The Port of Tyne is to axe about 40 jobs as it looks to slash costs.
The port issued a statement confirming it was in talks with staff and unions over the cuts and was looking to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible.
The business, which employs almost 500 people, has blamed a fall in demand for the need to save money.
“As a result of a consolidating operations across the business and the continued fall in coal imports, the Port of Tyne is consulting with trade union and employee representatives on potential redundancies across the whole business,” the statement said.
“This restructure is designed to deliver greater efficiency and improvements both to profitability and the services provided to the Port’s customers.
“Around 40 redundancies, most of which are expected to be voluntary, are anticipated, although the exact details are yet to be agreed following the consultation.
“We have been investing in building a strong business for almost a decade and recently set out our business growth aspirations, in line with our mission to ensure that the Port of Tyne continues to be an economic driver and enabler for the North East region and the UK. This continues to be our aim for the future.
“However, the volumes of coal we handle for power stations have drastically reduced, both last year and again during 2015.
“Coal volumes in the first half of 2015 were 40% less than the same period last year and are expected to continue to decline. The levels of wood pellet have increased but are not at sufficient levels to replace the reduction in coal.
“The consultation process will not impact normal business at the Port.”