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Port to create thousands of new jobs

Thursday 24 January 2013 5:00

Port of Tyne has announced plans for £180m worth of investment in renewable energy on its south bank estate in South Tyneside creating thousands of jobs.

The proposals are to develop infrastructure and new facilities for handling, storage and transportation of imports of wood pellet, a source of bio-energy for power stations, and to extend its main Riverside Quay at Tyne Dock.

The Port said that if these developments were delivered in full they would create 900 jobs in construction and a further 300 full-time operational jobs, supporting an additional 2,000 jobs.

The Port is already the largest handler of wood pellet in Europe and the plans are to improve and expand its existing wood pellet storage facilities and associated quay and rail infrastructure.

It said it was talking to existing and new customers about putting the new facilities in place and the search for an investment partner was `well underway’ and discussions were being held with a number of interested parties.

“It is in renewable energy where we see the next major area of growth for us,” said Andrew Moffat, the Port of Tyne’s chief executive. “That is why we are working with major companies in the power generation industry to identify their future requirements and making sure we will be ready to meet their needs.

“These are very significant plans for the Port of Tyne which are imperative for both the sustainability of the Port and the future delivery of the Government’s carbon reduction targets.

“The expertise we have gained in handling wood pellet for over two years and the technologies we have developed are now being sought by national and international energy companies looking to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and meet government targets of using renewable fuels. The new proposals are for sophisticated, high spec storage and transfer solutions in terms of design, efficiency and reducing environmental impact, and are intended to maintain our position as a world leader in handling this important new fuel.”

If successful these plans would represent the biggest investment ever made by the Port and follow major investments already made in 2012 which included the strategic land acquisitions of the former McNulty site in South Tyneside and Morston Quays in North Tyneside.

Moffat added: “The Port is on target for another year of record turnover and profit. To continue to survive and thrive, we must maintain a competitive advantage and these forward thinking plans will enable us to do just that, significantly increasing the Port’s impact on the regional economy.”

Further plans are also under consideration for the future of the Port’s enlarged Tyne Dock Estate. These include facilities for offshore engineering and the development of key buildings and environmental improvements.

On the north bank of the Tyne the Port is currently marketing a site within the North East LEP Enterprise Zone for offshore wind turbine manufacturing and is in advanced discussions with potential partners.