North East gateway to global business
One of the UK’s major deep-sea ports, adding £700m to the economy, Port of Tyne continues to develop its facilities and services for trade to and from this region and beyond
While the potential impact on the UK’s ports of leaving the European Union is still unclear, what’s not up for debate is the requirement that British ports suffer minimal efficiency losses as a result of Brexit. 95 per cent of the UK’s trade passes through its ports, making them vital gateways to economic prosperity.
EU member states are significantly important to the UK, at the Port of Tyne 50 per cent of all imports arrive from the EU and 40 per cent of exports are destined for Europe.
The Port of Tyne is one of the UK’s major deep-sea ports, adding some £700m to the economy and supporting 14,000 jobs in its supply chain.
As global gateways of the North, northern ports are primary assets in realising the potential of the northern economy, comprising an integral part of the region’s multi-modal logistics across road, rail and sea. Northern powerhouse strategies that prioritise connectivity recognise that the ports and airports are gateways that facilitate essential global connectivity.
During a decade of development, the Port of Tyne has invested over £130m in diversifying its operations to handle a growing range of commodities including wood pellet, grain, aggregate, scrap and plywood.
Its container terminal handles a wide and ever-growing range of containerised goods – including everything from retail goods, manufacturing parts to clothing and raw tea. As a result of growth of over 25 per cent in container imports since 2015, the Port of Tyne is planning to invest £1.25m in extending its container terminal, increasing its capacity by 43 per cent.
Container shipping via the Port of Tyne offers customers cost efficiencies, reduces road miles and creates environmental savings. Regular short-sea feeder vessels connect the port to Felixstowe, Grangemouth and Rotterdam and from there, the rest of the world.
Matt Beeton, Port of Tyne chief executive officer, said: “Our strategic location on the east reduces time to market due to clearer roads and shorter distances, while at the same time cutting road co2 emissions. Goods arriving from Europe can be discharged swiftly, efficiently and reach markets quicker than importing into the South by avoiding congestion and adding unnecessary road miles.”
He adds: “Ports are doing quite a lot behind the scenes to prepare for Brexit. Port of Tyne has sought Authorised Economic Operator Status to simplify the customs process, and in addition to increasing capacity in our container terminal, we are taking practical steps including investing in inspection facilities for the UK Border Agency.
“We’re all, as a group, as an industry, trying to make sure there isn’t that level of disruption, that has been predicated.”
In addition to its conventional and bulk cargo operations and container terminal, the Port of Tyne operates one of Europe’s largest car handling facilities and the second largest for car exports in the UK – handling around 600,000 finished vehicles each year for the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance and the VW Audi Group.
As well as parts for Nissan’s assembly line in Washington, the port handles parts for Komatsu Europe based in Gateshead, and around 30 per cent of the import material destined for the Hitachi Rail Europe plant in Durham comes via the Port of Tyne.
Matt adds: “Uncertainty around the UK’s exit of the European Union continues to be troubling for UK based businesses, including many of our major customers.
“We would welcome clarity from the Government in respect of the UK’s future trading arrangements, free ports, tariffs and free zone corridors giving us the ability to better assist our customers and secure contracts needed to support imports and
exports to the UK.”
Looking to the future, the Port of Tyne’s commercial property portfolio, including two enterprise parks that offer enterprise zone status, provides further flexibility and capacity to adapt.
As a region, long term planning and strong strategic partnerships will enable the port to grow its economic impact supporting new and existing markets as well at Northern Powerhouse strategies – and in doing so provide a dynamic sustainable port that keeps goods moving for the benefit of the region and the national economy.