OBSCURED by fencing, a line of locomotives stand idle.

Some carry SSI UK’s logo, others simply display the engine’s name.

Whatever their appearance, it is the immobility of the scarlet red machines that paints the picture.

Their presence is a sad reminder of the Redcar steelmaker’s demise, a gloomy legacy of a company besieged and beaten by low market prices and import competition.

The engines are in sidings at Teesport, sat in the shadows of SSI’s former plant by the port’s entrance road.

They once helped haul steel slab from SSI’s factory to ships for delivery to Thailand, Turkey, Germany and the US.

All they carry now are memories of a community rocked to its core, of jobs lost, of men and women, their lives woven into the fabric of the region’s steel sector, out of work.

The locos, isolated behind their metal boundary, are the perfect metaphor for those who claim the steel industry has been abandoned by the Government.

But their lingering presence also works to provide a sense of resurgence.

PD Ports was not immune to SSI’s failures.

The business’ Teesport site, the UK’s third largest port by volume, was the gateway for SSI’s slab.

Thousands of tonnes of slab still remain on the site while the Official Receiver, charged with putting SSI’s former site to a new use, continues his work.

SSI’s misery forced PD Port bosses to make a small number of redundancies, with about 50 further workers retrained to operate across other sections of the port.

The business was one of many snared by SSI’s failure.

David Robinson, PD Ports’ Group chief executive, acknowledges it was far from easy in the aftermath of SSI’s liquidation.

However, he is quick to point out the company has moved on, highlighting its £35m investment to improve its Number One quay to do so.

The engines may remain for the time being as an eye-catching prompt of one business’ struggles, but they do so at Teesport, a base that’s more than committed to growth.

Last week, phase two of the quay project was completed, with Lord Michael Heseltine adding his own shovel full of concrete and best wishes to the venture, which created and supported a number of local jobs.

The work, coming after 305 metres of loading space was re-built last year, means PD Ports, which also runs the Port of Hartlepool, now has in excess of 550-metres of quay and more than 15 metres of deep water at Teesport to house larger vessels, capable of carrying higher quantities of containers and bulk goods.

Bigger ships, says Mr Robinson, mean bigger cargos, and thus greater volumes of work.

But it could get even larger.

Energy operator MGT Power wants to build to a £650m factory, aimed at making the North-East a green energy capital, on Teesside.

Spanish engineer Abengoa and Japanese conglomerate Toshiba were previously appointed to construct the biomass site, which will be based next to Teesport.

Operated by MGT Teesside, a subsidiary of MGT Power, work could begin this year, with officials hopeful the plant could begin delivering energy to the National Grid for hundreds of thousands of homes by 2019.

That power is expected to come from burning wood chips and pellets, imported from Europe and the US, which is where PD Ports’ expertise will come in.

If MGT’s vision happens, the quayside could grow again and Teesport's vast River Tees estate, which provides employment for up to 1,500 people, thanks to partnerships with companies such as Asda, could get even bigger.

Starting an exclusive interview with The Northern Echo about MGT’s plans, Mr Robinson stressed SSI’s woes are not casting a dark shadow across the whole of the region.

He said: “We are not committed to it yet, but, if the MGT plans come through (there could be) opportunities to do that.

“The port sector is a competitive market, but this work on the quay will put us at the top of the tree.

“Ships are getting bigger and bigger, and not many ports have such deep water.

“We can get now get larger vessels in, we can get them carrying more cargo and we are well placed to secure new business because we have some of the deepest water facilities in the UK.

“The loss of SSI was a major blow and 30 per cent of our business.

“However, we are determined to bounce back and do that pretty quickly by creating a more diverse, stronger and sustainable business.

“We are never going to fill the gap with slab, but we can fill it with other cargo in two to three years, maybe even quicker.

“We have moved to implement our plans and retain our people for the future, and I have to say our workforce have been fantastic throughout.

“We are focusing on other areas, such as containers, and the quay investment is the very cornerstone of that.

“In the last five years, we have invested more than £80m at Teesport, developing, upgrading and enhancing capacity to meet the demands of customers.

“We need to ensure we can plan for, and respond to, the market and our customers, to consistently provide a platform that delivers first-class service.”

Mr Robinson said the quay project was led by civil engineers McLaughlin and Harvey, with backing from consultants Royal Haskoning DHV and Turner & Townsend, and supported about 100 construction jobs.

He added: “This type of investment will deliver the future and economic growth for generations to come.

“Our future is bright and it is in our hands.”