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ABP acquisition of old ally will benefit Newport.

Byline: Sion Barry Business editor sion.barry@walesonline.co.uk

ASSOCIATED British Ports (ABP) has acquired WE Dowds (Shipping) Ltd for an undisclosed sum.

Established in 1960, Dowds is among the UK's leading familyowned port operations businesses. The company operates a total of 10 separate warehouses with a combined area of over 50,000 sq m, based at ABP's Newport port.

James Cooper, chief executive of ABP, said: "The acquisition of WE Dowds follows our long-established partnership with the company at the Port of Newport. "The deal builds on Dowds' excellent track record serving the UK steel market, enabling the business to continue to grow by providing first-class customer service. "As such, the transaction will also help secure further growth and success for the Port of Newport for many years to come." Matthew Kennerley, ABP director, south Wales, said: "We've been working closely with WE Dowds for many years and the business is an important part of the Port of Newport's success. We're looking forward to welcoming our new colleagues and achieving even greater success in the future."

Charles Dowds, managing Director of WE Dowds, said: "We have been pleased to work with ABP and its predecessor for over 50 years. Throughout that time ABP has demonstrated a strong commitment to the success of Dowds and the Port of Newport. The PS4m investment in the reconstruction of the Shed 5 facility is the most recent example.

"ABP's acquisition of Dowds demonstrates that their commitment to investment continues. We look forward to our future within the ABP family, which gives us an even more powerful platform to drive further growth."

Last year ABP's network of five ports in south Wales handled 12.5 million tonnes of cargo thanks to major investment in infrastructure and an ongoing commitment to delivering the highest standards of customer service.

Some 12.5 million tonnes of cargo were handled at Newport, Cardiff, Barry, Port Talbot and Swansea, with strong growth seen in both traditional and emerging sectors, serving south Wales and the wider UK economy.

Year-on-year growth was seen in several commodities including fertiliser to support the agriculture sector and aggregates for manufacturing, which both saw 14% growth up on 2016, while animal feed leapt by some 54%. Recyclables increased by 72% and scrap metal, both exports and imports, doubled in volume compared to the previous year, registering a rise of 108%. Mr Kennerley, said: "Our five ports are continuing to see strong growth thanks to the investment we have been delivering in enhanced infrastructure and facilities.

"This has helped both new and longstanding customers to further develop and grow their businesses.

"Our ports in south Wales are vital strategic assets of national importance. Strong growth across our ports is not just success for ABP and our customers, it's success for the Welsh economy. "Every year our ports contribute PS1.4m to the economy and support 15,000 jobs. We are committed to continuing to invest to support our customers, enabling that contribution to grow.

"We're excited about the growth that our investment promises to deliver in the year ahead."

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Matthew Kennerley is ABP director, south Wales

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 6, 2018
Words:523
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