End of an Era

End of an Era

2021 Marks the end of an era with the very last shipment of coal leaving the Port of Tyne.

Coal was from medieval times the lifeblood of industry and a key part of life in the North East. After the 1980s miners’ strike, 156 collieries closed nationwide, some merged… only to be axed as ‘uneconomic’. The last North East deep mine closed in 2005.

Coal was King and it fuelled industries like steel and heavy engineering, railways and domestic heating.  At its peak in 1913, the Great North Coalfield employed almost 250,000 men, producing over 56 million tons of coal every year from about 400 pits.  The North East produced 25% of Britain’s coal in 1913, and the nation was heavily dependent on ‘black gold’

The term ‘carrying coals to Newcastle’ could have been invented specifically for the Port of Tyne, as it handled the majority of coal exports from the local mines in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the sixty years from 1952 to 2012,

The Port has changed and diversified, handling all manner of goods for import and export, along with modern passenger facilities, to become a thriving business serving the North East.

It is an exciting time in the Port of Tyne today, with so much going on, It is building new business partnerships and has recently launched the Tyne Clean Energy Park, boosting the North East’s renewables infrastructure.  The Region’s ‘most versatile’ clean energy park, Tyne Clean Energy Park provides a unique co-location for the renewables sector with unrestricted, 24/7 marine access.

Offshore: The Port is ‘offshore wind ready’ and is the site of the operations and maintenance base for the biggest wind farm in the world, Dogger Bank. The Tyne also houses an extensive offshore supply base and has partnerships with a number of colleges and universities in the region.

Automotive: The Port is the UK’s second largest car exporter with customers including Nissan and VW. It has a solid reputation in the automotive world. It handles around 600,000 cars a year, as well as vans, trucks, mining, and construction equipment and even train carriages.

Dry Bulk Cargoes:
Aggregates, agribulks, chemicals, coal, scrap metal…“Cranes, grabs, hoppers, loading shovels, weighers, conveyor belts, rail links…etc., The Port handles millions of tonnes of bulk cargoes every year. It is also been recognised as an industry pioneer and leader in handling the relatively new cargo of wood pellet.”

LIQUID BULK: Liquid bulks are handled at the Port of Tyne by Exolum Terminals Ltd, one of the largest independent bulk liquid storage providers in Northern Europe. “We work closely with Exolum to provide all of the practical, marine and safety support the company needs”.“Exolum has 62 tanks at its Tyne Terminal, ranging in capacity from 56m2 to 6,000m2. There are specialist tank types to meet the particular needs of different contracts and customers.

Containers: The Port has a dedicated container terminal capable of handling 100,000 TEU per annum with regular European feeder services.

The Port has long term contracts with major tea giants and handles thousands of tonnes of tea per year.  The Port also works very closely with the famous (local)  International clothes firm Barbour, and the heavy machinery manufacturer Komatsu this demonstrates the diversity and range of cargoes handled by the Port.

In way of contrast and for interest take a look at the Port of Tyne back in the year 1965, link suggested by Phil Work TASC Member (Treasurer)  We are grateful to Yorkshire Film Archive for permission to link this film.)

PORT OF TYNE | Yorkshire Film Archive (yfanefa.com)