In late 2009 Drax Power Station and the port of Tyne signed a £16 million biomass deal. This involved building a handling and storage facility at the Port of Tyne to hold between 0.5 million and 1.4 million tonnes of biomass per annum. Drax Power station produces about 12.5 per cent of its output from renewable biomass and a dedicated biomass-fired power station is to be constructed adjacent to the existing station for operation in 2014.

In early April a surprise arrival with wood chip biomass was the new bulker Virtuous Striker (57,000dwt). Delivered in January by China Chang Jiang National Shipping Group Corporation at their Jinling Shipyard in Nanjing, she is one of a number of similar bulk carriers built by the yard for Enterprise Shipping & Trading of Athens. After crossing the Pacific for the first time, she loaded her cargo for the Tyne and departed for Vancouver on 28 February, via the Panama Canal.

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