Cargo volumes soared by 25% at the Port of Tyne last year during a robust year which saw the firm port record revenues for a fifth year running.
The buoyant port has announced record-breaking cargo volumes of 8.1m tonnes for 2013, when turnover rose 16% to £73m compared to 2012.
Pre-tax profit, however, halved from £12m to £6m after significant repair and operational costs were made on cranes, and further investment was also made in the planned expansion of wood pellet facilities.
The firm said profits remain healthy despite the multi-million pound costs, coming in three times higher than profit achieved in 2009.
Looking back over the past five years Andrew Moffat, Port of Tyne chief executive officer, said substantial growth had been achieved, not only in the performance of the business, but also in the investments made in infrastructure, as well as substantial impact made on the regional economy.
He said: “We have continued to develop the port’s vital infrastructure and have invested a total of over £60m since 2009 with £15m invested just last year.
“As a result, the Port of Tyne is now a larger and more sustainable business, offering greater resilience to our growing customer base in worldwide markets and bringing even greater economic value to the North East.”
Over the 12-month period, 625,000 passengers used the International Passenger Terminal, 640,000 cars crossed the quays making the port the UK’s biggest car exporting facility, and more than 60,000 container units were imported or exported.
The number of employees has also swelled by 27% since 2009, with the workforce now standing at almost 600, including 16 new apprentices who joined the ranks this year.
Moffat said: “We have also continued to invest in the people who make the port successful – the employees – and whilst we already are in the top 2% of silver status Investors in People accredited businesses in the UK, this year we are striving to achieve gold.”
Over the past five years the impact the port has on the regional economy grew by 38%, to more than £500m, supporting almost 10,500 direct and indirect jobs that depend on a thriving port.
Capital investments since 2009 have included major infrastructure developments including new cranes, quays, land acquisitions and dredging, and the business now has in excess of 600 acres of land and 3,000 metres of quays.
Additionally, a £25m capital programme to extend the main Riverside Quay by 125 metres, and also to connect the port’s south bank estate to the recently-acquired 17 acre adjacent site, is due to start by the end of June.
Moffatt added that supporting the growth of renewable energy, including plans for a potential £180m extension of wood pellet cargo facilities, remains central to the firm’s future.