Proposals for a massive deep water terminal on Teesside could result in up to 7,000 new jobs, port bosses claim.
Teesport is one of the largest in Europe
PD Ports wants to create a £300m deep-sea container terminal at its current facility at Teesport.
The company wants the government to agree to the so-called "northern gateway" development, which it says would boost the region's economy.
A public consultation process was beginning on Monday, which PD Ports hopes will attract significant support.
The firm plans to employ 500 additional staff, with the rest of the jobs being created by related industries in the longer term.
It says it has been encouraged by interest from shipping lines and terminal operators.
PD Teesport managing director David Robinson said: "The most significant thing about this is that it will drive the local economy to a new level.
"The likelihood of creating another several thousand jobs, taking us up to a total of 7,000 is very, very possible in our opinion."
The company said it was aware of some concerns about the expansion of traffic in the area if the terminal is approved.
But Mr Robinson said the company planned to handle upwards of 20% of freight by rail.
Supermarket chain Asda has already signed a deal with the company for a £20m import centre.
PD also operates a range of port and shipping services throughout the UK, particularly on the Humber.