The team behind the Port of Silloth are celebrating a record year for the amount of cargo it handled.

Port owners, Associated British Ports (ABP) said it handled a total of 156,000 tonnes of cargo in 2018 – almost 20 per cent more compared to the previous year and the biggest volume recorded since 2015.

During a busy 2018, the port also welcomed the fifth biggest delivery since records began back in the 19th century.

The vessel Blue Six delivered more than 3,700 tonnes of French wheat this month, which is set to be processed at the nearby Carr’s Flour Mill – itself a thriving local business and important employer, with a history stretching back 180 years.

The largest cargo deliver ever made at the port is held by the Arklov Venture vessel, which dropped off more than 4,200 tonnes of bulk fertiliser from Antwerp back in March 2014.

Carl Bevan, ABP’s divisional port manager for the North West, said: “We are pleased to report that the Port of Silloth has had an excellent year, handling 58 piloted ships and exceeding expectations thanks to the positive performance of our customers and colleagues.”

He added: “We also opened our new ground-mounted solar farm in May 2018 which allows ABP Port of Silloth to generate more electricity than it consumes with all surplus green electricity being exported to the National Grid.”

The £250,000 solar farm consists of 960 solar panels have been installed on the northern side of Marshall Dock, next to the Carr’s Flour Mill site, with the aim of generating an average of 220,000 kWh a year.

The Port of Silloth supports the milling, agricultural and construction sectors in West Cumbria.

It is part of the North West division of ABP, which includes ports at Barrow, Fleetwood and Garston.

The Port of Barrow supports a wide variety of manufacturing businesses and construction projects, is home to several companies operating off-shore windfarms and supports BAE Systems’ submarine operations.

Together they handle over 800,000 tonnes of cargo each year and contribute £550 million to the UK economy.