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Ports success is backed by VIP visit.

THE Government's Secretary of State for Transport has applauded the success of Teesside's port operations.

The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin visited Teesport yesterday as part of a two-day tour of the region.

Bosses showed him the port's new steel slab handling operations for SSI UK, which are nearing their two millionth tonne milestone - and a PS16.7m infrastructure upgrade to the container terminal.

Mr McLoughlin said: "The port operations are very impressive, and future plans will make it even more competitive.

"It's been very successful at winning RGF money - it's an important part of our huge transport infrastructure.

"Particularly with what's been happening in the last week, the traceability of goods and people being sure of where they come from is very important."

Chief executive of port owner PD Ports, David Robinson, also outlined the commercial and environmental benefits of Teesport in a "portcentric" distribution approach - where imported goods are sorted at or near their port of entry, cutting handling costs, road miles and emissions.

Mr Robinson said: "Long-term, we got the message across that Teesside is very much open for business and this part of the UK is pushing forward with investment plans.

"This is one of the first ports the Secretary of State has visited in his new role - that's a big tick in the box for us."

The visit underlined the importance that Teesport has in the local economy, added Conservative MP for Stockton South James Wharton.

"It wasn't many years ago we thought we would lose steel manufacturing, now with the investment SSI has made, there's real reason to be positive about the future."

Mr McLoughlin also visited Wynyard Park, and the new 840,000 sqft supercentre operated by Clipper.

TOMORROW: What Patrick McLoughlin says about the future of Tees Valley Metro

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PRAISE: Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin applauded the work of Teesside's port operations. Seen here with PD Ports' chief executive David Robinson
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Feb 19, 2013
Words:319
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