A THIRD-GENERATION distribution company is continuing work on a £6m storage area to strengthen its future and boost North-East steelmaking.

As exclusively revealed in The Northern Echo in March, AV Dawson, in Middlesbrough, is expanding to house thousands of tonnes of steel for the car industry.

The 300-metre long shed will handle up to 32,000 tonnes of steel coil from Tata Steel's south Wales base, holding products for car makers including Sunderland-based Nissan.

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The shed, on former Network Rail land, is expected to start operating in September.

Bosses say a daily train of 24 wagons from Tata's Port Talbot plant will deliver products to the shed, with goods then taken to customers using Dawson's road haulage division.

Gary Dawson, AV Dawson's managing director, said the changes would increase efficiency.

He said: “We have three sheds for the automotive steel, and hold it until company call it off for use.

“Moving everything into one will help us reduce the need for shunting the trains between sheds.”

Neil McShane, AV Dawson railhead manager, added: “Nissan are doing great things with their new line and the electric car and we’re proud to be part of their supply chain in the North-East.

“The new shed will keep Tata’s steel in pristine condition and create a flagship storage base to meet its growth plans in the North-East.”

AV Dawson was founded in 1938 when Arthur “Vernie” Dawson paid £50 for horse Dina, her shoes and a cart to deliver coal.