Port of Tyne

  (Redirected from Tyne Improvement Commission)

The Port of Tyne comprises the commercial docks on and around the River Tyne in Tyne and Wear in the northeast of England.

Port of Tyne
CountryUnited Kingdom
LocationTyne and Wear
Coordinates54°59′08″N 1°27′38″W / 54.9855°N 1.4605°W / 54.9855; -1.4605Coordinates: 54°59′08″N 1°27′38″W / 54.9855°N 1.4605°W / 54.9855; -1.4605
Owned byPort of Tyne trust port
Chief ExecutiveMatt Beeton
Annual cargo tonnage4.4 million tonnes
Annual container volume66,000 TEU
Passenger traffic748,000
Annual revenue£57.5 million
Cars imported/exported526,000
www.portoftyne.co.uk Edit this at Wikidata


There has been a port on the Tyne at least since the Romans used their settlement of Arbeia to supply the garrison of Hadrian's Wall. Around 1200, stone-faced, clay-filled jetties were starting to project into the river in Newcastle, an indication that trade was increasing. As the Roman roads continued to deteriorate, sea travel was gaining in importance. By 1275 Newcastle was the sixth largest wool-exporting port in England. The principal exports at this time were wool, timber, coal, millstones, dairy produce, fish, salt, and hides. Much of the developing trade was with the Baltic countries and Germany. Coal was being exported from Newcastle by 1250, and by 1350 the burgesses received a royal licence to export coal. This licence to export coal was jealously guarded by the Newcastle burgesses, and they tried to prevent any one else on the Tyne from exporting coal except through Newcastle. The burgesses similarly tried to prevent fish from being sold anywhere else on the Tyne except Newcastle. This led to conflicts with Gateshead and South Shields.[1]

From 1600 the growth in the export of coal brought prosperity to Newcastle. Until the 19th century the port was the responsibility of the City of Newcastle, but navigation became difficult, and in 1850 the Tyne Improvement Commission (TIC) was established to better maintain the port and river. In 1881 they published a review of their achievements.[2] One significant action was the removal by dredging of Kings Meadow Island. A major force through this period were the Keelmen.

The TIC deepened the river to 9.83 metres, and built the North and South Piers, and the Northumberland, Tyne and Albert Edward Docks. In 1928 the TIC opened the Tyne Commission Quay at North Shields, now known as the Northumbrian Quay, to handle mail and cargo trade with Bergen in Norway.[3]

In 1968 the TIC was dissolved and replaced by the Port of Tyne Authority. Since then, with the decline in the coal industry, the port has switched to the export of cars manufactured in the northeast of England.[4]

The port todayEdit

The Port of Tyne is the navigation authority for the tidal reaches of the River Tyne, from the mouth to the Tidal Stone at Wylam, a distance of 17 miles. It also has jurisdiction for one mile past the roundheads at the piers at the river mouth.[5]

The port handles conventional and bulk cargoes at the Riverside Quay. There are two car terminals, one on either side of the river, a cruise terminal at Northumbrian Quay on the north side, and a ferry terminal at North Shields.[6]

The Port of Tyne has expressed interest in becoming a freeport after the UK leaves the EU on 31 January 2020.[7]


  1. ^ Marshall, Michael W (1997). Turning Tides. Keepgate Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-899506-35-7.
  2. ^ River Tyne Improvement, description by Mr P, J. Messent, C.E. of works completed and in progress by the Tyne Improvement Commissioners with chart of the River Tyne from the sea to Wylam, June 1881. An example of the 8 page and chart original is available at the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers Tracts Vol 11 pages 251ff.
  3. ^ University of Newcastle upon Tyne: SINE project Archived 19 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Port of Tyne website: History
  5. ^ Port of Tyne website: Marine services
  6. ^ Port of Tyne: the Business
  7. ^ UK Government, Trade Secretary announces Freeports Advisory Panel will ensure UK is ready to trade post-Brexit, published 2 August 2019, accessed 21 August 2019

External linksEdit

  • Official website  
  • The Last Tyne Wherry Elswick No 2 Information Sheet (front). Tyne & Wear County Council Museums Service, Undated c1979. An original may be consulted at Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums Discovery Museum. Front and back.