THE Port of Sunderland has welcomed one of the biggest commercial vessels in its history.
At almost 175 metres long and 28 metres across, the 35,000- tonne Japanese multipurpose carrier MV Kurobe docked at Corporation Quay to deliver a 3,000-tonne press system for city car parts firm Unipres after travelling from Japan via the Panama Canal and Antwerp.
City council leader Coun Paul Watson, also chairman of the Port of Sunderland, hailed the arrival as a success for the city.
“MV Kurobe’s arrival is fantastic,” he said.
“Time and time again we are proving that we have the capability, set-up and service ethic to attract a whole variety of cargo types, such as this automotive sector related project cargo shipment to Port of Sunderland.
“The volume and significance of the business we are seeing is testament to that.”
Agent GP Shipping oversaw the vessel’s stay in the North East, helping Port of Sunderland with the logistical elements of its arrival and departure from the 323-metre Corporation Quay berth and worked alongside Specialist Transport Group (STG) and Saga Japan K.K., which is handling haulage arrangements and transporting the press to Washington-based Unipres.
Shinichi Shintaku of Saga Japan, and Jim Weir of STG, both project managers responsible for the shipment and delivery were delighted with the responsive and helpful support given by all at Port of Sunderland.
Mr Weir said: “Labour, equipment and facilities at Port of Sunderland have proved so successful that a similar commitment has been made for next year.
“We like the flexible and imaginative approach to customer relations and you can be sure we will be back at Port of Sunderland.”
Two of the ship’s own 100-tonne cranes, as well as shore side hydraulic lifting equipment, were used to unload the press, which will be fully installed and operational by the end of this year.
The press will be used to manufacture steel components that form the internal structure of the Nissan and Honda vehicles.