A RECORD-BREAKING port aims to use the offshore energy sector’s momentum to bring more business to the region.

The Port of Tyne says it is talking to an international firm, focused on wind turbine production, which could see it set up a North-East base.

Bosses are also pushing on with £180m plans to build warehouses for storing thousands of wood pellets for the renewables market, and hope to provide an update by the end of the year.

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Andrew Moffat, chief executive, said Siemens’ decision to build a £160m turbine factory on the River Humber was evidence companies were looking to the North.

The port, in South Shields, South Tyneside, yesterday revealed record cargo volumes and turnover for a fifth consecutive year, with cargo increasing to 8.1 million tonnes in 2013 and turnover at £73m.

It oversees deliveries for Nissan, South Shields wax jacket maker Barbour, and tea firm Tetley, which has a factory in Eaglescliffe, near Stockton, as well as imports of coal from Russia and the US.

He said: “For the last few years, there has always been the view that demand for coal will reduce.

“That’s why the offshore sector is very important to us, the region and the River Tyne.

“We have been speaking to an international company, who have looked around and said that, if they come to the UK, they will come here.

“Offshore in its broadest terms is something that we have to look to exploit going forward.”

Mr Moffat confirmed the port was also speaking to potential customers over its wood pellet plans, which it says could create 300 full-time jobs and support 900 construction jobs.

He added: “We have got a broad business portfolio and the port is now larger and more sustainable.”