Port of Sunderland booming as offshore windfarms take off

Port of Sunderland enjoyed a busy December.
Port of Sunderland enjoyed a busy December.
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THE North East’s low-carbon revolution is paying off for Wearside in more ways than one.

While Nissan gears up to begin building the new electric Leaf this year, the Port of Sunderland is cashing in on the development of the region’s offshore wind industry.

The port saw a rise in business last month compared to December 2011, including a 13-day long stay from a giant offshore installation vessel, the second to dock in Sunderland in recent months.

Director Matthew Hunt said more than 30 vessels had sailed into the Wear during the month, bringing a close to what was a strong year for the port.

“Last year was exceptional for us in a number of ways. We moved into the second quarter of 2012 having seen an 84 per cent increase in the number of vessels using the port and we are seeing more and more evidence that the work we have done to position Sunderland as a prime location for firms in the offshore renewable energy and subsea engineering fields, is working.

“All the signs are there that Port of Sunderland is growing its reputation as a location of choice for all kinds of vessels, requiring a range of services, so we have entered 2013 on a really optimistic note after a great December.”

Sunderland saw the arrival of one of the biggest vessels to dock in its waters in October, when the MPI Adventure came to Corporation Quay to undergo repair work. During December, a second offshore installation vessel, the MPI Discovery, also docked at the quay.

“Offshore installation vessels are always hugely impressive, and the sheer scale of them means they tend to make quite an impression on the Sunderland landscape,” said Matthew Hunt.

“We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to have had MPI Offshore vessels docked at Port of Sunderland over the past few months, and it really is a sign that we’re now being recognised as a destination of choice for shipping businesses right across the country.”

City council leader Coun Paul Watson is chairman of the Port of Sunderland board: “We have recognised for some time that the port is a real asset to the city and that it had so much untapped potential,” he said.

“The work that we as a council, and the leadership team at the port, have done is making a real difference and the positive end to the year is clear vindication of this. The early signs are that 2013 will be a fantastic one for Port of Sunderland”

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