction of larger vessels the investment also futureproofs Belfast Harbour’s ferry facilities and strengthens our long-term partnership with Stena Line.”
Last year the contractor also completed the first phase of a multi-million-pound upgrade to the Port of Southampton’s Ocean Cruise Terminal and is currently delivering a £10m repair project at Swansea West Pier and a new wharf and land upgrades as part of a £40m redevelopment to the Port of Dundee.