The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said he was impressed by the ‘brilliant businesses’ he’d seen on Teesside yesterday as he undertook a tour of a North East logistics specialist.
Mr Alexander was visiting family-run firm AV Dawson at its Riverside Park site, in Middlesbrough, having earlier visited TAG Energy Solutions, at Haverton Hill, Billingham, and EDF Energy’s offshore windfarm base at Redcar.
AV Dawson celebrates its 75th anniversary this year and has seen major growth in the marine and offshore sectors. The firm has invested £10m in a growth infrastructure plan, which includes £1.2m of funding allocated through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF).
Mr Alexander enjoyed a tour of the 100 acre site where he met staff and visited Dawson’s coil warehouse at its Ayrton Railhead to watch steel being loaded for Nissan. He then headed to Dawson’s Tees Riverside Intermodal Park where he saw steel being loaded onto a truck heading for export to the USA, and finally to its North Sea Supply Base to visit the new £3.2m deepwater quay currently under construction on the River Tees.
Mr Alexander said: "It reinforces my conviction that we need to be doing everything we can to support manufacturing.
"There are so many brilliant businesses in the North East doing important things in renewable energy and AV Dawson is just one of them. It’s amazing to see how the business has grown over the last 75 years. I’ve been hugely impressed."
Gary Dawson, managing director of AV Dawson, said: "We were delighted the Minister could see some of the good news stories on Teesside and how businesses here are investing and looking to the future.
"He seemed to fully understand the strategic importance of the infrastructure improvements that we’re undertaking and how they’re related to the emerging renewable energy industries, in particular the offshore wind, subsea energy and biofuels markets."
The new £2.5m Tees Riverside Intermodal Park (TRIP), which is part of Dawson’s £10m infrastructure plan, has a direct link to the East Coast Mainline and was completed last year following a 250 per cent increase in the firm’s container handling and filling business.
The deepwater quay, which is due to be completed later this year, will boast depths of up to 8.5m and will be 150m long, allowing larger vessels of up to 10,000 tonnes to take advantage of Dawson’s one-stop-shop services, which include in-house ships agency and vessel support company, Cockfield Knight and Co Ltd.
During Mr Alexander’s visit, he announced new banking reforms which will require the UK’s biggest banks to reveal how much they each lend at a local level.
Mr Alexander said the scheme would increase competition among businesses and transparency.