If you asked people in the Teesside area “What does AV Dawson do?” you would probably be met with a similar response from most people of “Road haulage?”
And this answer would not be incorrect. A stalwart of Teesside business for over 80 years, AV Dawson does run a very successful road haulage operation.
In fact, most people will recognise the AV Dawson name from the side of trucks and trailers running up and down the UK’s road network.
However, hidden away on Riverside Park, there is a flurry of other activity not often seen by members of the public. Let’s take a look at what really makes AV Dawson tick…
The branding icons on the AV Dawson logo are plain to see: road, rail, land and sea. While the road aspect of this is known to many, the others are not so familiar.
AV Dawson operates out of a 100-acre port facility based on Riverside Park in Middlesbrough, which may be a surprise to many as people don’t realise the scale of the operation.
The business has one of the largest independent rail terminals in the North of England. The rail links directly to the East Coast Mainline and provides immediate access to AV Dawson’s quay-side facilities and rail freight terminal.
The rail facilities are used by many of the country’s household names including Tata Steel and British Gypsum.
Steel from Port Talbot in Wales is transported by rail to AV Dawson’s automotive steel distribution centre to supply Nissan’s car making facility in Sunderland.
British Gypsum, part of the global Saint Gobain Group, imports gypsum – a product which is used to make plaster and plasterboard – into the Teesside facility.
The contract takes advantage of the company’s full multimodal logistics offer; with the product arriving by ship at AV Dawson’s berth for unloading into storage, before being loaded into trains for daily deliveries to the East Midlands area.
Complementing the rail facility are port facilities with 1km of direct River Tees frontage. The site is also strategically important, as the only port in North-East England with heavy and high route access to the sea.
Recently the port facilities have been host to some exciting projects.
• The business’s site was selected to receive cargo for the construction of Sir David Attenborough’s new wharf in Antarctica, beating competition from ports across the country. The project involved turning its quayside facilities into a bio-secure zone for the loading of the shipment destined for Antarctica.
• British Steel also exported over 140,000 tonnes of steel directly from AV Dawson’s quayside facilities in 2018 destined for overseas markets.
• The port facilities were also used to unload the tunnel boring machine, which is being used to excavate the new tunnel that will transport polyhalite from Sirius Minerals’ new mine.
• The company also boasts Stobart Energy as a customer and recently started working on the north shore of the Tees to unload woodchip bound for the new biomass plant in Billingham.
As well as operating from its site in Middlesbrough, the business offers a range of on-site logistics services for British Steel.
The firm’s base is not solely used for AV Dawson operations, as the company has more than 40 tenants operating out of its facilities.
Companies such as Prysmian Group, Modus Seabed Intervention, Parkol Engineering and Advanced Material Handling all call this area of Middlesbrough home.
And one of the most visible landmarks on the Teesside landscape is AV Dawson’s 42m-high fabrication halls, two of which are currently available to rent.
In reality, AV Dawson has grown to become the business it is today by building complementary freight logistics services for its customers.
So the next time you look over the Teesside skyline and spot the white beaconlike fabrication halls, remember there’s more happening by the river than you ever knew.