It has embarked on an programme of enabling engineering works to deliver major improvements to its East Shore nine-acre development site in order to make it shovel ready for attracting inward investment.
The municipally-owned port was bolstered by an £8.2millon investment, which has been channelled through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, after areas of its estate were granted Enterprise Zone status in 2017.
Esh Construction’s civil engineering division has been appointed to carry out the work on the East Shore phase of Enterprise Zone infrastructure improvements.
In addition, future undertakings will support enabling engineering works on the Port’s Hendon Sidings site, again to make the site shovel ready for attracting inward investment.
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Groundworks have started, with a substation and lighting expected to be installed within weeks.
Matthew Hunt, director at Port of Sunderland, said he was delighted to see work get underway on a part of the site he believes will quickly attract market interest and investment.
He added: “Over the last decade or so, we have been quietly building the port’s capacity – maximising its natural assets, making strategic land acquisitions that extend the footprint of the estate and investing in equipment that makes us a yet-more capable port, able to meet a broader range of potential market demand.
"The result is a port that is well and truly established in the market place for the provision of port infrastructure and services.
“In addition to its port location, our Enterprise Zone status brings with it the added incentive of enhanced capital allowances and the infrastructure works we have commissioned Esh Construction to undertake will ensure that – combined with these benefits – the port is an even more attractive proposition for businesses looking for the right location.”
The Enterprise Zone area of the port will focus on meeting market demand for premises close to the quayside, offering a range of facilities to support its customers.
Coun Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “There is a head of steam building in Sunderland right now and our port is front and centre of that."