Work completes on multi-million pound port expansion

Port of Sunderland is ensuring it is well positioned to attract future investment, after work on a multi-million-pound expansion programme was completed this week.

The Port of Sunderland – which was bolstered by an £8.2millon investment after areas of its estate were granted Enterprise Zone (EZ) status in 2017 – has undergone a major improvement-programme to its East Shore nine-acre development site, making it shovel ready for attracting inward investment.

The civil engineering division of Esh Construction was appointed to lead the transformation of East Shore, conducting initial groundworks and remediation of the site and installing a surface water drainage system, making the port more attractive to potential investors and providing an added incentive to those looking to establish a long-term operation on the site. 

Port chiefs have attracted a flurry of new businesses to the municipally-owned port over the past 12 months, the most recent being Scandinavian energy start-up Wastefront, and it is hoped this latest expansion – as well as the redevelopment of the 11-acre Hendon Sidings site which is set to follow – will help make it an even more attractive proposition for investors.

Matthew Hunt, director at Port of Sunderland, said: “We are delighted to be able to announce that the East Shore is now open for business and we are confident that this latest investment will help make us yet-more capable of handling increased levels of cargo and position us as a port of call for businesses looking to innovate and grow in the North of England.

“In addition to our fantastic natural location, our Enterprise Zone status also brings with it the added incentive of enhanced capital allowances, and the infrastructure works completed by Esh Construction will ensure that – combined with these benefits – the port is an even more attractive proposition for businesses looking to grow as we prepare for life post-pandemic.”

The North East LEP has made Port of Sunderland – and Sunderland at large – a key area of focus when considering maritime investment and job creation.  Backed by the council, the city is working to support private sector investors into Sunderland, and this latest phase of the modernisation of the city’s port will help add to its portfolio of internationally significant economic infrastructure.

Andrew Moffat, chair of the North East LEP Investment Board, said: “Port of Sunderland is an intermodal hub that continues to reap significant benefits from investments made in the site. Its status as an Enterprise Zone will help create more and better jobs by providing the right environment for businesses to scale and grow.

“As well as being a strategic site for a number of existing industries in the North East, Port of Sunderland, along with Port of Tyne and Port of Blyth, provides access to significant North Sea offshore wind market opportunities, making it an attractive site for investors and businesses working in emerging sectors.

“Port of Sunderland is one of 21 Enterprise Zones across the North East LEP region. The strategically selected sites are designed to drive growth by building on local strengths and skills, and capitalising on the region’s innovation ecosystem, and natural and physical environment.”

Steve Conn, divisional director at Esh Construction said: “The current climate has emphasised the importance of our maritime sector and the key role our ports will play in rebuilding the economy in the months ahead. With enabling works now complete, we are delighted to hand over the East Shore Enterprise Zone which provides key development land to generate investment and employment opportunities, and assist in the city’s overall regeneration.”

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