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£6.5m steel store supports NE’s automotive ambitions

A state of the art £6.5m steel store designed to support the North East’s automotive ambitions has been officially opened at a VIP launch in Middlesbrough.

Politicians, Tata Steel executives and the Middlesbrough Mayor were among the guests invited to multimodal specialist, AV Dawson’s Riverside Park HQ for the launch of its new facility, believed to be the only rail-served, energy efficient automotive steel store of its type in the UK.

Family-run firm AV Dawson is a key player in automotive steel logistics in the North East and has invested in the 102,263 square foot store so that steel producers can meet demand from the region’s automotive industry.

The facility is the third and final phase of the 77-year-old company’s ambitious £12.5m growth plans, which have been part-funded by £1.2m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

The plans, which have included building a new £2.6m intermodal rail terminal, Tees Riverside Intermodal Park (TRIP), and a new £3.4m deepwater quay, have generated 62 new jobs, being the total working for Dawson to 242.

The new store was opened by Rishi Sunak, the prospective parliamentary candidate for Richmond, North Yorkshire.

Mr Sunak said: “It’s wonderful to see a family firm such as AV Dawson expanding, prospering and laying the foundations for the next 77 years and beyond. I’m delighted that the Regional Growth Fund was able to support the vision of Gary and Maurice Dawson and that their hard work has paid off.”

The store has an innovative air handling dehumidification system to prevent condensation and ensure the steel is kept in pristine condition with both heat and power being supplied by ground source heat pumps driven by solar panels.

The store, which is capable of providing storage for up to 58,000 tonnes of steel coil, features a rail track running direct into it from Middlesbrough Goods Yard. More than 270,000 tonnes of steel per year will arrive by rail from Tata Steel in Port Talbot, South Wales before eventually heading by road to Sunderland-based car giant Nissan on the back of Dawson’s specialist steel coil carrying trailers.

Gary Dawson, managing director of AV Dawson, said:
“We are very proud to open our new store today. This is the largest single investment in our 77-year history and it clearly shows the confidence that we have in the UK Steel industry and manufacturing in the north of England.

“The facility is conditioned to hold steel in pristine condition indefinitely, enhancing quality, driving efficiencies, and building confidence in the supply chain. The green credentials of this route are impressive, with steel moving by train from South Wales to Middlesbrough, before being held in our renewable energy powered store and final local area delivery using the most fuel efficient trucks.

“From breaking ground to receiving the first train was just 208 working days, which is a huge credit to everyone involved in the build, the management and operation of the store.

“Tata has cooperated with AV Dawson from start to finish ensuring a seamless transition on behalf of its customers. We now look forward to delivering the resulting benefits over many years to come.”

Mike Nightingale, head of logistics at Tata Steel Europe, said: “We’re delighted to extend our close cooperation with AV Dawson to improve our supply chain to the North East of the UK. The new warehouse underlines our commitment both to support our customers within the local area, and reduce the environmental impact of our activities.”

The Mayor of Middlesbrough, Ray Mallon, said: “Iron and steel are part of the DNA of Middlesbrough and the wider Tees area, and the facilities we have here are truly world class.

“This latest development at AV Dawson’s Riverside Park headquarters represents a major investment which says a great deal about the company’s confidence in this location.

“It will act as an important catalyst in creating jobs and contributing to Middlesbrough’s future prosperity.”

Picure: Gary and Maurice Dawson with Rishi Sunak, prospective parliamentary candidate for Richmond, North Yorkshire, who opened the store.

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