THE Port of Tyne has more than doubled its profits after handling record cargo volumes in 2011.
A 66% rise in the volume of cargoes coming in and out of the River Tyne this year resulted in the port’s turnover increasing by almost a third on 2010 to £60m and profit more than doubling to £9m.
Port chief executive Andrew Moffat said records were broken for cars, containers and bulk cargoes, with the total tonnage of cargo handled jumping from 3.5 million to 5.3 million tonnes.
The port has invested more than £100m on infrastructure over the past 10 years, including the deepening of the river by up to 10m to enable it to accommodate larger ships. The deep sea port can now accept the majority of the world’s biggest cargo and cruise ships.
Consultant Arup has said the port’s work in 2011 had a knock-on effect on the region as a whole, adding more than £460m to the North East economy and supporting 9,500 jobs.
An estimated £10bn of goods passed through the port in 2011, a significant proportion of the total value of the region’s exports which was estimated at £13bn last year.
Moffatt said: “This announcement is good news not only for the port but also the region.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that the port serves businesses and communities of the North East region and plays its part in helping achieve economic growth.”
The continuing expansion of car- maker Nissan’s Wearside plant means the port is still the UK’s number-one car-exporting port. Car imports and exports were at a record 667,000, up 20% as the new third car terminal finished its first year of operation.
Nearly 600,000 passengers travelled through the International Passenger Terminal, either on one of the 20 summer cruises or on a DFDS Amsterdam ferry service.
The business spent more than £10m last year on dredging the river, replacing the century-old fenders beneath the quays and works including buying a dredger it named in honour of Newcastle United legend Sir Bobby Robson.
Its largest increase in volumes came in conventional and bulk cargo, where it boasted an increase of 116% and coal imports nearly trebled to 2.1m tonnes.
Wood pellet tonnage reached 800,000 tonnes in the first full year of the new wood pellet-handling facility.
Port of Tyne also handles logistics such as containers and warehousing, as well as estates. A record 71,000 teu (20ft equivalent units) of containers were handled during the year, a rise of a quarter.