SJ Berwin gets planning go-ahead for Northern Gateway port project

SJ Berwin has helped PD Ports secure planning permission for the Northern Gateway, a £300m deep-sea container terminal in Teesport, North East England.

The firm bagged the instruction, its first for the Babcock & Brown Infrastructure subsidiary, in 2005 after the original adviser was conflicted out. The firm was responsible for the landside operations of the application process.

Planning permission was submitted in April 2006 and it took more than a year for a decision to be reached.

“Two years acting on this is actually pretty quick, although it doesn’t sound like it,” said partner Duncan Field, who led on the deal alongside senior associate Daniel Farrand. “This is similar in scale to the Felixstowe extension.”

The terminal, which is scheduled to begin operations in 2010, is intended to absorb the projected growth in container traffic from east Asia while contributing to a more sustainable distribution model.

“The tendency in this country is to have big freight distribution in the Midlands,” explained Field. “The concept of having a Northern port for the Northern market is really new. It is projected to save millions of lorry miles per year.”

Rees & Freres partner Monica Peto is advising on the relevant parliamentary orders. The orders are with the Department of Transport and a decision is expected in early 2008.

The project, which will comprise a 55 hectare container-handling area behind a 1,000m quay face, is expected to generate some 5,000 jobs and won unanimous backing from Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council.

The council was advised in-house by associate Sandra Branigan.