A multi-million-pound project to provide a shovel ready platform for 11-acres of prime developable land at Port of Sunderland has successfully come to a close.

Esh Construction has completed a civil engineering enabling works package on the Trinity – Rail, Road & Sea Enterprise Zone site, the final phase of a number of substantive works packages totalling an £8.2m investment into port infrastructure.

The final phase, which will breathe new life into the Hendon Sidings site, will free up more prime developable land for businesses looking to relocate and invest at the North Sea hub.

Planned developments at the port unveiled in recent years amount to over £100 million worth of infrastructure projects, creating hundreds of skilled jobs.

This success has seen record levels of investment flow into the hub and port chiefs are confident that this latest milestone, which will see a grand total of 20 acres of developable land brought to market, will ensure the port remains open and ready for business as it looks to attract more investment to the city.

Matthew Hunt, director at Port of Sunderland, said: “We are delighted to finally see work come to a close on the final phase of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) funded Port of Sunderland Enterprise Zone accommodation works, specifically at our Trinity – Rail, Road & Sea site.

“Over the last few years, we’ve seen inward investment into the port reach record levels and the £8.2million investment by the LEP to make swathes of the port shovel ready for development – as well as better road connectivity and the re-introduction of multi-modal rail operations – will make the port an even more attractive proposition as we look to the future.”

The enabling works at Hendon Sidings also provided a boost to the local community, with lead contractor Esh Construction delivering a raft of social value initiatives as part of the scheme. More than 100 apprentice training weeks have been delivered on site along with two work experience placements, one for a forces leaver and another for an undergraduate student who has since secured a paid internship with Esh.

Environmental efficiencies and carbon reduction measures were also considered throughout the project, with Esh setting up an on-site processing system which saw more than 34,000m3 of excavated material, segregated, crushed, screened and re-used on site. Over 57 tonnes of hard to recycle waste has been diverted from landfill and instead recycled into Biomass fuel.

Alan Croft, construction manager at Esh Construction, said: “This latest scheme marks the third Esh Construction has undertaken as part of the Port’s Enterprise Zone Accommodation Works, including the transformation of the nine-acre East Shore site and improvement works to the 3km port perimeter road.

“We are all excited to see what the future holds for the Port of Sunderland and as a local contractor, we are proud to play our part in supporting its development and look forward to future works with our extremely respected client.”

The redevelopment of Hendon Sidings is the last of three projects delivered at the port thanks to the backing of the North East LEP, designed to attract potential investors and provide an incentive to those looking to establish a long-term operation at Port of Sunderland.

Previous works saw £8.2million spent on the transformation of nine acres of developable land at the East Shore site and significant road and rail infrastructure improvements to improve connectivity.

Helen Golightly OBE, Chief Executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The 21 sites that make up the wider North East Enterprise Zone have been successful in improving the economic prospects of the North East.

“At Port of Sunderland, the completion of the enabling works paves the way for significant public and private sector investment; particularly in the region’s growing energy sector which is driving economic growth across the North East.

“Enterprise Zones have established new regional economic clusters that have the potential to deliver significant job creation. The new developable land at Port of Sunderland comes at an exciting time for our region as we transition into a new North East Mayoral Combined Authority that will unlock billions of pounds of additional investment in our region.”