Owens Group will be forced to close its Port Talbot depot with the loss of more than 90 jobs if Tata fails to find a buyer for the town’s steel works, MD Huw Owens has said.

Following Tata’s decision to put its entire UK steel business up for sale yesterday, hauliers in and around Port Talbot are assessing the impact of the news on their businesses today.

The Port Talbot steelworks, which has been reportedly haemorrhaging £1m a day as it struggles to compete with cheaper steel imports from China, employs more than 4,000 workers.

Speaking ahead of Tata’s announcement last night, Owens told Motortransport.co.uk that: “We are the main haulier for Tata at Port Talbot.

"We do 95% of the work out of there which accounts for 25% of the group’s turnover. Without a doubt, if Tata decide to close the plant, we will have to close our Port Talbot depot, which will see the best part of 90 staff losing their jobs.

"It will be a devastating blow for the company. However we are proper hauliers. We are fighters. It will be tough but we will get through it.”

Renault Owens group 3 LR

Owens said the company had diversified into the food, parcel delivery and warehousing sectors, to offset the impact of falling volumes in the steel industry, inking a number of deals with major supermarkets and Amazon and building up more than 609,000m² of warehousing across the UK.

He added today that he was in shock at Tata's decision and the company had told worried employees "to carry on as normal" until things become clearer.

Port Talbot-based Hiab specialist Doyle Transport is already feeling the impact of earlier cuts at the plant, general manager Peter Summers told Motortransport.co.uk.

The company has a number of direct and indirect contracts with Tata. “Work has dropped off very quickly since Christmas. It’s not a huge part of our business but it is sizeable.

"It varies - it can be as much as 30% one week and some weeks only 5%. So we are looking to diversify but it is difficult to do that in the current climate.”

Summers criticised the government for not doing more to help the UK steel industry, adding: “If the Port Talbot plant closes it will devastate the whole area. It will be a travesty.”

General hauliers are also feeling the impact, Ian Phillips, owner of Port Talbot based T&R Phillips, told Motortransport.co.uk.

He said: “Everyone is holding their breath. We are in a state of shock here. If they close the plant there will certainly be redundancies in our business. Although we don’t deal with steel directly we take all sorts of goods in there from hazardous material to safety wear, via our pallet networks.”

He added: “We are also feeling the effects of steel hauliers diversifying and moving into our sector which has a knock on effect on our business.”