Port of Tyne reaps benefits of £200m investment

The Port of Tyne returned to business growth in 2017 — two years after the end of imports of coal — and is enjoying further improvements in its financial performance in 2018.

The port’s chief executive officer Andrew Moffat announced that he will be stepping down at the end of the year after 10 years at the helm, during which time the port saw record growth and investment.

The Port of Tyne has been transformed under Moffat’s leadership with investments of more than £200 million in infrastructure, equipment and people to become one of the UK’s most innovative deep-sea ports.

“The Port saw investment of over £100 million completed in 2017 on its south bank estate at South Shields, where new facilities to handle expanded volumes of wood pellet have been under construction,” said Port of Tyne.

Announcing the 2017 business performance, Moffat said: “Our turnover increased to £47 million, EBITDA increased to £8 million and profit before tax was £2 million.

“More importantly, for 2018, we have budgeted for significant increases with EBITDA expected to rise by over 50% to £13 million.

“And I’m delighted to be able to report that we are currently on target to achieve this.”

Lucy Armstrong, chair of the Port of Tyne, said: “In 2017, the business continued its transition from the impact of the loss of substantive volumes of imported coal, towards increased wood pellet cargoes which will ensure the business returns to its growth trajectory.

“The construction of major new facilities for Lynemouth Power Ltd which progressed to commissioning during the year will facilitate this shift, and support increased volumes over a ten year period.”

The number of cars handled at the port’s car terminals increased and it retained its position as the UK’s second largest car exporting port.

The port’s international passenger terminal broke its own records again, with 52 cruise ships bringing 120,000 cruise passengers and handling the largest ever number of DFDS ferry passengers at 600,000.

Container volumes increased by 8%, mainly due to increased volumes of manufacturing parts, recovered materials and tea exports to Canada.

The port now handles more than 40% of the UK’s raw tea imports.

While bulk cargo volumes decreased slightly due to other wood pellet handling facilities coming on stream at other ports, the impact of this was more than offset by revenues from offshore renewable energy services, which included the handling of gravity bases for the Blyth Offshore wind demonstrator project.

The port’s annual economic impact study reported that its Gross Value Added increased again in 2017 to £700 million, including £53 million to the tourism sector, and in total the port supports 14,000 jobs in the North East of England.

The port’s total economic impact in the region has doubled in the past ten years.