Sustainable development has become a permanent by line to any reference to the future of construction and the importance of leaving a positive legacy for generations to come is indisputable. For Corus, sustainable construction is viewed as a balance between the social, economic and environmental requirements of society. However, mere recognition of this achieves little, and the challenge is to find practical and affordable ways to translate sustainability into everyday business practice and actually deliver it.

Following the investment of £11 million under the Corus Future Shotton Programme in 2005, Corus Colors is already able to demonstrate how the business is realising this sustainability triple bottom line and making a positive contribution to reducing the environmental impact of the company.

In November 2005, a new railhead and warehouse was opened at the Corus manufacturing facility in Shotton, Deeside as part of the company’s £11 million investment programme at the site. Covering 6,500 square meters and capable of holding 16,000 tonnes of uncoated strip and 1,500 tonnes of finished products, the warehouse cost £3 million to build and is one of the largest steel coil facilities in Europe.


Before the railhead was opened, incoming coils would arrive by rail from Corus’ Port Talbot and Llanwern works in South Wales, and be stored in the former Cold Strip Mill where production had ceased. Creation of this new coil storage facility and removal of the obsolete plant enabled large areas of the old mill to be refurbished and made ready for new commercial use.

Two years on

Two years on, it is clear that not only does Shotton continue to provide an excellent base for the plant, but also that the development has been a huge success in environmental terms by taking lorries off the roads and saving nearly 50,000 road trips each year.

Vital in today’s construction industry is the issue of the environment and how businesses can optimise their profitability whilst also putting sustainability at the top of the agenda. So by eliminating 500,000 road miles just by using the new railhead facility demonstrates that the investment from Corus not only improves the performance of the business by facilitating Just-in-Time logistics but also makes a significant environmental contribution.

Damon Winterbottom, Transport and Warehousing Manager at Corus Colors, Shotton, commented: “I am delighted at the success of Shotton Railhead. Sustainability is becoming more and more important in the construction industry and as a part of that industry we have a responsibility to work towards a sustainable goal.

Already, after only two years, we can see we are making huge savings at Shotton. I hope we will continue to improve on this savings year on year.”

What Shotton railhead is saving

  • The facility is serving to eliminate 46,800 internal road journeys each year, which is equal to around 93,600 miles.

  • 50,000 tonnes of external road transport from South Wales are also eliminated, saving 2,500 trips and 400,000 road miles.

  • Reducing deliveries of finished stock by road by back loading shunts with 240 coils per week is saving 1248000 road miles per year.