Welsh Slate shipments clock up the miles

The UK slate manufacturer’s shipments continue to evolve.

Shipments of decorative aggregate within Europe are continuing to grow and evolve for leading UK manufacturer Welsh Slate, part of the Lagan Group.

A total of seven shipments totalling almost 14,000 tonnes were made in 2017 from “Port Penrhyn” at Bangor, near to the manufacturer’s main Penrhyn quarry at Bethesda in North Wales, to feed the continuing demand for decorative aggregates.

There had been four shipments in 2016 – three to Redsun Garden Products, one of the largest producers of precast products in Germany, and one to UK distributor Long Rake Spar via Rye in East Sussex.

Historically, Welsh Slate has been shipped out of Port Penrhyn since the 14th Century and by the 19th Century Welsh slate was being shipped to all the major UK ports as well as western European destinations.

The worldwide use of slate from the 18th Century onwards followed the trade routes of the major British shipping lines, complementing the import of cotton from America and wool from Australia, when roofing slates were used as ballast in the ships.

And the journey for Welsh Slate aggregates does not just stop at the overseas ports. For Redsun, the material is typically reloaded onto two barges at Rotterdam and transferred to Zand and Grindelwald at Waalwijk in the Netherlands. Half is then taken by road to Redsun at Kevelaer in Germany for distribution throughout mainland Europe.

Redsun took two shipments of approximately 1,650 tonnes each in 2017 while five shipments of approximately 1,360 tonnes each went to a little nearer home for Long Rake Spar.

And Long Rake Spar has already booked five deliveries for 2018, to supply a Tarmac project for DIY giant B&Q, thus continuing to reinforce the growing importance of this element of Welsh Slate’s business.

These deliveries bring 2017’s total of shipments to a record-breaking seven and shows how Welsh Slate’s shipping heritage has evolved to contemporary use to meet the ever-growing requirement for decorative aggregates.

Neil Rowland, commercial manager (crushed products) for Welsh Slate, said: “Demand for our aggregates products is growing exponentially throughout the UK as well as much further afield.”