Materials masters

A vital component of one of the leading players in the building materials industry, CEMEX UK – North West’s operations across this rapidly developing region of the UK are among the group’s largest in Europe

CEMEX is a business that is no stranger to the pages of Construction & Civil Engineering. A global building solutions provider, and a leading supplier of cement, ready-mixed concrete, building products, asphalt and aggregates, its various divisions and activities have been covered in-depth in previous issues of the magazine. One that has yet to have the spotlight shone on its operations, until now, is CEMEX UK – North West, and assisting in doing so is Damon Montgomery, General and Commercial Manager at CEMEX UK Materials.

“We define ourselves as being true leaders when it comes to materials, with our three main product lines being ready-mixed concrete, aggregates and asphalt,” Damon begins. “Today, we operate no fewer than 22 ready-mixed plants in the North West, which have purposely been situated in city centres and/or urban markets, several rail and aggregate depots in our key markets such as Salford and Warrington, and we have access to several quarries, including Dove Holes Quarry, one of the largest quarries in Europe. Dove Holes supplies significant volumes in the North West and out to other CEMEX rail and road locations around the UK. Strong rail connectivity also allows CEMEX to connect directly with customers further afield. We also have two other large limestone quarries, Halkyn Quarry and Raynes Quarry, the latter being located close to Connah’s Quay, where CEMEX has sea operations allowing materials to be transported into other UK ports and Europe as well.”

Fundamentally, CEMEX UK – North West is able to provide its customers across the board with either a single or multi-product offering, whether they be a local, independent builder looking to build an extension to a single home, or a large-scale construction company seeking a one-stop-source for their materials needs. “To give you an idea of the scope of our activities, within our ready-mixed operation we can utilise our volumetric business VALUEMIX to supply DIY customers, while at the same time we have the capacity and capability to supply over 200,000 cubic metres of concrete to projects such as the Mersey Gateway Crossing Project, one of the largest bridge crossings to be built in Europe in the last 30 years,” Damon states.

Indeed, one of the defining propositions that the business has going for it is the fact that it can provide huge individual pours to major city centre and urban infrastructure projects, and has done so successfully on projects such as the Circle Square Manchester commercial development and the city’s Oxygen Towers apartment complex. “We have the ability to pour 1000 metres of concrete in a single run, which is invaluable to our customers when tackling projects involving things like basement shafts and sizeable building structures,” Damon continues. “Meanwhile, we also have the flexibility within our other material fields to provide the likes of the new Congleton bypass in Cheshire, or Manchester Airport Terminal 2 with thousands of tonnes of aggregates.”

For CEMEX, the North West of England has been a considerable source of business in recent years, with construction rates here outstripping the UK average and with all signs pointing to the fact that the urbanisation growth model will only intensify as city centre populations increase. As far as CEMEX UK – North West is concerned, it strongly believes that it has the asset profit to meet ever-increasing client demands. “If you take Manchester as a single example, in the last 18 months we have been involved in supplying materials to a significant number of the major construction builds for residential towers alone,” Damon adds. “Equally, for infrastructure and from an aggregate perspective, we have been deeply engaged with projects such as the upgrade of the M60 and M62 SMART motorways, and the A6 SEMMS Road upgrade, while also remaining fully committed to serving our small end customer market at the same time.”

In order to continue to meet said demand, the business is also working hard to improve its infrastructure, and to introduce new ideas and solutions that will benefit its customers. One area that it has invested capital into is its rail infrastructure, working with its rail freight provider to upgrade the carriages it uses to transport materials in order to increase the volume of goods transported. In doing so, the business has also contributed to a 25 per cent decrease in truck movements, thus making considerable emission savings. CEMEX UK – North West also has a programme in place to upgrade and increase the capacity of its existing plants and assets.

Physical assets aside, CEMEX as a group has an enviable track record for developing various back office solutions that end users find invaluable. One of those is a digital platform known as CEMEX Go. A first-of-its-kind, customer integration platform, CEMEX Go is a multi-device offering that facilitates order placement, live tracking of shipments, and managing invoices and payments for CEMEX’s main products. “CEMEX Go has been on the market for approximately two years now, and customers have responded incredibly positively to its 360-degree offering which allows them to connect to us quicker and easier than ever before,” Damon says. “In the North West alone, over half of our orders are today placed through CEMEX Go, and we have exciting plans to improve our digital infrastructure further still going forward.”

As far as the immediate future is concerned, Damon is expecting 2020 to ultimately be a year of continued growth. “The housing market – particularly residential developments – may have slowed slightly in recent months, however we know that there are a number of existing and forthcoming projects out there, which gives us room for optimism,” he explains. “In the meantime, we will continue to invest in CEMEX UK – North West’s presence in city centre markets such as Liverpool and Manchester, where the pipeline for infrastructure projects is massive, and where we look forward to being involved in some of the most exciting developments that the coming years have to offer.”

CEMEX UK – North West
Products: Ready-mixed cement, aggregates and asphalt