One of South Tyneside’s most famous industrial landmarks is back in business.
The former Shell oil terminal, in Priory Road, Jarrow, closed in July after operating on the site for more than 50 years.
“We are all delighted it has a new lease of life.”Nick Clark
The iconic building – with its distinctive oil tanks which dominate the skyline – has now been taking over by Prax Terminals.
The team took over in February and, yesterday, the first rail delivery of fuel arrived.
The terminal will store diesel, gasoil, kerosene, gasoline and aviation fuel and already six jobs have been created, with the prospect of more in the future.
Nick Clark, who was previously employed by Shell, said: “We’re all delighted that the terminal has been given a new lease of life and once again is back in operation.
“Myself and the rest of the team are really pleased to be working for a company that is willing to invest and expand like this.”
He added: “This is the first time Prax has opened in this area, so it’s brilliant news for the area.”
Yesterday’s first rail delivery will, hopefully be the start of many for Prax whose parent company, State Oils, has headquarters in Weybridge and trading offices in Zug, Switzerland; Houston, Texas and Singapore.
Mr Clark said: “Monday’s delivery was the start of the recommissioning of the railway. Frequency of the trains will all depend on the supply and demand.
“We’re now working on building up a bigger customer base so hopefully there will be plenty more deliveries.”
Shell’s closure meant the Network Rail freight line was out of use.
Transport operator Nexus was looking at the possibility of utilising that stretch of line – which runs parallel to the Metro – to enable the dualling of the track between Pelaw and Jarrow stations.
Costing an estimated £20million to £30million, the work could address delay issues and lead to more frequent services.
However, the work could still be on the cards.
A Nexus spokesman said: “We recognise there is potential to dual the Metro line to South Shields and this is something that we would still like to do as it would allow us to run more frequent passenger services into the borough of South Tyneside.”
He added: “We will need to speak with the new owners of Jarrow Oil Terminal to find out more about their plans.”