January 20 - The Port of Tyne has appointed a contractor to undertake the GBP25 million (USD37.87 million) extension of the Riverside Quay - the gateway's deep-sea facility at South Shields.

The contract includes the construction of a 125 m quay extension with a load capacity of 10 tonnes per sq m, an upgrade of 118 m of the existing quayside, and 90 m of quay wall renewal. Tyneside-based Southbay Civil Engineering will undertake the works.

In total 240 steel piles up to 33 m long and weighing up to 21 tonnes each will be needed to support the new quay and will be driven into the river bed over the course of the project.

This development is required to support the growth in cargo volumes being handled by the Port of Tyne, including the relatively new wood pellet imports used by power stations as they convert from coal to renewable fuels, said the port.

Andrew Moffat, Port of Tyne chief executive officer, said: "On the back of growth in volumes over the past few years we are investing in new infrastructure to make sure the Port is able to meet the needs of both our existing and our future customers.

"This is the biggest single investment we have made since we built Europe's first purpose-built wood pellet facilities back in 2010 and it will significantly increase the port's capacity to handle increased volumes of cargoes. Extending the length of the quay will increase the berthing capacity by almost 20 percent enabling up to four large cargo ships to berth simultaneously."