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Port can now weather any storm...

IT WAS an Objective 1 project devised with the intention of providing spin- off benefits for much of North Wales,not just the town where it was located.

And,if evidence emerging last week is anything to go by then,it is shaping up to be a success beyond even the hopes of its protagonists.

The project is the new Terminal 5 at Holyhead Port,completed less than six months ago,providing a double decker berth in all weathers for the world's largest ferries.

Stena Line Ports Ltd said it hoped the new terminal will increase passenger numbers through the port from 2.6m to almost 3m a year,providing a boost not just for the port and businesses in Holyhead town centre but also Anglesey as a whole. Tourism, a major and growing component of the North Wales economy, was also expected to benefit from the increased number of visitors streaming through the port.

The new terminal located on the east side of Salt Island involved reclamation of land for the construction work, the dredging of an eight metre deep channel and the fixing of six new berthing ``dolphins'',intercon-necting walkways and associated fendering systems to allow ships of 50,000 tonnes and more to come in -even in high winds.

The double-deck linkspan, which is a feature of the new terminal,allows two separate roadways onto the ferries and the rapid loading and unloading of the car decks.

The terminal, which ended up costing almost pounds 14m, was supported by a pounds 3.5mEU Objective 1grant, withStena itself finding a major part of the funding for the scheme.

The new terminal is intended for use by both the Stena Adventurer, the new pounds 60m ship which came into service on the central Irish Sea corridor just weeks after the new terminal was completed,and Irish Ferries' Ulysses.

Documents supporting the port operator's bid for EU support suggested the new terminal would create 56 new jobs,of which 41 would be permanent and the others seasonal. In addition,at least 120 indirect spin-off jobs were expected to follow. Not all those jobs would be available immediately,but they were expected to be created over a period of several years.

MEP Glenys Kinnock, who hails from Holyhead,officially opened the new terminal in July.It's a showpiece project for the Port of Holyhead,and one which Stena says is justified by the increase in passenger and vehicle numbers using the Holyhead-Dublin crossing, a major European transport link that provides a bridgehead for Irish companies,not only into Wales, but also the UK and mainland Europe itself.

Last week Stena said the introduction of the Adventurer,coupled with the increased flexibility in terms of ship turnaround times afforded by Terminal 5,had resulted in a 32pc year-on-year increase in customer demand.

Port manager Captain Wyn Parry said: ``Figures show there has been a general upturn in volumes on the Irish Sea -it represents a real growth of business through the port.''

Stena said the main increase had been in private cars but there had also been a rise in passenger volumes.

Anglesey County Council believes the strategic project is vital for the regeneration of Holyhead town centre and will give a boost to the island's economy generally. It is hoped that more Irish companies,particularly those working in the hi-techfield, will be encouraged to set up operations in the Holyhead area where major expansion of business parks is on the cards.

The port itself also hopes to attract more visits from cruise liners,giving the town the opportunity to benefit from tourist dollars,euros and other currencies carried by the ship borne tourists.


Glenys Kinnock MEP, Gunnar Blomdahl MD, on the bridge of the Stena Adventurer with Captain Roy Forsyth at the offical opening of the double decker berth terminal at Holyhead
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 22, 2003
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