THE owner of Newport’s port has started work on a £2.3 million project which will provide an additional 3,500 square metres of covered storage for the port.

ABP South Wales has appointed construction specialists Andrew Scott to deliver the project to accommodate the increasing number of agriculture-related cargo they deal with.

Between 2009 and 2014, ABP Newport saw its agribulk operations increase from handling 139,329 tonnes to 283,770 tonnes – a growth of 118 per cent.

Matthew Kennerley, ABP South Wales director, said: “We are committed to ensuring that our facilities are market leading, able to accommodate increasing cargo volumes and able to adapt to the commercial requirements of our customers.

“This investment follows on from more than £15 million that has been spent at the Port of Newport during the last two years to ensure that Welsh and UK industries who are seeking to access deep sea global markets can do so as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

The investment will also provide new weightbridges to help speed up operations during cargo handling.

Mark Bowen, managing director of Andrew Scott, said: "It gives me great pleasure to see this excellent project go ahead on site at Newport.

“It is important that we invest in the ports of South Wales, and improve the connectivity and infrastructure.

“Port projects are vital for sustaining economic growth and diversification, acting as a catalyst for future investment in South Wales."

Newport’s port handles around 1.85 million tonnes of cargo a year, supporting 3,000 local jobs and contributing £186 million per annum to the Welsh economy.