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port of sunderland

Sunderland...the city surrounding the port

Cllr WatsonSunderland is a city with a great commercial and cultural heritage. The largest city between Edinburgh and Leeds, it boasts a superb location on the north east coast of England and has a population of almost 300,000 people. This is a population that’s becoming increasingly cosmopolitan, with more than 60 nationalities represented in the community and over 30 languages spoken in the city’s schools.

The aspirations and needs of the people of Sunderland are being met through a series of exciting regeneration initiatives and successful endeavours to encourage large scale inward investment.

Councillor Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council comments - “In a single 18 month period almost £400 million of government funding has been pledged to help realise a broad range of visionary schemes across Sunderland. Public investment has been sought for a new Wear bridge – planned to be the tallest in England – and for new schools and academies, housing programmes, leisure facilities and other schemes which will serve to increase the city’s social, economic and environmental well-being.

“Sunderland is also a prime location for businesses of all sectors. As well as a skilled and adaptable workforce, the city boasts an economy regenerated in recent years with significant international investment. In tandem we have seen the city’s prestigious business parks – currently occupying over 100 hectares of space - act as a catalyst for the establishment of information-technology based industries which have helped Sunderland gain recognition as one of the most IT-intelligent communities in the world.”

Recognising that Sunderland is one of the UK’s most competitive business locations, companies continue to invest and re-invest in the city.

In a five-year period Sunderland has attracted around 7,500 new jobs and investment totalling £1.2 billion. This includes more than 1,500 jobs secured during 2008-2009, most of this in the form of re-investments by companies already located here.

Around 60 international inward investment projects originating in a dozen different countries have chosen to locate in Sunderland. Together they employ 17,500 people. Foreign Direct Investment now accounts for around 15% of all employment in the city. Significantly, around two-thirds of the jobs attracted through overseas investment are in the manufacturing sector.

The city, which is listed as one of the top five greenest cities in the UK, is also at the forefront of initiatives that have a vital role in accelerating the growth of low carbon industries. Sunderland is situated in one of the UK’s first Low Carbon Economic Areas. With a focus on supporting the transformation of the automotive sector, including support for innovation and skills training, the LCEA will build upon developments at Sunderland’s major Nissan plant and at theTanfield Group - a successful producer of battery-powered commercial vehicles.

The UK Government sees the development of low carbon vehicles as a step towards achieving its targets for reducing carbon emissions; Sunderland will be the home for Nissan’s European Centre of Excellence for Battery Manufacturing, with £200 million of new investment at the plant planned over five years. The city is also one of nine that will benefit from a ‘joined cities plan’ for the creation of a network of plug-in charging points destined to be rolled out across the UK.

Offshore wind farms have the potential to meet a large proportion of the UK’s renewable energy requirements - as well as presenting opportunities for the development of new industries engaged in manufacturing, installing and maintaining the turbines. With its combination of extensive port facilities and production sites, companies with a readily-available range of competencies and a skilled local workforce, Sunderland is ideally located to play a leading role in this emerging ‘offshore energy’ sector. In addition, public agencies are fully committed to supporting the development of low carbon technologies in Sunderland.

In parallel it is also interesting to note that the first wind farm within the global Nissan Group, established at the Sunderland plant in 2005, has already generated energy savings of almost £1 million per annum.

Commenting on the city’s international connections, Cllr Watson continues - “Sunderland also enjoys active links with its European twin towns Essen and Saint-Nazaire and has strong Friendship Agreements with Washington DC and with Harbin, a city of almost 10 million people in north east China, to develop economic, educational and cultural benefits.

“These are all hallmarks of a city that is strongly focused to compete nationally and internationally, with a workforce equipped with the skills and capabilities to meet the needs of employers operating within a global context.

“The Port of Sunderland’s competitive spirit reflects our ambitions for the city. Through the development of resources to encourage trade from overseas, it is helping to raise our global profile as a key destination for inward investment and commercial growth.”

If you would like to find out more about the exciting developments taking place in Sunderland, click on the home page logo ‘Sunderland City Council’ to enter the council’s website. Visiting the Sunderland Directory on the main menu will give you access to ‘Business’ pages providing details on Economic Development, Business Success and Business Support amongst other topics of interest  to potential and current investors.

Awards and accreditations


The Port of Sunderland is certified by Product Authentication International (PAI) as complying with the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) Trade Assurance Scheme for Combinable Crops (TASCC), in respect of storage and in-house testing of combinable crops and dry feed materials/ingredients.

ISO Logo

Investor in People

As a Sunderland City Council service the Port of Sunderland holds Investors in People status, achieved by the council in 2004.

Investors in People

British Ports Association

The port is a member of the British Ports Association