PD Ports has celebrated the opening of a new state-of-the-art Harbour Office on the River Tees – described as the equivalent of an air traffic control tower – located next to Middlesbrough’s Transporter Bridge.
The new Harbour Office has been opened on the site of the former Marine Fire Station after relocating from Teesport to make way for MGT’s £650m Tees Renewable Energy Plant.
Classed as the nerve centre for the river Tees’ operations, the Harbour Office controls the movement of over 4,300 vessels a year, managing all traffic on the 12 miles under PD Ports’ jurisdiction as statutory harbour authority, including those going in and out of Teesport.
The Harbour Office had stood in its previous location further downstream since the 1970s but has relocated to make way for conveyors that will carry wood pellets and chips – the raw materials of the new MGT Teesside Power Plant – from the Port to the new facility.
The new centre, home to Harbour Master Paul Brooks and his team, was officially opened by MGT Teesside’s chief executive officer, Ben Elsworth, at a ceremony attended by representatives of PD Ports, stakeholders and contractors who had worked on the project.
Describing it as “a most impressive building”, Jerry Hopkinson, PD Ports’ chief operating officer and vice-chairman, pictured above (left) with Mr Elsworth, said the Harbour Office controls all shipping movements ensuring safe passage along the river Tees, in a similar way that an air traffic control tower does with incoming and outgoing flights at an airport.
Explaining the reason why Mr Elsworth had been chosen to open the new building, Mr Hopkinson said: “We first started to talk to MGT about 10 years ago when Ben told us about their plans for a 299mwt biomass power station.
“We were staggered by the vision and potential of what they were trying to achieve. There have been ups and downs, setbacks and successes along the way, but the MGT plant is now acting as a catalyst to further reignite our business.”
“This move is symbolic as it represents the huge changes taking place across the industrial landscape of the Tees Valley and the major inward investments projects that are in the process of shaping the future of our region; creating thousands of jobs and driving economic growth.”