Port of Tyne is investing £13million and creating dozens of new jobs as part of the North East’s green power revolution.
CEO Andrew Moffat will today announce the start of work on new facilities to handle, store and transport wood pellet for Lynemouth Power Limited (LPL).
LPL is converting the power station in South East Northumberland from coal to biomass and Port of Tyne has secured the agreement to handle, store and transport up to 1.8million tonnes of wood pellet every year once conversion is complete.
Construction of a 75,000 tonne storage facility, three enclosed conveyors and transfer towers, three silos, and a rail-loading silo has begun at Tyne Dock. Port of Tyne is contributing £13million to the project, with the majority of the investment being made by LPL.
The project will create 200 construction jobs in the short term and around 50 long-term posts at the port, as well as safeguarding 15 more.
“The fast-approaching end of coal imports has been challenging for all UK ports that have been handling this cargo, but the strategy of diversification at the Port ensures that we are not reliant on any one sector,” said Mr Moffat
“We have been at the forefront of developing expertise and facilities to handle the renewable fuel, wood pellet, and I am delighted that LPL have chosen the Port of Tyne as a key partner in this significant development.
“The project will provide new jobs, and support jobs indirectly, both in construction and in operation, for many years to come.
“The port has been investing in building a strong, diverse business for almost a decade. We had a challenging year in 2015 which also included restructuring the business, winning new business and ensuring that customer service remained top priority.
“With the ongoing support and commitment of our employees and all of our stakeholders, we look forward to working together to deliver our future strategies to ensure that the Port of Tyne continues to be a vibrant and sustainable port and an important economic driver and enabler for the regional and national economy.”
The port will announce strong overall business performance in 2015 at its Annual General Meeting today.
Despite the dramatic reduction in coal imports to the UK last year, turnover was £59million and profit before tax was £6million.
The port invested £21million - a record amount - in infrastructure, mainly in completing the £25million extension to the main industrial quay Riverside Quay and providing additional storage space at the Port’s car terminals.
In 2015, the value added by the port to the regional economy increased by 27%, to £710million, driven by a 30% increase in the number of full-time jobs supported directly or indirectly by the port, which rose to almost 14,500.
The port’s International Passenger Terminal continued to contribute more than £50million to the GVA, supporting the travel and tourism sector in particular.