A NORTH-EAST port has welcomed its largest container vessel to mark the start of a Russian agreement.

The Port of Tyne, in South Shields, South Tyneside, is operating a service to St Petersburg.

The deal saw the 168-metre Calisto sail into the region, which became the largest container vessel to use the port's container terminal.

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Richard Newton, Port of Tyne's logistics commercial manager, said: "The port’s £6m investment in a second gantry crane has enabled this increase in business.

“The Calisto is almost 60 per cent longer than most container vessels visiting the port, and its capacity of 1,578 twenty feet equivalent size containers confirms the real potential to further grow the port’s container volumes.”

The Port of Tyne handles containers for a number of companies, including Sunderland car maker Nissan, clothing company Barbour, which has a factory in South Shields, and Tetley, which operates a teabag factory in Eaglescliffe, near Stockton.