The Port of Tyne is to undergo a major expansion of its infrastructure capacity with a £180m investment in the south bank estate.
New infrastructure for handling, storage and transportation facilities for the imports of wood pellet, and to extend the main Riverside Quay at Tyne Dock, are to be developed.
The Riverside Quay is also to have its multi-functional birth extended by 100 metres.
Associated quay and rail infrastructure will also be expanded, creating 900 construction jobs and 300 full-time operational jobs.
The process of finding an investment partner is “well underway”, with discussions being held with a number of interested parties.
The upgrade will represent the biggest investment ever made in the port, and follow from the strategic land acquisition of several sites in 2012.
A new £6m gantry crane is also to be delivered later in the year.
Further expansion plans are under consideration, including offshore engineering facilities, office buildings and environmental improvements to provide a buffer between the industrial park and town centre.
There are also plans to expand a site in the North East LEP Enterprise Zone on the north bank, including a large offshore wind farm.
“It is in renewable energy where we see the next major area of growth for us,” said Andrew Moffat, the Port of Tyne’s chief executive officer.
“These are very significant plans for the Port of Tyne which are imperative for both the Sustainability of the Port and the future delivery of the Government’s carbon reduction targets.”
Cllr Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, commented: “This will further strengthen South Tyneside’s position as a key player in the renewables and green energy industries, as well as creating new jobs in the borough and the wider North East.
“The Council is making major investments to attract new jobs to the borough and to transform our town centres, and this development will complement those initiatives.”