New ramp infrastructure will enable the terminal to handle Stena Line’s new E-Flexer ferries sailing between Belfast and Liverpool.
Work is set to start in June 2019 and should be completed in early 2020.
Graham pre-construction director Stephen Hand said: “This major construction project will include new berthing infrastructure and the installation of a new double deck linkspan that will allow vehicles to drive simultaneously onto the ferry.
“The berthing facilities at VT2 need to be upgraded to accommodate new and bigger vessels. This project will create new berthing infrastructure and enable efficient vehicle access to ships.”
The project is part of Belfast Harbour’s long-term investment strategy in port infrastructure and follows a £1.5m investment that increased VT2’s landside capacity and improved its entrance and accessibility in preparation for the arrival of the new vessels in early 2020.
Belfast Harbour port director Michael Robinson said: “The upgrade of the VT2 ferry terminal represents another significant investment by Belfast Harbour in Northern Ireland’s transport infrastructure and will provide best-in-class facilities for Northern Ireland’s importers and exporters.
“The project includes the design and construction of a new two-tier ramp that will make it faster to load and discharge traffic, improve customers’ experience and enhance connectivity to one of Northern Ireland’s key markets. 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.”
VT2 currently handles more than 200,000 freight units annually on the Belfast-Liverpool route.
The new E-Flexer ships, currently under construction in China, are due to enter into service in the Irish Sea in 2020 and 2021. They will be substantially bigger than the ships currently on the route and will increase freight capacity by 40%. At 215-metres 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.