A North East port undergoing a multi-million pound transformation programme has bolstered its senior leadership team as it prepares for future growth.
Port of Sunderland has announced the appointment of experienced business development manager and former Port of Tyne commercial manager, Andy Foster.
Boasting over two decades experience in a range of commercial and marketing roles, Andy joins the port having previously spent seven years helping develop business at Port of Tyne and contributing to the growth of its core bulk, cruise and automotive business.
The appointment follows a series of significant milestones achieved by the port in recent months, including the completion of work on the East Shore Enterprise Zone, a significant investment in road improvements and a flurry of new business wins which will see a number of new companies relocate to the hub in the coming 12 months.
In his new role as business development manager, Andy will work closely with port director Matthew Hunt and the leadership team to position the port - not only as a desirable location for those in the maritime industry – but also as an attractive destination for high-growth businesses looking to relocate to the region.
Andy said: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining Port of Sunderland. As someone who was born and bred in the city with a long-held passion for the maritime sector, it really is the perfect role and I can’t wait to roll my sleeves up and get to work.
“There’s no hiding from the fact the industry has had its challenges in recent months, especially during the early stages of the pandemic. However, the port has continued to outperform projections and I’m looking forward to rising to the challenge of maintaining this momentum as we look to the future.
“The port has invested millions in infrastructure improvements since securing enterprise zone status and with cargo volumes continuing to increase month-on-month, it’s an incredibly exciting period for everyone involved in the organisation. I don’t think I could’ve have picked a better time to jump on board.”
Andy’s appointment is also a continuation of his family’s proud legacy on the River Wear. Since 1790, generations of Andy’s family have held many different roles on the River Wear, from Harbour Master, eight generations of pilots and many shipyard workers in the yards of Southwick, Pallion and the East End, with the most recent hanging up his hat in the 1970s.
He added: “My Dad was a Drayman at Vaux right until it’s closure and he has always instilled a strong sense of civic pride in me and my two older brothers. The history of Sunderland in particular has always fascinated me.
“When I first joined the Port of Tyne back in 2013, my Uncle Ron told me that “it was in my blood” but when he found out I was joining the Port of Sunderland, he sent me pages from our family history which he had researched so diligently. Sure enough, there were the generations of pilots and right at the top of the tree was Guy Potts b1761 Harbour Master, a direct relative on my mother’s side of the family.”
Matthew Hunt, managing director of Port of Sunderland, said: “We are delighted to welcome Andy on board and we have no doubt his experience and knowledge will prove a real asset to the port as we plan for the future.
“Despite the challenges we’ve faced over recent months, 2020 has proven to be somewhat of a landmark year for the port and – as our new investment sites open for business – it will require all hands on deck to ensure we’re in the best position possible to take advantage of the many opportunities this will generate.
“Andy will play a key role in helping us achieve those goals and his appointment will help drive the business forward and realise our collective ambitions in what is an incredibly exciting period for everyone involved with the port.”