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£300,000 Finance Wales loan boosts Cargo Services Bird Port dock growth plans

The Cargo Services (UK) Group (Cargo Services) has been supported with a £300,000 loan from Finance Wales to help with its expansion plans. The company recently opened its covered dock facilities at Bird Port, Newport and plans to grow these over an additional two development phases.

Cargo Services Managing Director, John Davey, said “We are delighted to have secured funding from Finance Wales to help towards our development and expansion plans at our port terminal business at Bird Port on the River Usk within Newport Harbour.

“This comes as a timely boost for the Cargo Services Group and our flagship facility at Bird Port where we have recently carried out an extensive re-location programme for two of our subsidiary companies – timber merchants WM Shapland & Sons Ltd and road hauliers Ryan Transport Ltd, along with our financial headquarters and ship agency business.”

The company recently re-signed a contract with Tata Steel. Cargo Services has been working with the steel company over a number of years to provide logistics shipping support. The company has invested over £2.5million to provide Tata with state-of-the-art cargo handling facilities, including a covered rail terminal (opened in 2010) and an all-weather dock terminal (opened in 2014).

Finance Wales Senior Investment Executive Steve Galvin added: “It’s great to be able to support a growing business like Cargo Services. The facilities at Bird Port are excellent and are used by a number of businesses including one of Wales’ biggest and most well-known employers Tata Steel.”

Davey explained “It is not only important to us but also the whole of the Welsh Economy that Tata Steel continues to flourish and be successful, and that is why year-on-year we endeavour not only to give Tata the best possible service levels we can, but also to see what other significant improvements we can make .

“If we take the all-weather dock terminal for instance, we only had enough financial resources to cover Phase 1 of the Project. We are conscious that we still need to complete Phases 2 and 3 to give us the ultimate finished product. Phase 2 will entail the complete enclosure of performing vessels once inside the Terminal so that we can carry out work even in the very worst of weather conditions.  This in turn will give Tata Steel a distinct advantage when negotiating freight contracts with various ship owners and their customers.”

Bird Port is one of the smallest enclosed cargo handling dock systems in the UK. Its main dock has a quay length of 225 metres but it handles nearly three-quarters of a million tonnes of cargo on an annual basis.

The company also provides services for neighbours Liberty Steel. Since re-opening their steel production plant in 2015, Cargo Services has worked closely with them as their appointed stevedoring – unloading and loading cargo - contractor handling imports of steel slabs and exports of finished products totaling more than 250,000 tonnes. Unlike Bird Port, which is limited to vessels of up to 8,000 tonnes capacity, the Liberty Steel jetty can handle vessels in excess of 20,000 tonnes and both Liberty Steel and Cargo Services are keen to develop the use of the jetty further.

“In 2016 we handled our first ever biomass cargo through Bird Port for Liberty’s sister company Simec who operate the nearby Uskmouth Power Station,” added Davey.

“At Finance Wales we’re keen to support expanding businesses like Cargo Services who offer invaluable infrastructure and support to Welsh industry,” explained Investment Executive Navid Falatoori, who helped structure the deal. “The plans for the future expansion of the Bird Port site and the Liberty Steel jetty are impressive and show real ambition, not just for themselves, but for the wider business community.”