£4million investment helps boost at Port of Sunderland

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INVESTMENT in the Port of Sunderland has increased by almost £4million as the once “forgotten asset” becomes the jewel in Sunderland’s crown.

This financial year, the council intends to invest £4,230,000 in the facility, up from £378,000 in 2010.

Now calls have gone out to build on this success by securing a contract to export Sunderland-built Nissan cars from Wearside rather than Tyneside.

It was only five years ago that the future of the port had looked in doubt, with the industry having to rely on council subsidies to keep operations going.

However, the booming offshore, new and renewables energy fields have helped transform the fortunes of the facility which, as reported in the Echo, is expected to go into profit for the second year running.

According to council bosses, the transformation of the port stems from a masterplan created two years ago,.

It identified offshore, new and renewable energy and subsea engineering as areas of growth.

Councillor Paul Watson, council leader and chairman of the port’s board, said: “The port was, for a long time, a forgotten asset.

“However, we recognised that with the right investment and support, there was an immediate opportunity to reinvigorate it and really put the city on the map as a destination that is able to support the needs of businesses in the offshore fields, as well as offering more traditional support operations.”

LV Shipping company recently opened a sub-office at port, spotting the commercial opportunities in Sunderland, while Essex engineering company AJ Woods Engineering Ltd is turning to Sunderland as it gears up for growth, in a move that could bring up to 60 jobs.

The company specialises in complex offshore structures for the renewable, oil and gas industries. It announced in November it will set up offices, stores and workshops at a facility in the port.

Development at Greenwells Quay has been carried out to make it more suitable for use, including conventional cargo handling, and an investment of £500,000 into a Liebherr crane has helped increase capabilities.

Last year, a cargo of Nissan cars, usually exported from Port of Tyne, left from Sunderland Port, increasing speculation it could soon become the car giant’s primary export facility.

Councillor Robert Oliver, leader of Sunderland Conservatives, has welcomed the success at the port and hopes more jobs will be created.

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