BARRY Port has been revealed as among five South Wales Ports that have contributed £1.4billion to the UK economy.

The report, from the independent consultants Arup on behalf of Associated British Ports, also reveals that the five ports, including Swansea, Port Talbot, Cardiff, Barry and Newport, have also helped support 21,000 jobs across the UK.

The new statistics show that, of those totals, ABP's South Wales port activity contributes almost £1 billion directly into the Welsh economy and supports 15,000 jobs in the region.

Together, the five South Wales Ports handle more than 12 million tonnes of cargo every year. It's a diverse business, with Newport the UK's second largest steel handling port, while in Port Talbot around 2.5 million tonnes of coal and 5.5 million tonnes of iron ore cross the quayside every year. Barry handles large quantities of liquid bulks for local industry, including silicon manufacturers Dow Corning. Cardiff operates Wales' only container line, supporting access to global markets. Swansea handles cement, minerals, agribulks, aggregates and sand.

ABP is investing heavily to build on this position and develop the business.

In Newport ABP has invested around £10m in the past 18 months on projects ranging from a wind turbine to a crane and new covered storage. Elsewhere, ABP has invested £1.7m in Barry in a new intermodal terminal.

In Cardiff, investment of nearly £3m in a new storage and handling facilities, helped secure the arrival of a new manufacturing business in Wales. Steel tubing specialist HDM Tubes invested several million pounds alongside the new facilities, creating 35 jobs with more anticipated as production increases.

It is expected that ABP's planned investment programme will raise our ports' contribution to the Welsh economy by a further £92m every year. There is capacity for business development opportunities through the large development land-bank across the South Wales ports, with potential for further growth in employment.

ABP is also investing in renewable energy assets at its South Wales ports to decarbonise the electricity supply-base and improve the competitive position of the ports.

Matthew Kennerley, ABP director South Wales, said: "This report demonstrates the vibrant, growing business that is the modern ports industry in South Wales.

"There is a widely held misconception that Wales' ports are another sector struggling with the decline of the coal industry but these statistics show nothing could be further from the truth. Our business is diverse, successful and growing. It is a vital cog in today's Welsh and British economy. Many businesses rely on our ports to access global markets and many thousands of people are reliant on our ports for work.

"I'm not only proud to report these figures but also that we are backing the region's industry with a programme of significant investments designed to develop the business and support further growth of the Welsh economy."

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