One of the region’s ports is celebrating after signing a significant storage and offshore cable base contract with one of the world’s most profitable energy companies.
Port of Sunderland has entered into agreement with E.ON to take delivery of two 600-tonne substations next month as part a Humber Gateway Wind Farm project, after a raft of developments designed to make the most of the port’s natural assets freed up swathes of land ready to be utilised.
The project will also see an offshore cable lay vessel and offshore barge based at the port.
Formed in 2000 after a merger between energy companies VEBA and VIAG, Germany’s E.ON is the world’s largest investor-owned energy service provider.
It will utilise a purpose-built storage area on Greenwells Quay, before being shipped out to the Humber Gateway wind farm next year.
The substations, which will be held at the port for six to 12 months, will be delivered via barge and transported via self-propelled trailers to a temporary base using a roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) ramp facility.
Matthew Hunt, port director, said: “The E.ON contract is an exciting opportunity for Port of Sunderland, with a very visible workscope which allows us to demonstrate our ultra-large cargo-handling capability.
“E.ON are a globally respected company and it’s a pleasure to be able to accommodate their storage requirements.
“To attract an organisation like E.ON is fantastic and we are confident that we can build upon this and further cement Sunderland’s reputation as a progressive and responsive port able to compete on a national and international scale.”
Coun Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council and chairman of the port board, added: “It’s a positive step forward for Port of Sunderland to see a company operating on an international scale call upon them for such a large storage project.
“Reconfiguration work has come a long way at the port and the line-up of developments that have taken place to enhance our offer to customers have no doubt helped to position it as an appealing base for many companies.”
Earlier this year the Port of Sunderland said it was back in profit after seeing the number of commercial vessels increase by some 84% year on year. A growing number of firms, including some major players operating in the offshore field such as LV Shipping and AJ Woods, have chosen Port of Sunderland as their base.
At the time, Hunt said: “Last year was an exceptional year for us. We are seeing more and more evidence that the work we have done to position Sunderland as a prime location for firms in the offshore renewable energy and subsea engineering fields is working.”