Matthew Hunt, Port of Sunderland
Record levels of cargo were handled at the municipally-owned Port of Sunderland last year, providing a major boost to the regional economy.
The port, which celebrated 300 years in operation in 2017, recorded a 13% rise in tonnage passing through its docks when compared to 2016, with figures now standing at well over 800,000 tonnes.
The record performance, which has seen cargo handled more than double since port director Matthew Hunt took to the helm in 2010, has contributed to yet another stellar year for the port.
Hunt, working with owners Sunderland City Council, has made a number of strategic purchases that have enabled its growth.
This includes two new cranes and further investment being made into increasing warehousing capacity and improvements to modal connectivity.
The port is also set to receive a major boost by the opening of the Northern Spire bridge in the Spring, which will contribute to improved road connectivity in and out of the port.
Speaking about the results, Hunt said: “It’s been another fantastic year at Port of Sunderland and it’s great news for our customers too.
“We handle import and export volume on behalf of a wide basket of North East industrial concerns, and they have recognised that Sunderland, as a location, is ideal for them, to support their needs. As we continue to invest, they will continue to reap the benefits.”
He added: "When I came to the port in 2010, I could see that there was vast potential, with some strategic investment, to really transform it.
“And with a wider programme of huge infrastructure projects underway in the city, that will lead to an even more buoyant economy, this is only the beginning of what we can achieve.”
The increase is another positive indicator for a port that is now gearing up to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead thanks to improved road infrastructure, rail connectivity and the arrival of the 50 hectare International Advanced Manufacturing Park, on land just minutes from Nissan.
Cllr Harry Trueman, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The economic picture in the city is changing at a rate not seen for decades, with £1.3bn of public/private sector investment being pumped in right now.
“The momentum that the port is gathering, and the investment we are putting into it, is gearing it up to take an increasingly active role in supporting our importing and exporting businesses, so the increase we are seeing in its handling performance is no coincidence.
"We are delighted for Matthew and his team at the port.”