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AV Dawson

Rail Terminals into Automotive Steel Store & Intermodal Park
Rail Terminals into Automotive Steel Store & Intermodal Park

AV Dawson, the freight logistics expert, have a multi-modal 100-acre Teesside freight handling facility at Teesport, in Middlesbrough. In fact there are so many different exciting elements of the business, it is difficult to know where to start so I will concentrate on the rail related business.

Freight logistics expert AV Dawson is a £23m, family-owned and run business that has been operating in the Teesside area for over 78 years. Through its 240 strong team  Dawson provide a seamless multimodal service across road, rail, land and sea, including berthing for deep-drafted vessels and an onsite shipping agency, rail services through its rail freight terminals with direct links to the East Coast Mainline, a 32-vehicle haulage fleet and a range of warehousing, storage and accommodation facilities.

East Coast Mainline link directly into Automotive Steel Distribution Centre
East Coast Mainline link directly into Automotive Steel Distribution Centre

AV Dawson took stewardship of Middlesbrough Goods Yard which has direct access onto the East Coast Main Line,in April 2015 and invested over £1m in infrastructure improvements to make rail more competitive and create a level playing field for the rail operators.

With four combined rail terminals, all linked via Middlesbrough Goods Yard  directly to the East Coast Mainline , AV Dawson’s rail facility is one of the largest rail freight facilities in the North of England. It offers unique and market specific freight handling, warehousing and storageincluding 42m high fabrication halls and an award-winning state of the art automotive steel distribution centre.

  • The Ayrton Rail Terminal specialises in loose dry bulk, with stores linked to rail pit, conveyor discharge and 100 tonne rail weighbridge, all just meters away from the Mainline.
  • Tees Riverside Intermodal Park (TRIP) Terminal offers loaded and empty container and tank handling and storage, vanning and devanning.
  • The North Sea Supply BaseTerminal offers quayside rail access to Teesport.
  • The Automotive Steel StoreTerminalprovides a rail-link directly into a temperature and humidity controlled distribution centre for steel coil and plate used in automotive and yellow goods supply chains.

The main rail traffic is steel coil and plate, polyhalite and potash, slag aggregates and contaminated soils. More recently, Dawson is exploring opportunities for intermodal and renewables such as RDF and waste wood.  

Steel Coil transported directly in Automotive Steel Distribution Centre ready for distribution to Nissan
Steel Coil transported directly in Automotive Steel Distribution Centre ready for distribution to Nissan

The regional benefits of this operation are striking with a 240 strong workforce with exciting and ambitious investment plans and technical and environmental innovation leading the way in sustainable re-generation.

The automotive steel store terminal offers a unique, state of the art facility with a rail terminal directly into automotive steel distribution centrewhich provides with can provide efficient loading and unloading from train to crane and directly into the store, with no requirements for road transport and no delays caused by adverse weather.  It provides an integrated model making rail even more competitive for the customer by providing increased speed and efficiency, improved customer service, value for money and reduced environment impact saving around 100 tonnes of CO2 every year. It also showcases the efficiency of seamless rail connectivity, encouraging more businesses to consider rail. It was developed to support the ever increasing supply of steel coil into the North East automotive markets and in particular to car giant Nissan in Sunderlandwhich produces 1 in 3 cars in the UK. Impressively,  AV Dawson has brought redundant brownfield land inactive for over 50 years back into productive use and created  more green jobs on Teeside.

Internal Shot of Automotive Steel Distribution Centre showing coil wagons
Internal Shot of Automotive Steel Distribution Centre showing coil wagons

In terms of future rail freight developments in the region, the outputs from the Transport for the North intermodal freight strategy are eagerly awaited by AV Dawson and the industry as a whole. In fact I met Gary Dawson at a Transport for the North stakeholder event in Leeds in the new year and he mentioned the importance of East to West rail connectivity and how opening this up could be a real gamechanger for AV Dawson, its customers and the North-East as a whole. Freight on Rail and Transport for the North jointly held a workshop at the end of January for the industry to explain to the team of consultants and officials writing the strategy what rail freight interventions are needed. Freight on Rail stated that the following is needed:

Capability to haul intermodal trains at 775m/1800tonnesboth North-South or East-West
Capability to haul bulk trains at up to 2400tonnes
A gauge cleared route for intermodal containers Trans-Pennine, preferably the Diggle route
Capacity on Trans-Pennine routes to meet the desired capacity
A 24/7 railway that matches the M62 motorway
Improved journey times for freight services
Capacity and capability to support any new terminal development
Additional North-South rail freight capacity on both WCML and ECML to support routes to the North from and to the ports.

Rail and road complement each other so it is important that each mode plays to its strengths and that is what AV Dawson is putting into practice. Rail freight has an important role in providing a safer, sustainable alternative to HGVs which reduces road congestion.


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