A new era in container freight has begun on the banks of the River Tees in the North East with the opening of the £2.6m first phase of a new intermodal rail terminal by one of the country’s leading logistics firms.
The terminal – named the Tees Riverside Intermodal Park (TRIP) – is the first phase of AV Dawson’s £10m infrastructure expansion and follows a 25 per cent increase in its container business at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Park.
Companies using the new rail terminal will now benefit from a direct link to the East Coast Main Line as well as to Dawson’s existing freight facilities, which include its Ayrton Railhead, North Sea Supply Base and Dawson’s Wharf quays on the adjacent River Tees.
Dawson has also gained AFSO accreditation to handle goods for transportation through the Channel Tunnel which expands the potential for a direct rail route from mainland Europe, through the tunnel to Riverside Park.
The Government has already given a ringing endorsement of the development by investing £1.2m through its Regional Growth Fund (RGF). The RGF funding has allowed 32 jobs to be created – ten of which have already been filled – and will safeguard 150 jobs.
On the adjacent riverside site work has also begun with piling works being carried out for the new £3.2m deepwater quay which will see the quay’s depth increased from 4m to 8.5m and length extended by 150m.
The company has also purchased an additional six acres of Network Rail land next to the TRIP terminal to expand its container offering with phase two works, including drainage and concrete surfacing, also underway.
Gary Dawson, managing director of AV Dawson, said: "The new intermodal rail terminal is just one part of our extensive growth plans and it’s fantastic to see the vision we have for the company start to become a reality.
"The RGF funding will have a tremendous positive impact on our company, on the wider supply chain and make an important jobs contribution on Teesside.
"From our perspective, the terminal further strengthens our ability to move goods quickly and efficiently and save our customers money in the process."
The state-of-the-art rail terminal has rail sidings capable of handling trains carrying up to 80 containers at any one time with 54,000 square metres of operational area and storage for up to 1,200 loaded containers.
The investment comes as the logistics firm is enjoying unprecedented demand from the subsea energy market.
Since 2011, Dawson has won business with another four offshore support companies and the business is moving towards a 24/7 operation on the quayside to meet the needs of its growing list of clients.
Gary added: "The offshore sector is starting to recognise the North Sea Supply Base as one of the premier facilities on the East Coast.
"We are experiencing an unprecedented level of enquiries for quayside and associated warehousing and open storage land and a lot of these are related to the energy markets, both traditional oil and gas, and more recently in renewable energy, particularly relating to offshore wind.
"The new quay will support these clients’ growth ambitions and confirm that their decisions to enter into long term agreements with AV Dawson were well advised."
The company’s lifting capacity has also been boosted with the investment of £2m in a new Gottwald harbour crane. It is capable of lifting up to 100 tonnes and complements Dawson’s other two mobile harbour cranes, the heaviest of which can lift 215 tonnes.