The port of Tyne, Europe’s biggest handler of wood pellets, announced plans to invest £180 million ($283 million) in additional facilities to handle, store and distribute imports for the UK’s power plants.
The port in northeast England, which has capacity for 1.4 million metric tons of wood pellets annually, said it is currently seeking a partner for its largest-ever investment.
The port, which currently imports wood pellets from the U.S. and Canada for a nearby power plant, said it is talking with existing and new customers about the planned new facilities.
Construction, which requires planning permission, is expected to begin in mid-2013, and the new facilities could be operational by the end of 2014.
Once famous as an exporter, and then importer, of coal, the port has been focusing on increasing its presence in other cargo sectors, including renewable energy, such as biomass and offshore wind.
The port has built up other cargo sectors, establishing the UK’s biggest car export operation, a container terminal and a cruise liner and ferry business.
Tyne also announced a $9.5 million purchase of a gantry crane for its container terminal; the crane will be delivered later in the year.