A NORTH-EAST port, which is the UK's largest car exporter, has been rewarded for its vessel management.

The Port of Tyne, in South Shields, South Tyneside, is one of only three UK ports, and the 12th organisation globally, to achieve the International Standard for Maritime Pilot Organisations (IPSO) accolade for its marine pilotage service.

The port's ten pilots are responsible for helping the navigation of about 5,000 vessels every year, with the award reflecting pilots' compliance with the port marine safety code.

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Mike Nicholson, Port of Tyne harbour master, said: “The pilots demonstrate the highest level of ship handling skills, providing critical knowledge of navigation within the port.

“Before the development of ISPO, there was no mechanism for pilots to show they were operating to an internationally agreed standard, but the port is now one of the world leaders in this field.”

The Port of Tyne oversees deliveries for Sunderland carmaker Nissan, South Shields-based wax jacket maker Barbour, and tea firm Ringtons and Tetley, which has a factory in Eaglescliffe, near Stockton.

Earlier this year, port bosses revealed £180m plans to create 300 full-time jobs by building warehouses to store thousands of tonnes of wood pellets for the renewable energy market.