The Port of Tyne achieved its highest cargo volumes in over 20 years in 2012, it was announced today.
Investment in the Port led to the biggest volume of cargo handled since 1989, at 6.5m tonnes, representing 22% growth against 2011 figures.
Ongoing investment which has included £5m in deepening berths and the River channel means that the Port now has the capacity to handle panamax-sized ships filled to capacity.
Volumes of imported coal have increased to the highest levels in recent times, to 3.7m tonnes in 2012 compared to a previous record of 3m tonnes in 2008.
Imports of the relatively new commodity wood pellets were maintained in 2012 and in Logistics overall business performance was steady.
The number of cars handled through the Port’s three car terminals equalled the 2011 record of 667k units, helped by a strong transhipment performance which saw an increase of 65k cars in the year.
The number of people passing through the International Passenger Terminal increased to 598k as a result of the significant increase in incoming cruise vessels which almost doubled from 20 to 36 ships.
Investing in infrastructure such as dredging, quay strengthening, car terminals, land acquisitions and new storage and transport facilities for wood pellet has in recent years enabled the Port of Tyne to keep ahead of new developments and business opportunities and meet the needs of its customers.
The Port of Tyne has also invested in its people through the implementation of a number of initiatives including the achievement of the Silver Award for Investors in People (IIP), which was achieved in less than 2 years “ and placed the Port in the top 2.5% of IIP accredited companies in the UK. Associated with this has been the development of business planning processes, performance management for all employees and the enhancement of communications. A profit share scheme launched in 2010 has also allowed staff to share in the success of the business.
Andrew Moffat, Chief Executive Officer, Port of Tyne said: Strategic investments made in recent years have enabled the business to grow to meet demand and grasp new opportunities. The Port is now able to accommodate 83% of the world’s largest cargo ships and 95% of cruise ships, which means we can do even more to support business in the North East region.
I am delighted we are continuing to meet our growth targets and make an important contribution to the region’s economic growth. The volumes of cargo handled by the Port and the scale of the ships now coming in are an indication of a vibrant and sustainable port, which is our overall aim.
The Port of Tyne adds approximately £500m Gross Value Added (GVA) to the economy of North East England supporting around 10,000 jobs.
It is now the UK’s fourth largest coal importing port, the largest UK car handling port and the leading handler of wood pellet in Europe.
Further new investment plans to expand the Port’s facilities in South Tyneside were announced earlier this year. The Port plans to invest £180m in expanding its wood pellet handling, storage and transport operations creating 900 jobs in construction and 300 full time equivalent jobs in operation.
The Port of Tyne is also marketing 30 hectares of land on its North Tyneside Estate, part of which has North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Enterprise Zone status, for offshore wind turbine manufacturing and the associated supply chain.