Some UK ports are seeing their best levels of throughput since the recession with one north east port achieving record tonnage levels following a programme of investment to boost its handling capabilities.
Port of Sunderland has seen a 20% increase in throughput handled in the last year with the volume of cargo handled reaching 710,000 tonnes for the period 2014/15, up from 590,000 on the previous year.
The surge in cargo saw the port reconnecting its rail lines late last year and the port is set for a further boost to business when the Wear River gets a third crossing, due for construction later this year.
This will provide a link from the port to the major trunk roads, the A1 and A19 and help to ensure easier freight transportation in and out of the port.
Meanwhile Belfast Harbour in Northern Ireland handled a record 23m tonnes during 2014, up 46% since the lowest point of the global downturn in 2009.
The harbour handles 67% of Northern Ireland’s seaborne trade and is a vital gateway for raw materials, exports and consumer goods for the region.
Roy Adair, CEO, Belfast Harbour, said: “As the economy has improved, so too has competition in the port sector. Belfast Harbour is actively persuing a pipeline of new capital expenditure projects to support further economic growth and to develop new and existing trade opportunities.”
An ongoing investment programme totalling £400m to date is helping to attract trade and new business activity to the harbour. Over the last 20 years tonnage at the harbour has grown almost fourfold.