1million investment to boost Port of Sunderland
Structural work that will transform a major quay at a North East port is underway, and is set to pave the way for increased business.
Port of Sunderland has announced that Jubilee Quay - the third largest of its eleven quays - will be redeveloped, with a new asphalt hardstanding that will allow it to be used for the shipments of bulk and project cargoes. The project, which will see earthworks, surfacing and drainage work carried out on the site, will allow the port to take on more business, and it is hoped that - in the longer term - it will make the port a more attractive inward investment proposition.
Port of Sunderland, which is owned by Sunderland City Council, has also commissioned the construction of two new lighting masts and provision of a new dockside handrail, which will ensure the site remains operational when light levels are low. Work will be undertaken by North East construction business Owen Pugh.
Matthew Hunt, director of Port of Sunderland, said that the redevelopment project - expected to take three months to complete, was another step forward for the port, which has seen its fortunes transformed since his arrival in 2010.
Mr Hunt said: "Port of Sunderland is a fast-growing port, and infrastructure projects such as this one serve to accelerate that growth, allowing us to take on more business, and expand our capabilities.
"We have seen an extensive programme of investment at Port of Sunderland, and all of this is helping to create new opportunities for us, and to unlock the vast potential that exists here. With more of our quays becoming operational, and of course, some of the major investment made to date - that has included the purchase of two cranes, one a heavy-lift crane, and of course the recent reconnection of our rail lines - we are more capable than ever and better placed than ever before to compete on a bigger stage."
The 120m long quay is located in the port's Hudson Dock, on the west side of the port. The area is connected to the port's newly reinstated rail lines and will be an ideal location for handling rail-borne cargoes to and from the port. .
The latest project, worth some £400,000 follows major work at the port's Greenwell's Quay - located on the northern side of the port - which has also been resurfaced, with around 4,500m2 of concrete hardstanding. The combined value of the contracts is almost £1million.
Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, and chair of the Port of Sunderland board, said that - coupled with wider regeneration projects in the city - he believed that the work would provide a significant boost for Port of Sunderland.
He said: "Sunderland is a fast-changing city. There is real momentum now, in terms of the regeneration that is underway right across Sunderland, and the work at the port is an important part of this.
"The city has a rich heritage, and has long been forging a strong economy from its waterways; since 2010, we have seen this come full circle. This work at the port, teamed with the project to reconnect its rail lines, investment in new equipment and indeed the forthcoming completion of a third Wear crossing, will see Port of Sunderland better connected and facilitated than ever before. We believe the port is now at a stage to realise its vast potential and compete on a national stage."
He added: "Every single one of the projects the city council is delivering at the moment feed in to a bigger city vision, and we see the port - once again - at the heart of economic regeneration in Sunderland."
The investment in the port feeds in to a combined public and private sector spend of £1billion that was announced earlier this year by the city's Economic Leadership Board and Sunderland Business Group. Known as the 3,6,9 Vision, the plan plots out the development of Sunderland between now and 2024.
The Jubilee Quay regeneration is the latest in a long line of infrastructure projects at the port, since the council announced its Economic Masterplan for Sunderland in October 2010. Owen Pugh was awarded the contract to deliver the latest project after a competitive tender process. The company also delivered work on the £485,000 Greenwell's Quay redevelopment, a contract that involved breaking down the dock-side walls, removal of obstructions buried underground and installation of drainage.
John Dickson, chairman of Owen Pugh Group, said: "We are thrilled to be playing a significant role in regeneration of the port, which is integral to Sunderland's economic well-being. It will further strengthen our relationship with the port, which last year exported over 100,000 tonnes of construction aggregates and agricultural limestone supplied by our quarry at Marsden.
"This double contract win is a great opportunity for us to reinforce our position as a quality main contractor and build upon our growing portfolio of projects in Tyne and Wear."