PD Ports is one of the UK’s major port groups. Its main operators of Teesport, the fifth largest port in the UK and the only major port in England to handle more exports than imports, supports 22,000 jobs and contributes £1.4 billion to the UK economy every year.

At the heart of all the fantastic news happening across the Tees Valley in recent months, PD Ports, in its role as Statutory Harbour Authority, is committed to ensuring the River Tees plays its full part in supporting the future growth of the region and the UK as a whole.

PD Ports was delighted to welcome both the Prime Minster, Boris Johnson, and the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to Teesport in early March in their only post-budget event following the announcement of Freeport status for Teesside just one day earlier.

As the Statutory Harbour Authority, PD Ports worked tirelessly to support the region’s Freeport bid, consulting with over 100 businesses and organisations to develop plans that will maximise the benefits a Freeport will bring. During the Prime Minister and Chancellor’s visit, PD Ports CEO, Frans Calje, thanked the Government for delivering an opportunity that could create up to 32,000 new jobs and add a further £2 billion to the region’s economy.

Frans said: “It was a privilege to welcome the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to Teesport and we are immensely grateful for the opportunity the Government has given us in awarding Freeport status. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Government to deliver the prosperity Teesside deserves.

“Freeport status will enable PD Ports to build on our successful track record of attracting new investment and creating new jobs across the region, with more people now employed by PD Ports than before the Closure of the SSI Steel plant in 2015.”

The Freeport development builds on PD Port’s track record of attracting over £1 billion of new investment to Teesside in the last 10 years and forms part of a new vision to make the River Tees the UK’s most successful port region by 2050. It also compliments a number of other exciting developments that will see PD Ports help to deliver a further £1 billion of investment within the next five years alone.

Presenting the port operators transformative vision to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, PD Ports’ Chief Operating Officer and Vice Chairman, highlighted the £185 million Northern Gateway Container Terminal development that will triple Teesport’s container handling capacity to meet rising demand for customers eager to reduce their reliance on congested ports in the south.

As well as offering more resilient and reliable links to international markets, the new terminal will also help reduce the distance that cargo travels on UK roads, delivering a significant reduction in CO2 emissions as PD Ports strives to play its part in achieving the Governments net zero target by 2050.

Long advocates for sustainability, PD Ports operate more direct daily rail connections to Scotland, out of Teesport, than any other port in the North of England, meaning the Port is already in a prime position to handle Northern-bound cargo efficiently and sustainably, having done so effectively since the implementation of its first Scottish service in 2015.

The well-established daily routes from Teesport to Mossend and Grangemouth have remained operational despite the challenges of the previous year, with PD Ports continuing to work closely with valued partners to find flexible solutions to suit peaks and troughs in demand throughout the multiple stages of the pandemic.

Also home to the most ambitious apprenticeship programme in the UK ports industry with 152 current and former apprentices working across the business, PD Ports introduced the Prime Minister and Chancellor to some of its Engineering apprentices on their recent trip to Teesport.

Currently celebrating its 20th year of supporting young people, PD Ports plans to recruit a further 30 apprentices in the coming months as it intensifies its efforts to help those most affected by the COVID19 crisis, demonstrated by the launch of Project Hope, PD Ports’ new initiative to further increase the support available for young people from the business community.