Liebherr and Port of Sunderland hit new high

Liebherr Reachstackers entering Port of Sunderland

Leading crane manufacturer Liebherr has given a lift to Port of Sunderland, as demand for its products from overseas continues to soar.

The manufacturing powerhouse, which builds maritime cranes and cargo handling equipment from its 750,000 sq ft site on the banks of the River Wear, has benefitted significantly from investment into the municipally-owned port, which has increased its capabilities, giving Liebherr enhanced support just a stone’s throw down-river. 

In addition to a new heavy lift crane, Sunderland City Council has invested in a programme of work to improve port infrastructure, including new concrete hardstanding, warehousing and the restoration of the port’s rail connection.

This investment, coupled with rising demand from overseas for Liebherr’s offshore and port cranes, has led to welcomed additional business for the port, particularly from one of the city’s largest employers.

The most recent project saw Liebherr export five of its Reachstacker (LRS 545) cranes to a customer overseas via the port. Standing almost 12 metres long and 4.5 metres wide, the five cranes were driven from the site to the port in the early hours of Monday (10 June) and Tuesday (11 June) before being prepared for transit.

Ralph Saelzer, Managing Director of Liebherr Sunderland, said: “Liebherr has been manufacturing cranes in Sunderland for 30 years now and the plant has established a revered reputation for its productivity and quality.

“At the heart of this is our ability to provide our customers with the best service and turn-around times possible, which has been boosted greatly in recent years by Sunderland City Council’s continued investment into Port of Sunderland.

“The new infrastructure, improved road networks and concrete hard standing means we can transport our products from the plant to the port in less than an hour and can be ready to set sail the same day. It’s fantastic for us as a business.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council and chair of Port of Sunderland, said: “Port of Sunderland has continued to go from strength-to-strength over recent years and the relationship with Liebherr is a fantastic example of how increased investment in the port has boosted the city economy.

“The close proximity of the company’s Sunderland Works to the port allows it to make the most of our deep water river berths and cargo handling facilities, including our heavy lift cranes for project cargo shipments, including the export of crane parts in particular.

“The company is one of the region’s most established manufacturers and to have them export cranes directly from Port of Sunderland vindicates our recent investment and is testament to our commitment to making Sunderland the first port of call for companies looking to export and import.”

With work now underway on the 150 hectare International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), the port is hoping to break the one million tonne milestone this year.

Port of Sunderland Director, Matthew Hunt, said: “The port is ideally placed to service customers from across the globe and our ongoing work with Liebherr is a perfect example of this.

“The company is one of the region’s most established manufacturers and to have them export cranes directly from Port of Sunderland is fantastic, and testament to our commitment to making Sunderland the first port of call for companies looking to develop their presence overseas