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Middlesbrough-based logistics specialist AV Dawson is reaping the rewards of a three-year, £12 million investment programme, says managing director Gary Dawson. In that time, the company has added new quayside and opened the first phase of its new Teesside Riverside Intermodal Park (TRIP) and will shortly open a new, £6m rail-connected steel storage site in a second phase. Overall turnover for the multi-

faceted company is up 12% this year. Additional steel tonnage from the nearby Lackenby rolling mill and steel coils from the Tata plant are already keeping AV Dawson busy but now the company is in advanced negotiations for its first regular rail flow into the new TRIP terminal, in form of a regular flow of tar in intermodal tanks from South Wales for a local user. “We’ve already done trials and

we’ve every expectation that it will become a regular weekly train service,” says Gary Dawson. The wagons could be attached to other regular train services already

operating the same route or could be a dedicated train. Meanwhile, the Trip 2 will

development shortly add

160,000sq ft of rail-linked storage for automotive-grade steel when it opens in early October. The new facility will handle

steel coil from South Wales and replaces three existing facilities, while allowing for further growth, says Gary Dawson. At the moment, traffic is handled at two existing sheds at Ayton and an overflow area on AV Dawson’s North Sea supply base quayside. “There will also be the option to receive half a full train into Middlesbrough goods yard, whereas currently we would have to shunt wagons five times. And road trucks might also have to call at more than one shed to pick up loads if they were split between the two.” The main rail operators’ own locos will be able to shunt the trains which in turn means that resources that AV Dawson now has to deploy on shunting trains (it has its own loco and trained staff) can be mostly deployed elsewhere, although its

Issue 6 2014 - Freight Business Journal

AV Dawson offers state-of-the-art steel storage 21

shunting team will still do some work at its other terminals. And rail wagon turnaround will be cut from around 24 hours to just four hours. The purpose-built steel terminal

will store product under optimum conditions, heated to a minimum of 14 degrees C and a maximum relative humidity of 65%, as laid down by automotive industry customers. The hybrid heating and humidity control system has “a huge amount of redundancy built in” with multiple back-up generators and every part designed to be ‘fail safe’. Moreover, with ground source

heating from 70 50-metre deep boreholes and a 250kw solar system on the roof, the site will be able to generate a large proportion of the energy it needs. The prospects for steel traffic

in the North-East are bright, Gary Dawson considers. been

“There some consolidation

has in

production and hence a change in the distribution profile, giving more opportunities for rail distribution.” AV Dawson will handle not only

coil for the automotive industry but plate steel used mainly in making construction plant and equipment. AV Dawson has also won major

new steel handling business in Lackenby, in addition to similar existing work at nearby Skinningrove. “Export markets have been quite

until recently but there has been a significant pick-up in the past 18 months and the forecasts are healthy,” says Gary Dawson. Keeping one step ahead of

anticipated growth, AV Dawson has also bough an additional nine acres at Riverside Park, close to its existing Middlesbrough terminal. Operations that do not need direct quayside access such as the Tees Valley Trailers hire business and subcontracted road haulage will be moved here, releasing quayside space for activities such as long term storage of offshore equipment. Since bringing its new, deeper-water quay into operation in March, AV Dawson has seen a strong increase in its offshore shipping activity as the subsea market continues to expand.

The company is also increasing

its owned and subcontracted haulage fleet by about 50%. Future changes in the energy

market could bring further new business for AV Dawson, although these are hard to predict in view of fluctuating commodity prices; an early venture into the bioethanol market faded because of a rise in the price of inputs such as wheat and maize.

One possibility is imported

woodchips for a Teesside power station. The other is refuse-derived fuel for a waste to energy plant. A bit more clarity is emerging on

government policy in the alternative energy market, although it remains quite a fickle business because of fluctuating energy prices says Gary Dawson. “What were once cheap products have now become scarce commodities. We’re even seeing it in the shortage of wood dunnage for steel cargo in ships, because wood producers can get a better price for their product as fuel. And there is even competition for household waste.” That said, Teesside should be

in a good position to capitalise on future developments; it has all the necessary planning consents.

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