Jul 20 2005 Sion Barry, Western Mail.
A SOUTH Wales sand extraction business has put itself on firm expansion ground after investing £1m in a new vessel.
Following successful sea trials, Severn Sands of Newport has commissioned former 1,400-ton coaster the Argabay - which has been fitted with a 45-ton re-handling machine allowing it to discharge directly onto quaysides.
Severn Sands' first ship could only deliver sand to Newport and Chepstow, but the Argabay can also work out of Cardiff and Avonmouth - its German-built crane has a 360 degree turning circle which can discharge 900 tons of sand per trip.
Severn Sands, which employs 35+, is owned by Bob Breen.
The company dredges sand from the River Severn for sale to builders' merchants.
Finance for the purchase and conversion work on the ship was arranged by Neil Dawkins of Lloyds TSB Corporate's Cardiff office.
Mr Dawkins said, "Severn Sands has gone through significant change in the past three years including a shareholder buy-out and moving into new premises. "Having assisted Bob with these two deals the bank has now provided the facilities to enable the company to purchase and convert this ship, which had become a priority and was the final piece in Severn Sands' immediate strategy for business success."
Severn Sands is licensed by Swan Grove Estates to extract 250,000 tons from the River Severn per year.
It also has applications submitted to Swan Grove and Crown Estates for additional licences.