Member Profile: Ray Douds, Port Of Tyne

How long have you been working at the Port Of Tyne and what is your current role?

I joined the Port Of Tyne just over seven years ago as the Marine Services Manager. I have responsibilities to deliver safe and efficient maritime services to meet the needs of our customers and clients alike. Principally I am responsible for the safe and efficient management of the Ports commercial Workboats, Pilot Launches, MultiCat Plough Dredger, and Hydrographic Survey Vessel. – Another key aspect of my role is to ensure that these vessels are both maintained and certified in strict compliance with the Workboat Code.

What is the history and current main operations at the Port Of Tyne?

Once world-renowned for coal exports – the Port of Tyne has diversified in recent times to ensure it can keep pace with the global economy and its customers’ varying needs. It is now one of the UK’s largest deep-sea ports, one of Europe’s largest car exporters and one of the largest handlers of wood pellet in the world.

With the mission of creating a vibrant and sustainable Port recognised for outstanding customer service and as a great place to work and do business. The Port receives no government funding, it is run on a commercial basis and reinvests all profits back into the Port for the benefit of all of its stakeholders, who are customers, employees, business, government and the community.

Operating in bulks, break-bulk, offshore, rail-freight, automotive logistics, cruise and ferry, and, port centric logistics, the Port also has a portfolio of commercial property. Offering unrivalled agility, security and flexibility for global shippers, manufactures and retailers.

When and where did you first start your career within the maritime sector?

I began my maritime career eighteen years ago right here in South Shields, serving ten years with the local Shields Ferry Service. In that role I was responsible for the operation of up to three 350 passenger vessels (Class 5) and their crews, along with ensuring strict compliance with all relevant MCA codes of practice.

Do you get to go to sea often in your role?

The main body of my role involves an obvious amount of office based managerial activities, I do however try my best to get out onto the water whenever the opportunity arises, whether this be on a fine summers day or an inclement winters evening. I genuinely believe that you should always maintain an ‘on the job’ realisation of your deliverable services. Sea-trials following major engineering works being one of my favourite excuses to escape the office!

Are there any projects or big news for the Port Of Tyne coming in the near future?

Port Of Tyne is preparing to take advantage of its close proximity, (closer than any other port to some of the world’s largest offshore wind farms). Only 96 nautical miles from Dogger Bank, it is ideally placed to become a major centre for the manufacture and maintenance of these wind farms.

Investing in the long term – the Port’s ‘Tyne 2050‘ strategic aims will see it devise an infrastructure master plan and land usage plan by 2021. In a bid to make port infrastructure ‘future proof’ in the face of increasing vessel size by incorporating plans for automisation and new technology by 2030. Tyne 2050 also sees the Port aspire to become a clean energy test bed by 2025 and be all-electric by 2040.

Utilising new technology and open innovation through the UK’s first maritime Innovation Hub; the Port of Tyne is already collaborating with sector representatives to meet the challenges facing the “blue economy” and to provide solutions across the spectrum of maritime logistics.

What gives you the best reward in your daily role?

When heading out to work, I genuinely look forward to the day ahead and the challenges it may bring – as every day is certainly different! Having worked within the maritime sector for almost twenty years I find myself able to effectively deliver the needs of the business in-line with the requirements of our customers. However, the best reward without doubt has to be applying my experience to ensuring the operational safety of our staff.

If you had one “Christmas wish” to benefit the Port of Tyne, what would it be?

Please can we have a new Pilot Boat and another one of those ‘big blue Quayside Cranes’!

Member Profile: Ray Douds, Port Of Tyne