1. What is your role at AV Dawson?
I’m the Commercial & Marketing Director, so I oversee the brand strategy, identify our markets and ensure we’re looking after our customers and managing the contracts associated with this.
2. What does AV Dawson do?
AV Dawson owns and operates Port of Middlesbrough, a 100-acre port facility based on the south side of the River Tees in Middlesbrough. The site has approximately one kilometre of quayside for loading and unloading ships, four rail terminals, extensive warehousing,mincluding automotive grade, climate-controlled warehouses and a supporting road transport fleet.
AV Dawson also has a number of subsidiary businesses, including Cockfield Knight, a local ships agency that provides chartering, agency, customs and freight forwarding. We recently established a subsidiary called AVD Industrial & Port Services to support customers with logistics operations on their own sites.
3. What gets you out of bed in a morning?
The current economic times, layered with the pandemic, have put real strain on many businesses and that has put extra pressure on the port and logistics sector, which has kept us all very busy. Everyday throws up a new challenge, so it never gets dull. There is a real feeling of family and team morale at AV Dawson and so I would say that the opportunity to work together and feel that you’re making a difference is what gets me out of bed each day.
4. What makes AV Dawson different?
Our strapline is that we’re more than just a port. We’ve got a great location, great facilities and great services, but its our people and approach that make us different. Our strong family values are really what set AV Dawson apart from most other businesses I’ve come across. As an 80-year old Teesside family business we’re also keen to support our community and so we do a lot of work with local charities and the education sector.
5. What are the businesses greatest strengths?
As a result of our people and our structure, we can be extremely agile and resourceful; identifying efficiencies, seizing opportunities and responding quickly to customers’ needs. We have demonstrated this in many of the complex projects we have delivered for our customers, for example, transforming our site into a bio-secure facility to consolidate cargo to load onto a vessel destined for the Antarctic. Our approach also means that we will always look to invest for the long term rather than being driven by short term shareholder gains.
6. What are your primary markets / sectors?
Our primary sector has historically been steel for the automotive and construction industries. While this sector is still performing well we have diversified into other sectors including aggregates and minerals, such as fertilisers. We are also seeing strong growth in new sectors such as recyclables and renewables, particularly in offshore wind, where one of our customers is experiencing very strong growth and is rapidly expanding its footprint on our site.
7. Do you have growth plans for the future?
Yes, at the end of 2020 we announced our Port Masterplan, which initiated another phase of investment in our site, including extensive dredging work to accommodate larger vessels on our quayside and a brand new head office, which opened earlier this year. We have recently acquired more land on Riverside Park as demand for warehousing continues to grow. We are also part of Teesside Freeport and anticipate this to bring new opportunities to the site and to the wider region.