Port of Tyne announces new contract with International Plywood

The Port of Tyne based at South Shields in North East England has announced a new commercial agreement with one of the UK’s leading importers of plywood.

In an initial three-year deal with Gloucestershire-based International Plywood, the Port of Tyne will provide office accommodation, cargo handling, covered storage and onward UK wide road distribution for timber products imported through the port. 

Ian Attwood, managing director for International Plywood, said:“International Plywood has been importing plywood and panel products for a quarter of a century. We are a family- owned company and in this extremely competitive market, we pride ourselves on always striving to achieve value for money for our customers.

“The Port of Tyne offers exceptional value and customer service with an excellent location providing unrivalled connectivity via road networks.”

Multi-geared break-bulk vessels will import plywood and other timber products to the Port of Tyne from the Baltics and as far afield as South East Asia and South America.

Nolan Gray, business development director for the Port of Tyne, said: “The Port of Tyne is unique in its ability to not only manage break-bulk of non-containerized cargo but to also handle containerized products, storage and distribution providing optimal customer service.

“The port’s ability to handle larger vessels presents not only

greater economies of scale for International Plywood as larger volumes can be handled per shipment but it also creates a positive environmental benefit.”

Stuart Watts, director for International Plywood, said: “Working with the Port of Tyne offers the ability to maximize the potential by creating a northern hub with an office based at the port allowing International Plywood to firmly establish ourselves as one of the UK’s leading independent suppliers of plywood and sheet materials.”

International Plywood has experienced significant growth in the last decade, reporting £130m turnover in 2014. The business supplies products to leading building merchants, housebuilders and various other UK markets.

The Port of Tyne is one of the UK’s major deep-sea ports — a vital trading gateway to world-wide markets.

Operating five business areas including bulk and conventional cargo, car terminals, cruise and ferry, logistics and a commercial property portfolio.  
Cleveland Cascades Ltd reports strong growth in 2015  


Despite a challenging year for the Global Dry Bulk market, Cleveland Cascades enjoyed strong growth in 2015. “Our sales in Europe and North America held up well in 2015, but it was sales to the Middle East and South America which moved ahead very well,” says Managing Director Matthew Barnard. “Our traditional strength in Cascade Chutes in to ship and silo loading grew nicely, but it is great to see sales of our conventional style free fall chutes move ahead after investment in new product development in recent years.”

Cleveland Cascades is a specialist in the design and manufacture of bespoke dry bulk loading chutes. Based in the North East of England, the company has built up a large population of systems, working in bulk handling facilities worldwide.  


The company is best known for the Cascade controlled flow technology chute, which uses a series of inclined cones, inside a retractable cover, to control dust pollution at source, while at the same time minimizing both material degradation and stockpile segregation. This technology has established the company as a leading global force in ship and silo loading chutes.

The company’s experience and expertise in Cascade chutes has been transferred to Conventional Free Fall chutes in recent years. The investment has enabled the launch of both Free Fall Cone and Tube Chutes. The Cone system utilizes a series of vertical cones suspended from chains or strops, allowing the material to fall vertically to the pile. The Tube System uses of a series of telescoping concentric tubes which remains rigid and is ideally suited to applications which require Trimming Spouts or Jet Slinger devices. The Free Fall Chutes have applications in tanker loading, vehicle loading as well as ship and silo loading. Cleveland Cascades has developed a worldwide reputation for quality, well-engineered, robust, high performance chutes, backed up by excellent customer service and global lifetime product support.

The company prides itself on a strong product support package throughout the lifetime of the product, wherever in the world the chute is installed. Factory trained engineers are experienced installing chutes in dry bulk applications across the globe from Europe to the Middle East, in North or South America or from Africa to Asia and Australia. Manuals are detailed and comprehensive to give operators the information they need to maintain the product and maximize its operational safety and efficiency. Original spare parts are offered either from stock, or can be made to order in the production facility. All parts are available but especially electrical components and other important replacement items, such as strops, shrouds and cones. 


“The strength of the company is based on our ability to offer a bespoke engineered solution to meet the exact requirements of each application, rather than a list of standard chute models to choose from,” Barnard continues.

Based on a comprehensive list of key performance criteria, Cleveland Cascades offer a design to suit precisely the material being handled and the site where the chute will work. Offers take in to consideration the interface with existing loading systems along with the electrical specification and other requirements in situ.

The core design is built from a number of different elements, which are proven in demanding applications around the world.The core design can be further upgraded by choosing from a wide range of options, to achieve the specification which ideally suits the application.

This business model has strong appeal to a wide range of companies in the global dry bulk industry from end users such as ports and quarries to major engineering groups who integrate the Cleveland Cascade chute in to their fully integrated conveyor systems.  
First SWATH reference for ServoTrim, Servowatch’s new trim & draught optimizer  

Servowatch, the marine systems integrator and automation specialist, has introduced a new trim and draught stability optimizer, ServoTrim, designed specifically to ‘balance the draught’ of SWATH (Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull) vessels.

The first ServoTrim system will be delivered to a Taiwanese shipyard for an Ad Hoc Marine designed 26m wind farm supply vessel under construction for a UK- based operator.

Wayne Ross, Chief Executive Officer, Servowatch, said: “The need to calculate ship trim and draught is one of the most important measurements operators take to ensure vessel stability and safety. ServoTrim is designed to control a balanced draught for a vessel, providing automatic flow control after manual trim has been set.

The ServoTrim installation for the SWATH wind farm supply vessel has been purpose built for a four ballast tank configuration, with each tank fitted with a single sensor to provide concurrent tank, pump and valve status monitoring. Draught sensors are sited at each ‘corner’ of the vessel.

“Other types of vessels can benefit from ServoTrim,” said Servowatch Systems’ Sales Director Martyn Dickinson. “It can be easily applied to inland waterway barges and heavy lift platforms. Certainly situations may exist where the platform needs a dedicated system which can provide a draught and trim correction function to counter uneven weight distribution.”

ServoTrim employs high-accuracy hydrostatic level transmitters to measure ballast tank levels and provide multi- port draught indications. To protect the sensors from external moisture, they are encased in IP68 and IP69K standard stainless steel housing.


When the Servowatch ServoTrim system has been activated, the operator sets the trim ‘datum point’ when the vessel is at rest after the loading of fuel, commodities and personnel is complete. This is achieved by loading, discharging, or transferring ballast until the optimum trim condition is obtained.  

The ballasting data is stored within the memory functions of the control system for the continued automatic control of ballast distribution. The control system takes its reference signal from four draught sensors, typically mounted within a vented pipe within the vessel structure.

Each ballast tank is equipped with a high resolution level sensor which is used to determine the quantity of water in each ballast tank.When the ‘automatic’ mode function is selected by the operator, the ballast tank content and draught data is used to form the datum point for each ballast tank and preferred trim condition.

The system automatically controls the ballast water level in each tank to maintain the vessel’s selected ‘preferred trim condition. It automatically checks and maintains the vessel trim every 10 minutes by comparing the live draught level values with the pre-set preferred condition, and responding with the required ballast adjustments.  
Another positive year for the five ports of ABP South Wales  

ABP’s network of five ports in South Wales handled more than 12.5mt (million tonnes) of cargo in 2015 and launched an array of renewable energy projects and significant new investments.

The 12.5 million tonnes of cargo that passed through the ports included a variety of both traditional and emerging sectors.The import and export of steel remains strong at the ports with Newport holding the title of the UK’s second-largest steel handling port.

Sectors that have seen the most growth include the animal feed and fertilizer industry which has seen the ports adapt to accommodate these businesses and support local agriculture. The timber sector also generated noteworthy volumes of cargo.

The Port of Swansea also showcased its versatility and skills with the handling of wind turbine components for the Pen y Cymoedd wind energy project that will continue until spring of this year. On completion, this is due to be the biggest onshore wind farm in Wales and England.

A series of renewable energy projects has seen the ports move towards further energy self-sufficiency. Heavy investment has resulted in several wind and solar projects that collectively generated 7.8 million units of electricity in 2015.

Projects include the 4.5MWp Barry solar array that was commissioned in August 2015 and officially opened by Alun Cairns MP and Jane Hutt AM. The solar project was the result of an investment of over £5 million by ABP.

Further electricity was generated by the 2.3MW wind turbine at the port of Newport, and a series of 250kW rooftop solar projects. The ports are also currently trialling the use of electric vehicles.

These projects serve to reduce the amount of carbon emissions produced by the ports with the energy generated used to power port operations. Any surplus energy is then exported to the national grid.

An additional £4 million was invested in new cargo handling  equipment and operational equipment at the ports, including the purchase of a mobile harbour crane and the installation of a new fertilizer bagging line at the Port of Swansea.

This growth has resulted in the permanent workforce at the ports increasing. The operations department has grown by 10% to accommodate customer demand.

As well as welcoming a wide variety of businesses through the lock gates, the ports also serve as a hub for many customers due to their strong network of transport links via road, rail, and sea.

In April 2015 Travis Perkins opened a major distribution centre at ABP Cardiff which represented an investment of £5 million by ABP. This facility resulted in the creation of 100 jobs and is a great example of what ABP’s unique logistical network of ports in South Wales can offer customers.

ABP Director South Wales, Matthew Kennerley, is pleased with the developments across the five ports over the past year.

He said:“Investments throughout 2015 have allowed us to further develop a service tailored to our customer’s needs.The ports continue to be a thriving and unique landscape where businesses can grow and generate strong trade links. We have further investments planned for 2016 that encompass a wide range of port activity.

“The result of ABP’s South Wales operations is an annual contribution of almost £1 billion to the Welsh economy. The vast assortment of businesses that use the ports also means that 15,000 Welsh jobs are supported by them along with an additional 6,000 supported in the rest of the UK.” 

Port of Tilbury set for expansion following major land acquisition  

Forth Ports has entered into an agreement to purchase 152 acres of land, including a further deep water jetty, close to the East of the Port of Tilbury in Essex. The acquisition price is not being disclosed, however it is expected that at least £100m will be invested in infrastructure and facilities on the land.

The land purchased is part of the former
Tilbury Power Station owned by RWE which
closed in 2013 and is currently being decommissioned. The port has taken ownership of part of the 152-acre site, with the remainder to be handed over following the completion of the demolition process.

This land acquisition brings the total port acreage to 1,100 acres and Forth Ports intends to use this land to extend its current operations with the creation of a new port, to grow to meet the needs of their customers and market demands. It is the intention of Forth Ports for the new port facility to be connected to the national rail and road networks. The port will lodge the relevant planning applications in due course.

Charles Hammond, Chief Executive of Forth Ports, said: “This is a significant land acquisition for the Port of Tilbury. As London’s major port, it is a key resource for companies who need to access London and the South East of England. We are acquiring this additional land to extend the port in response to increasing demand from customers who are seeking additional capacity within the port.

“We have an ambitious growth plan for the Port of Tilbury and this land deal will complement our other development projects at the port including the growth of London Distribution

Park and the opening this year of the UK’s largest port-based chill store, operated by our partners NFT.”

Steve Boughton, Head of Business Development UK for RWE, said: “RWE has a proud connection with the Tilbury Power Station site, having generated electricity there for millions of homes for over 46 years. Following its closure in 2013, we are delighted to have sold part of the site to the Port of Tilbury which we believe offers a fantastic opportunity for businesses and employment in the local area and beyond. We will continue to work closely with the port over the coming months while demolition of some buildings take place. We wish the port every success for its future plans.”

The Port of London Authority Chief Executive, Robin Mortimer, said:“This is a really important development. The former power station site offers a fantastic deep water berth and the land is ideal for the port centric logistics in which Tilbury specializes. It’s all part of a picture of growing trade on the Thames, which we are actively supporting through the Thames Vision project.”


The Port of Tilbury is London's major port, providing fast, modern distribution services for the benefit of the South East of England and beyond.The Port of Tilbury is a dynamic and diverse port, handling the full range of cargoes with specialist expertise in the handling of paper and forest products, containers, Ro Ro, grain and bulk commodities and construction and building materials.