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Pushing for Rail

Freight logistics specialist, AV Dawson has invested millions in its own railfreight facilities and is pushing for better rail connectivity across the UK so that the business can provide more efficient transport for its customers.

AV Dawson’s freight terminal in Middlesbrough is one of the largest independent rail terminals in the North of England. With direct links to the East Coast Mainline, the site has four separate railheads, each offering unique and market specific freight handling services, including bulk products such as aggregates and fertilisers, steel and containers. This extensive rail infrastructure provides increased efficiency and environmental benefits as it enables cargo to be transported directly from rail to ship or into rail-connected warehouse storage without the need for additional road transport.

Gary Dawson, AV Dawson managing director said:

“Our decision to invest the millions we’ve invested in our rail infrastructure has been based on how we see the market changing over the coming years, rather than the demand we are experiencing currently. Our site provides Teesside with a strong railfreight facility to enable it to transport cargo more efficiently, but improvements need to be made to the country’s Victorian rail infrastructure if we are really going to realise this investment in our business and our region. With the governments drive to get freight off the roads and the increased lobbying for rail freight connectivity we’re starting to see more of an appetite to make progress.

“There are challenges with the storage capacity at rail terminals in the Midlands, challenges with height of bridges for routes across country East to West and more generally issues with limited capacity in train timetables; with priority being given to passenger trains over freight trains. We’re keen to support improved rail connectivity for Teesside for all of these routes. We’re working with the team at Peel Ports in Liverpool to support greater rail links East to West as we believe this increased connectivity will make the region and the wider North much stronger. We already have significant volumes of road freight moving along this route, including 30,000 tonnes of steel per year, which has the potential to be moved far more efficiently for our customers if we could move it by rail.

“Typically, trains coming into our facility are carrying around 1500 tonnes of cargo, which is more than 50 times what can be carried on a truck, so huge opportunities for improved efficiencies and environmental benefits. Rail can be ideal for larger, bulky cargos and with the demise of coal, the train operators have been left with huge fleets of wagons that are under-utilised currently.”

While around 20% of the scheduled freight trains coming into and out of Teesside are coming into AV Dawson’s facility, the business believes the volume of trains should increase significantly in the coming years. Mr Dawson continued:

“Surprisingly, many of the businesses we are speaking with just don’t seem to consider rail as an option, so there’s a big message to get out there to businesses too; getting them to consider whether rail might be a more efficient alternative.”

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