July 30, 2020 @ 12:29 by Richard Dawson
Enabling works on a multi-million-pound programme to prepare Port of Sunderland for investment are now underway.
The port, which was granted Enterprise Zone (EZ) status in 2017, has embarked on a programme of engineering works to deliver improvements to its East Shore nine-acre development site.
The municipally owned port has appointed Esh Construction’s civil engineering division to undertake work on the East Shore phase of EZ infrastructure improvements.
£8.2 million has been made available through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for the project.
It is hoped that the works will make the port more attractive to potential investors and provide an incentive to those looking to establish a long-term operation there.
In addition to the development of East Shore, future works are planned on the port’s Hendon Sidings site, again with a view to attracting more inward investment.
Groundworks have started this month, with a substation and lighting expected to be installed within weeks.
Matthew Hunt, director at Port of Sunderland, said he was delighted to see work get underway on a part of the site he believes will quickly attract market interest
He said: “Over the last decade or so, we have been quietly building the port’s capacity, maximising its natural assets, making strategic land acquisitions that extend the footprint of the estate, and investing in equipment that makes us a yet-more capable port, able to meet a broader range of potential market demand.
“The result is a port that is well and truly established in the marketplace for the provision of port infrastructure and services.
“In addition to its port location our Enterprise Zone status brings with it the added incentive of enhanced capital allowances, and the infrastructure works we have commissioned Esh Construction to undertake will ensure that – combined with these benefits – the port is an even more attractive proposition for businesses looking for the right location.”
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, added: “Port of Sunderland is a real asset to the city. Historically, it was the economic heartbeat of Sunderland and with ongoing investment, it can once again play a pivotal role in the industrial strategy of this city.
“There is a head of steam building in Sunderland right now and our port is front and centre of that.
“We are – with the LEP’s backing – creating an environment at the port that appeals to private sector investors.”