AV Dawson is expanding its automotive steel handling facility in the north-east of England as it nears capacity. The facility serves the flow of coil steel from Tata Steel’s facility in South Wales to automotive customers in the region, including Nissan Motor UK’s plant near Sunderland. The steel is delivered to AV Dawson’s facility by rail.

The company said it would be bringing existing additional facilities at the location, in Teeside, up to the standard of the main automotive supplying hub, but did not confirm the level of investment involved. The current facility is climate controlled to prevent corrosion, with heat pumps powered by solar panels on the warehouse cladding, among other renewable energy initiatives.

The company originally invested £6.5m ($10.2m) in the facility, which covers 9,500 sq.m, back in 2015. It stores a minimum of two weeks’ stock of steel in all grades, gauges and widths. Nissan places orders with Dawson 48 hours in advance, with confirmation or amendment 24 hours before, for delivery four hours before the steel is needed on the line at the Sunderland plant.

AV Dawson is also handling steel supplies for the likes of Unipres UK, a manufacturer of internal structural components, which is co-located with Nissan Motor UK but also supplies Honda and Renault. It is also handling steel plate for Caterpillar UK at its Peterlee, County Durham, factory.

“There has certainly been quite a shake-up in the steel industry of late,” said Neil McShane, AV Dawson’s rail manager. “However, that has actually opened up some significant opportunities. The automotive sector is particularly exciting at the minute and we’re working alongside our customers to support them on new initiatives as they grow and expand.”

AV Dawson has logistics assets ranging from specialised road transport fleets to private cranes and wharf facilities on the River Tees. It has subsidiary companies offering services from steel rectification and surface treatment to freight forwarding and shipping brokerage, as well as an extensive industrial park.