Pulp celebration is no fiction for Port of Sunderland

Port of Sunderland director Matthew Hunt.
Port of Sunderland director Matthew Hunt.
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Port of Sunderland has a million reasons to celebrate.

Bosses laid out plans for growth at a special event held today to celebrate the millionth tonne of pulp to pass through its quays.

The event, attended by new and existing customers, stakeholders and business contacts, saw the port celebrate its ongoing work for pulp business Sodra. Bosses

took the opportunity to share plans for the future, highlighting some of the key investment projects to date and the new infrastructure and support services the port will offer in


Director Matthew Hunt said the reception provided a good opportunity to reflect on the five years since the launch of the port’s blueprint for growth as well as share plans for the coming years: “We have been able to turn the port around over the last five years, and thanks to our owner Sunderland City Council’s recognition of the economic benefits that a commercially vibrant Port brings both to the local and regional economy, we have seen significant investment that has started to unlock our vast potential.

“This is just the start of what we – collectively – have planned for the port. We understand the market conditions and we have robust plans that will ensure that we can remain not only viable, but competitive.

"Looking ahead now, we have lots of plans for the growth of the port and we are keen to make sure that those we value most – our customers, partners and key stakeholders – can have absolute confidence that we are doing more and more to meet their needs.”

Some of the key developments at the port over the last twelve months include a project worth almost £1million to resurface two of the major quays, something that will increase cargo handling capabilities. It follows the installation of rail lines to reconnect the port to the national rail network, which was announced earlier this year.

City council leader Coun Paul Watson is chairman of the Port of Sunderland board, : “Thanks to major investment, over the last five years – and particularly over the last 12 months – Port of Sunderland is better positioned than ever to weather the cyclical nature of the sector," he said

“Typically, every port will see peaks and troughs in terms of its core business throughout the year, but with the strategic investment we have made, we are far less exposed. This is what is allowing us to see the sustained growth we are enjoying.”

As well the new hard-standing on two of its quays, the port now benefits from lighting that will allow round the clock activity, as well as more warehousing space for storage and two cranes, one a heavy-lift crane, to boost its capabilities. As a direct result, cargo handling has increased – including the ongoing contract with Sodra.