In its latest Annual Report Port of Tyne reveals a strong trading performance and major developments towards a greener future.

During its 2023 financial year, significant growth saw the Port’s turnover increase by 15 per cent to £55.3m, adjusted profit before tax rise by 86 per cent to £2.6m and EBITDA grow by 45 per cent to £13.9m.

The Port continues to be a major economic contributor to the region, with ARUP’s Economic Impact Assessment indicating the Port added over £720 million in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the North East in 2023, up by four per cent year-on-year.

Matt Beeton, Port of Tyne CEO, said: “Five years ago, the Port introduced its strategy for change and its vision for the future. Tyne 2050 continues to act as a foundation as we modernise our outlook and our assets.

"It underpins our efforts to decarbonise, digitise and innovate across the business and, in that context, the year saw many milestones achieved. We are really seeing the benefits of this transformation and we remain excited about the huge opportunities ahead.

“We are making great progress in our journey to becoming a cleaner and smarter port but it goes without saying that it is our fantastic team of colleagues who are at the heart of the Port and who go above and beyond every day to make a difference.

"As well as the many businesses who choose to partner with the Port and share our ethos for continuous improvement and innovation.

"Backed by strong finance and an ongoing programme of investment and improvement we are well placed as a Port, and as a region, to make headway in critical markets for generations to come.”

Key factors to the year of growth included increased activity at the Port’s passenger terminal, from which DFDS operates a daily ferry service to Ijmuiden near Amsterdam (now in its 19th year), as well as a record number of international cruises (61, up from 32 in 2022) welcoming 710,000 passengers. A rise in the number of cars imported and exported, working with global manufacturers including Nissan, saw the transport of 366,000 vehicles (up from 252,000 in 2022).

Successful partnerships were maintained, with both Drax (the UK’s largest renewable power generator by output) and EMR (metal recycling) extending their contracts into the coming years. A new relationship was formed with Van Oord, which will use the Port’s Tyne Clean Energy Park as a storage and marshalling base for the foundations of its 100-turbine Sofia Offshore Wind Farm currently being built in the North Sea. 

The Annual Report was launched at a stakeholder event at Gateshead’s BALTIC, with updates from the Port’s chair Lucy Armstrong, Matt Beeton and CFO Mark Stoner.

The Port also reported several nationally and internationally significant milestones in 2023, including supporting the world’s largest wind farm, Dogger Bank, to draw and export clean energy for the first time.

The Port also became the first British major trust port to agree a £100m refinancing agreement with the UK Infrastructure Bank, Pricoa Private Capital and Lloyds Bank, which further strengthened its focus on green energy and smart logistics.

The recent completion of the Port’s site-wide private 5G network is also a UK first, having partnered with BT and South Tyneside Council to install 5G cameras and IoT sensors to inspect the Port estate, improving efficiency and reducing fuel usage.

Port of Tyne is one of the UK’s biggest trust ports, a form of governance in which it acts as a custodian of the River Tyne and its assets for the benefit of current and future generations.

The trust port status and ambition to champion the region led to the inception of multiple new initiatives in 2023, including the introduction of a new ‘Venture Connect’ programme, which connects SMEs in the North East with investors, business coaches, and mentors. The Port is also working with a regional partner to develop a ‘Skills for the North’ programme in support of the regional Skills Improvement Plans.

These new partnerships build on an existing portfolio of programmes like the Community Action Fund.

Lucy Armstrong, Port of Tyne Chair, said: “We are immensely proud of our continued partnership with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, who manage the Port’s Community Action Fund on our behalf. In 2023 our Fund passed a very significant milestone, having made £500,000 of grants since it was established to over 150 grassroots organisations.”

Part of the Port’s largest investment programme in a decade has included turning an old coal yard into a modern, fit-for-purpose infrastructure at Tyne Renewables Quay. This new asset now sits at the heart of the 200-acre Tyne Clean Energy Park. Other major investments included the launch of a next-generation VTS (Vessel Traffic Services) system to deliver improvements in navigational safety, security, efficiency and environmental protection.

Port of Tyne is also making progress towards its Net Zero target and reduced its energy consumption and CO2 emissions by a further 10 per cent respectively last year. These improvements are in part thanks to the arrival of the Port’s second fuel hybrid harbour crane and existing fleet and equipment being replaced by electric vehicles, or vehicles powered by biofuel or sustainably sourced hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO).