Another record year for Port of Blyth as turnover hits £17.5m

Fast-growing and ambitious Port of Blyth has provisionally announced record turnover of £17.5m for the second year in succession

Martin Lawlor, chief executive of Port of Blyth

One of the region’s fastest-growing and most ambitious ports has today announced a record 12 months – for the second year in succession.

Provisional figures from the Port of Blyth show turnover around £17.5m, from £17m in 2012, with an operating profit of more than £0.9m compared to £0.65m.

And throughput is expected to be confirmed at around 1.7 million tonnes, up from 1.3 million.

The trust port’s chief executive Martin Lawlor said: “We are delighted by the ongoing growth and performance and anticipate further significant growth over the next two to three years with major development schemes under consideration.”

The strong performance in 2013 is partly due to a sharp rise in offshore energy-related trade which included the renewables sector, particularly wind, as well as oil and gas.

The port is now firmly established as a significant hub for servicing the offshore energy sector as a whole.

In October, Port of Blyth announced it was to build a fuel storage facility for the marine industry, in partnership with Geos Group.

Work is well under way on the initial phase, costing more than £5m, which will see the construction of three storage tanks this year, with a capacity of more than 15 million litres. Further expansion is planned.

An initial 20 or so jobs were created but there are high hopes that more could be on the way with interest from biomass-related operations.

The RES Group is looking to build a £350m biomass power station there, and another scheme involves Lynemouth Power Station, which aims to convert to biomass by 2015.

If they come off, these would hugely increase the size of the port, which employs 110 full-time workers and up to 40-50 contract workers on any given day.

The marine fuels terminal development was the first at the Enterprise Zone in the River Blyth estuary and was backed by Arch, the Northumberland development company, which provided investment through the Regional Growth Fund and its Northumberland Business Growth Programme.

At the time, Lawlor said: “This reaffirms our position as a growing offshore energy hub.

“Given our excellent deep-water facilities and prime location, we believe others will follow the significant cluster of organisations within the sector already established around the estuary.”

The port recorded its record £17m sales in May last year, despite losing its biggest customer when Rio Tinto Alcan closed its Lynemouth smelter.

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