Large scrap metal fire breaks out at UK Avonmouth dock

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A large fire has broken out at a ferrous scrap stockpile at global metals recycler Sims Metal Management's Avonmouth dock in southwest England, affecting up to 20,000t of scrap currently at the site.

Avon Fire and Rescue service said that crews from multiple fire services in the region responded to reports of a fire at the Avonmouth dock site from 22:41 BST (21:41 GMT) yesterday.

On arrival, the crews found a fire involving 20,000t of scrap metal. The incident was ongoing as of 11:00 BST today and video footage indicates that the fire continued to burn, sending out large clouds of smoke across the M5 motorway near Bristol.

The extent of the damage to the dock's scrap inventory and other facilities was not clear and is unlikely to be until the fire has been fully brought under control.

Avonmouth is the largest deep-sea ferrous scrap export hub for Sims UK, which is the country's second-largest metals recycler. The company typically dispatches bulk cargoes in the range of 18,000-25,000t from the port, at a rate of one to two cargoes a month, according to vessel tracking data processed by Argus.

The Argus vessel tracker indicates that the most recent bulk scrap shipment from Avonmouth was an estimated 25,000t cargo dispatched on 22 September, headed for Turkey.

An estimated 454,000t of ferrous scrap was exported via deep-sea bulk shipment from Avonmouth in 2019, and an estimated 305,000t has been shipped in 2020 to date.

By Ronan Murphy

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