Burnley scrap dealer eyes Far East market for export after huge investment

A family scrap dealing business which started life 60 years ago in Burnley is looking to the future with a huge capital investment designed to boost its exporting dreams.

Metro Metals (Burnley) Ltd, originally based under the arches on Princess Way, has just invested a seven figure sum in a 1,000 tonne shear at its home on the Heasandford Industrial Estate.

Ambitious owner Ross Sheckleton told the Burnley Express of his hopes for the next chapter in the family business - to increase its export share from around 30% currently to around 85% in the future.

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He said: "A lot of Burnley people will remember us from our old home under the arches near Burnley College. We basically outgrew the site and moved to Widow Hill Road in 2006, which has enabled us to expand our operation.

The new shear

"There has been a huge growth in demand for scrap metal in markets such as the Far East, India and Pakistan, and we want to expand our exporting to these places. Unfortunately the equipment we had wasn't big enough for the productivity we need.

"The containers, which the metal is shipped out on, have got to be viable. The new shear, which we have purchased from a firm in northern Italy will allow us to increase our volume.

"The Far East has lots of small steelworks and foundries but nothing of our size, and they don't have the infrastructure we have. A lot of our metal in this country comes from local scrap merchants, demolition and vehicle dismantlers."

Mr Shekleton, who revealed that the lockdown had slowed the process of installing the new machinery, said his business has been classed as an essential industry and has therefore been able to continue operating during the pandemic.

Former Burnley MP and borough councillor Gordon Birtwistle said: "It is great to see a local company investing and staying in its home town during these difficult times. I wish them all the best."