The Port of Tyne announced strong overall business performance in 2015 and a significant new contract at its Annual General Meeting on 19 May 2016.
Despite the dramatic reduction in coal imports to the UK last year, the Port announced that turnover was £59m and profit before tax was £6m.
Importantly, the Port invested £21m – a record amount – in infrastructure, mainly in completing the £25m extension to the main industrial quay Riverside Quay and to build 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 £710m. This was 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 over £50m to the GVA, supporting the travel and tourism sector in particular.
One of the highlights of the year was being awarded the title of Investors in People Champion, having achieved Gold status just the previous year, reflecting the emphasis the Port places on its people. Through its Community Action Fund and other support, the Port’s community programme engaged with over 500 organisations, involving 600,000 people, across the North East region.
At the event for stakeholders, Andrew Moffat, CEO of the Port of Tyne, announced the start of building new facilities to handle, store and transport wood pellet for Lynemouth Power Limited (LPL).
LPL is making good progress with its plan to convert the power station in Blyth, Northumberland from coal to renewable energy. The Port of Tyne has secured the agreement to handle, store and transport up to 1.8 million tonnes of wood pellet per year once conversion is complete.
Construction has begun on the Port’s estate at Tyne Dock in South Shields to build a 75,000 tonne storage facility, three enclosed conveyors and transfer towers, three silos, a rail loading silo and other works. Similar projects elsewhere have cost up to £100m. The Port of Tyne is contributing £13m to the project with the rest funded by LPL.
“The fast approaching end of coal imports has challenging for all Ports that have been handling this cargo but the programme of diversification at the Port ensures that we are not reliant on any one sector. 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 very important project to convert Lynemouth Power station.
“Until everything else is in place we are unable to say more, but this is good news for the region and the UK, and we are very confident that 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 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.”