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The North East port saw operating profits more than double as key developments boost income

A North East port has bucked the national trend to post record turnover in 2015.

While many other ports nationally and locally have suffered due to slumps in the steel, offshore and coal markets, Port of Blyth saw its turnover increase 11% to £19.8m, with operating profits more than doubling to £1.4m.

The Port, which is preparing for the Tall Ships Regatta this summer, saw the volume of cargo it handles increase from 1.7m tonnes to 1.9m.

Port bosses said the key driver of its growth had been a doubling in turnover of energy sector related trade, supported by its success in attracting unitised, breakbulk and dry bulk cargoes.

The completion of a marine fuel terminal in 2015 saw the introduction of liquid bulks movement at Blyth for the first time.

Chief executive Martin Lawlor said: “We’re delighted to announce another set of record results across the group, driven by the primary port operating business’ best financial results to date and a strong performance across all trade sectors.”

The port, which employs around 120 people directly with another 50 contractors generally on site, has developed a logistics wing called Transped and has also carved out a niche as a training provider for ports around the country.

It also welcomed IHC Engineering and Colas as new tenants during 2015.

The port’s role in the community was highlighted with the first phase of the Blyth Education and Community Hub (BEACH) project and the opening of a restaurant, heritage centre and marine sciences facility. The second phase of the project, which involves a new training and water sports centre, is likely to be completed this summer.

The port is also looking to developed its underused Bates Terminal and improve links to the Wimbourne Quay, using part of its land that has been granted Enterprise Zone Status.

Incoming Port of Blyth chairman Geoff Hodgson said: “2015 has been record year for the Port of Blyth and by some distance. As a trust, the port’s on-going success will benefit our wider stakeholders and with a diverse trade base and numerous investments over the coming years, we expect to continue this growth in 2016 and beyond.”

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk...

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