TEESSIDE group PD Ports today announced it had taken a major step forward in its plans to build a £300m deep sea container terminal at Teesport.
The scheme, which could create 5,500 jobs, now has no outstanding objections and port bosses hope it will be given the green light by the Government.
An objection from Hutchinson Ports, which owns South-east rivals Felixstowe and Harwich, would have meant the Teesside project would have had to go to a public inquiry.
Hutchinson’s objection to the Harbour Revision Order (HRO) could have necessitated a public inquiry being called before the Department for Transport would evaluate the proposals.
But PD Ports said following discussions, Hutchinson’s objection had been removed.
It’s now hoped a planning decision on the project will be made in the next few month.
David Robinson, chief executive of PD Ports, said: “This is a major step forward for us and for Northern shippers and retailers.
“We will now work with the Department for Transport, which has already confirmed the withdrawal of the last objection, to enable the Minister to make an early decision. We are confident the Minister will give PD Ports the final approval needed.”
The company already has the unanimous approval of Redcar and Cleveland Council regarding the plans for the land-based elements of the scheme.
Mr Robinson added: “PD Ports has held a series of discussions with Hutchison about its concerns regarding capacity in the rail network for the increase of rail freight resulting from the proposed Northern Gateway Container Terminal at Teesport.
“The Northern Gateway will act as a Northern port for Northern markets.
“As a result of those discussions PD Ports has decided to address Hutchison’s concerns directly by contributing to the provision of upgrades to the East Coast Main Line and diversionary routes.
“Accordingly, Hutchison Ports (UK) has removed its objection to the application for a Harbour Revision Order made by PD Ports for its Northern Gateway proposal.”
A planning inquiry would have meant major delays for the project. PD Ports’ group development director Martyn Pellew said the scheme could now be operational by 2010.
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