THE Port of Tyne has bought 10 acres of land from the administrators of failed shipyard McNulty Offshore as it grows its business in the renewable energy sector.
Chief executive Andrew Moffat said having land available for commercial development will inevitably help the port attract renewable energy industries such as offshore wind and biomass.
He said: “The site is well known to those in the offshore sector and provides potential for developments in the associated wind, oil and gas sectors. We are now talking to several interested parties who would find the location extremely attractive for immediate contracts.
“This is a strategically significant site with deep water and like our existing operations it is only three miles from the mouth of the river and the North Sea.
“It is a unique opportunity for the port as the site is directly connected to our land at Tyne Dock.
“In the future it will form an integral part of the planned growth of the port’s business and the increased jobs that will go with that.”
The acquisition is an important addition to the port’s Tyne Dock estate, which has 750 metres of quayside. The former McNulty site provides another 250 metres. The Port of Tyne is one of the UK’s major deep sea ports and recently announced record cargo volumes and record financial results for 2011.
It recorded a 30% increase in turnover and doubled profits, based on growth in its bulk cargoes such as coal, steel and wood pellet, its container terminal and logistics businesses, and its car terminals.
The port is further investing in its container and car terminals and plans to expand its handling facilities for wood pellets, which are used as well as coal by power stations to generate electricity.
Moffat has credited the growth of the business to the commitment and dedication of the employees and support of stakeholders who recognise the port’s role as a facilitator of economic growth in the North East.
In 2011, the port handled an estimated £10bn worth of cargoes and independent consultants Arup calculated that it contributed £467m to the regional economy, supporting 9,500 jobs.
McNulty Group went into administration in February this year after orders dried up and administrators KPMG have been looking to sell the yard as a going concern.
Mark Firmin, KPMG’s Northern head of restructuring, said: “The sale concludes more than 12 weeks of work and we are pleased to have agreed a deal that holds out the prospect of future work and employment.”