PORT of Tyne bosses are today celebrating five unbroken years of record growth.
Last year, the South Shields-based port saw cargo volumes increase 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.
Andrew Moffat, Port of Tyne chief executive officer, said 2013 had been another record year, while he highlighted the port’s positive impact on the North East economy.
He said: “We have continued to develop the port’s vital infrastructure and have invested a total of £60m since 2009, with £15m invested just last year.
“As a result, the Port of Tyne is now a larger and more sustainable business, offering greater resilience to our growing customer base in world-wide markets and bringing even greater economic value to the North East.” Last year, the port handled 8.1 million tonnes of cargo, while 625,000 passengers used the International Passenger Terminal, and 640,000 cars crossed the quays, making the port the UK’s biggest car-exporting facility, and more than 60,000 container units were either imported or exported. Profit before tax in 2013, while remaining strong at over £6m – three times higher than profit achieved in 2009 – decreased in 2013.
This was due to delays to shipping, and also because of further investment made in the planned expansion of wood pellet cargo facilities.
The number of port employees has increased by 27 per cent since 2009, the workforce now standing at almost 600, including 16 new apprenticeships launched this year.
Mr Moffat added: “We have also continued to invest in the people who make the port successful – the employees – and whilst we already are in the top two per cent of silver status Investors in People accredited businesses in the UK, this year we are striving to achieve gold.”
Over the last five years, the impact of Port of Tyne on the regional economy grew by 38 per cent to more than half a billion pounds, supporting almost 10,500 direct and indirect jobs which depend on the booming port.
The port now boasts more than 600 acres of land and 3,000 metres of quay, while a £25m scheme to extend the main Riverside Quay by 125 metres, and also connect the port’s south bank estate to the recently-acquired 17-acre adjacent site, is due to start by the end of this month.
Meanwhile, supporting the growth of renewable energy, including plans for a potential £180m extension of wood pellet cargo facilities, remains central to the port’s future.
Mr Moffat said: “With its existing assets, the port is now in a position to take advantage of opportunities in the renewable energy and offshore sectors.”