Sir Ian Wrigglesworth, chairman of the Port of Tyne, reflected on a successful 2007 and an equally eventful 2008 to a packed audience of regional representatives at the port's annual review – Insight – in the Great Hall of Jesmond Dene House.
A host of prominent business partners together with members of the region's local strategic partnerships attended the annual Insight meeting which reviewed the Port's performance during 2007 and briefly overviewed progress in 2008.
Business at the port remains buoyant. Turnover increased by £3,087,000, and trade was up by 641,000 tonnes. Cash generation was up £4,509,000, but offset against this is an increase in capital expenditure and financial investment of £6,821,000.
Broken down, the figures show conventional, general and RoRo freight tonnages up by 228,000 tonnes; rail terminal traffic up by 361,000 tonnes, vehicles up by 52,000 and containers up by 9,000 units. And while the port's cruise operations in 2007 were up by 40%, ferry passenger numbers were down, a result of continued heavy competition with low cost airlines.
The INSIGHT annual review was first held last year as a means of getting together with customers, business partners, and regional policy makers to present the port's business performance. Port of Tyne Interim Managing Director, Mike Davison, says “The port has a lot to communicate to all of its stakeholders and Insight provides a unique opportunity for them to learn more about the port's business divisions and plans for the year ahead. We think of Insight as our AGM.”
Matthew Hunt Commercial Manager in describing the port's commercial diversity said he believed that listening to customers and providing what they need was key to the port's success in maintaining a competitive edge. He said: “Our unprecedented level of growth is testimony to the success of partnership working involving stakeholders in the supply chain.” The port's phenomenal growth in coal handling is evidence of the success of this approach.
Harbour Master Mike Nicolson injected some humour into his presentation when pointing out that while the region might not have the attractions of the great pyramids at Giza it did have some lovely cheese, referring to the Taste of Northumberland welcome the port organised for the maiden voyage of the Eurodam on 11th July, when passengers were given the opportunity to not only visit the region but to taste it.
“There has been a port on the river Tyne going back into pre-history and our continuing aim is to create a vibrant and sustainable port well into the future” says Mike Davison, adding that
“Much of the success of the Port of Tyne is down to its people and their commitment to getting the job done. Communication is the key to success. Matthew described the diversity of our commercial activity, and as it is not always physically possible to get everyone together in one place, we have this year filmed Insight and all of our employees will receive a DVD of the proceedings.”
Next year, the port is planning to move the Insight review to April. Please contact Jennifer Dunn, Marketing and Communications Manager, if you wish to be included in the guest list or would like more information about the Port of Tyne's business services.