Port investment sets out a clear path for the future

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

AV Dawson took the next step in its evolution and rebranded its Middlesbrough port facilities as Port of Middlesbrough in September – and will invest more than £10m in infrastructure projects over the next three years.

Throughout its 80-year history, it is this constant evolution and repositioning that has propelled the business to the next level.  

As the company structures itself for the future, it is also laying the foundations with a series of key infrastructure developments that will support its growth ambitions.  

As part of a recently announced three-year port masterplan, AV Dawson will invest over £10m in infrastructure projects.  

This investment, predominantly focused on its Port of Middlesbrough facilities, is intended to aid business development and deliver a host of new business contracts.  

Work on a series of investments has begun in earnest, with the structures already partially built. The first, an alternative fuel project, will support government ambitions to reduce landfill and global carbon emissions.   

AV Dawson is redeveloping a whole section of its port facilities to meet the customer’s needs, including providing the new plant with a dedicated site entrance.  

Once the factory is built it will manufacture in-excess of 240,000 tonnes of fuel pellets each year and utilise Port of Middlesbrough’s full freight logistics capabilities, including its port, rail and transport solutions.  

The project, once complete, is expected to create more than 20 full-time jobs and help support the business’s long-term plans to move into the renewable and recyclable energy markets, driving forward its diversification strategy and environmental aspirations.  

The second of these projects is a major new state-of-the-art head office facility. The modern 24,000-sq ft development, also currently in the process of being built, is expected to be completed in the summer of 2021. 

The offices are on the exact location of the original Port of Middlesbrough and have been designed with a full glass frontage and rooftop terraces with views over the River Tees.  

The interiors will feature open-plan office spaces with colleague breakout areas, a gym, private meeting spaces, co-working areas and training rooms.  

The new building, especially the open-plan top floor, has been designed and planned with the company’s dedication to employee emotional health and wellbeing in mind.  

A large entertainment area with a music room, games area, kitchen, bar and relaxation spaces offers colleagues the opportunity to get away from their desks and provides spaces to relax and reflect. The top floor area will also accommodate a large, modern conferencing facility with the capacity to seat up to 130 guests. 

Gary Dawson, AV Dawson managing director, commented: “Currently we have several offices across our sites with our teams dispersed across them. The new office gives us the opportunity to bring our teams together, enabling them to work more efficiently and collaboratively.  

“A workspace needs to be functional but also address the needs of our colleagues. After all, we do spend a large proportion of our days at work. We have therefore consulted closely with our colleagues to understand their wants and needs and to incorporate this into the office design. 

“The building has been designed to give colleagues the flexibility that is demanded from a modern office space. We have also considered Covid restrictions in the design by introducing clear vistas and provisions for social distancing. 

“This building is not only an investment for our future but a commitment to Middlesbrough and our local community.  

“Our new conferencing facility isn’t solely for our internal use – we want to engage with local stakeholders to host events and also open it up to local schools and colleges to visit – they will be able to learn about the port’s past, but we can also use this to reinforce the bright future our region has ahead, and the career opportunities available.” 

Continual investment in infrastructure is considered critical to the future of the business. With this in mind, AV Dawson has planned further significant investment in the enhancement of its existing quayside facilities.  

This includes planned expansion of its quayside and work with the Statutory Harbour Authority to dredge the river channel on the approach to its berth so the port can accommodate larger vessels. It will also carry out planned refurbishment of an existing section of its quayside.   

As the business continues to grow and expand, Port of Middlesbrough has become a hive of activity. This in part has been built on AV Dawson’s commitment and ability to adapt and offer resourceful solutions for its customers.  

Therefore, along with physical developments on site, AV Dawson is looking to further develop its logistics operations on customers’ sites.   

Its “Port and Industrial Services” solution, already in place for several customers including British Steel and Stobart Energy, is designed to deliver an expert team developed by AV Dawson, to manage stevedoring, port and industrial services.  

Charlie Nettle, AV Dawson commercial and marketing director, commented: “As we grow and expand at our Port of Middlesbrough base, we want to be able to replicate the successful service we have developed.  

“We can provide this expertise, which we’ve honed over many years, to other customers or their sites, delivering cost savings and efficiencies for them too.  

“The business has always taken a long-term view and as part of this, has taken a positive approach to investment over the years.   

“The next couple of years could well be particularly turbulent, with Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic likely to significantly change the business landscape, but through investment and strategic growth, we’re as prepared as we can be to ensure the business is able to weather any storms to come.”