The port of Sunderland dates back to the time of the Romans, and despite the demise of the coal industry, which Sunderland was a big exporter of, the port is still thriving. In 2010 the port of Sunderland handled 407,000 tonnes of cargo traffic. Sunderland’s larger neighbour, the port of Tyne sees a lot more traffic, but Sunderland has all of the facilities for the storage and shipping of container cargo to all parts of Europe and worldwide. Shipbuilding was Sunderland’s largest industry, but that has sadly now stopped, along with coal exporting, so Sunderland has needed to diversify and now sees many different cargos travelling through its port.
The port of Sunderland is serviced by many A roads, most notably the A19, which runs South along the East of the Country to Middlesborough (28 miles). Slightly to the west of the A19 and running virtually parallel is the A1(M), also running south through the UK. Containers in transit taking this route will pass through Durham (12 miles), Darlington (30 miles) and onto Leeds (92 miles). From this point cargo can join the motorway network in all directions. South to the Midlands and beyond, or West towards Manchester (139 miles) and Liverpool (167 miles).
Shipbuilding in Sunderland is recorded as far back as the 1300’s, and until the closure of the last shipyard in 1988, Sunderland thrived within this industry. In 1814 Sunderland had 24 shipyards and by 1840 it had 65, but the town was influential to the navy during WWII. Sunderland built and supplied a quarter of all vessels for the Royal Navy during this conflict, and was widely regarded as the largest shipbuilding town in the world. With the demise of the port of Sunderland’s main industries, the port has invested and expanded in other areas to accommodate more general cargo. Now dealing in bulk goods, container shipping, gas and oil to the North Sea, the port of Sunderland is firmly established in the North East as a port of choice for import and export.