SOUTH Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has paid a fact-finding visit the town’s booming Port of Tyne.
Managers yesterday welcomed the opportunity to update her with developments at the UK’s fastest growing port - and gave her a trip in the pilot cutter.
The port has achieved record growth and cargo volumes for five years in succession and recorded a larger year-on-year growth than any other major UK facility.
Mrs Lewell-Buck was able to see at first-hand the new developments taking shape.
Since 2009, cargo volumes have more than doubled to 8.1m tonnes - the highest for almost 50 years- and turnover has increased by more than half to £73m.
In 2013 the Port retained its position as the number one UK car exporter, second largest coal importer and leading importer of wood pellet in Europe.
The MP saw for herself some of the port’s recent investments, including a new £6m container crane, £3m mobile crane and new £1.1m hopper, as well as hear about the latest plans to increase the number of apprentices at the port this year.
Mrs Lewell-Buck has criticised the Conservative Party over its European policy - particularly the impact it could have on the Tyne Dock port.
She said: “One of the reasons the port is such a success is the millions of pounds of investment it has received from Europe and the access we have to European markets, but the Tories are endangering those benefits and endangering jobs by placing an arbitrary deadline on an in-out European referendum.”
Earlier this year Port bosses marked five unbroken years of record growth.
Last year, cargo volumes increased by 25 per cent to 8.1 million tonnes, while turnover rose by 16 per cent to £73m, compared to 2012.
Continued record growth underlined its status as the UK’s fastest-growing major deep sea port, which adds £500m to the regional economy, while supporting 10,500 jobs.