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The Port of Tyne celebrated another year of growth last night when it was named Tyneside & Northumberland Company of the Year.


The port, which has just revealed its highest cargo figures in more than 20 years, took the top prize at the nebusiness Awards which are organised by The Journal and the Evening Gazette on Teesside, in association with the North East Chamber of Commerce.

Investment of more than £120m over the last decade has seen a massive growth in cargo handled, with a 22% increase on 2011 figures and, at 6.5million tonnes, this represented the biggest volume of cargo handled since 1989.

It narrowly beat the two other finalists: North Shields-based Chirton Engineering, which has seen revenues increase by 80% and its workforce double over the last two years, and Express Engineering, a 40-year-old Gateshead business which is marking its anniversary with new growth plans this year.

The Port was among 80 finalists covering a wide range of sectors, including the smallest start-ups to some of the biggest industrial names in the North East. They epitomise the entrepreneurial drive, innovation, financial acumen and ambition that characterises the region's dynamic economy and will inspire many more companies as battling these challenging times.

All the winners in this sub-regional final will go through, with those from the Durham & Wearside and Teesside finals, to the grand final at Hardwick Hall in Sedgefield on April 25.

Port of Tyne, Chief Executive Andrew Moffat, said: "This is a great achievement against some fierce competition, and we won on the strength of our very strong performance last year, our commitment to cultural change and our work to support communities around the area.

This is entirely thanks to the commitment and dedication of every employee, and I am particularly pleased that we have achieved this while also coping with exceptionally high levels of activity in recent months."

There was a big rise once again in the number of entries to the largest and most prestigious awards for companies in the region.

And Journal editor Brian Aitken said he was impressed by the standard of the finalists despite the continuing economic gloom.

He added: "There were three exceptionally strong finalists, each of which could have won the top prize any other year. But Port of Tyne has had an incredible year and this rewards its fantastic success.

"These awards are a great opportunity for us to celebrate and recognise the success of other companies that have defied the downturn to grow, innovate, find new markets and customers and create wealth and jobs in this region."

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