TimberLINK project strengthens Ayrshire timber industry cluster

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Associated British Ports (ABP), the UK’s leading ports group, is proud to celebrate the renewal of its long-term contract with the sustainable TimberLINK service at its Ports of Ayr and Troon.

Operated by ABP on behalf of Scottish Forestry since 2000, the timber service plays a vital role in supporting port-centric manufacturing in the area, by reducing logistical supply chain costs for local businesses and strengthening Ayrshire’s timber industry cluster. The service also utilises sustainable marine transport and coastal shipping to reduce logistical supply chain costs.

Environment Minister, Mairi McAllan, welcomed the new contract and said: “Scotland’s forestry sector is a success story, providing a great range of benefits. It generates over £1 billion to Scotland’s economy every year and supports around 25,000 jobs.

“We want to help grow this prosperity ensuring that we have a sustainable timber transport resource to help achieve this.

“Where practical, I am keen to see a modal shift to coastal shipping and away from using rural roads, helping to decarbonise the forestry sector and contributing towards Scotland reaching Net Zero.

“I’m also pleased that this project substantially reduces the number of timber lorries having to use the A83, which is a key route used by rural communities.”

As part of the service, over 100,000 tonnes of timber and forest products are transported from the ports at Ardrishaig, Cambeltown and Sandbank, to the Ports of Ayr and Troon, where they are dispatched to local wood processing plants. This saves an estimated one million lorry miles per year, relieving road network congestion on the West Coast of Scotland, which helps reduce carbon emissions and support the local tourism industry.

Alex Murray, Head of Forestry for Glennon Brothers in Scotland, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the TimberLINK coastal shipping service has been renewed and will remain under the excellent stewardship of ABP. The service plays a vital role in meeting our raw material requirements and is a key component of our evolving decarbonisation strategy for our Troon sawmill.

We have hugely ambitious plans for our Troon site, and the ongoing success to the TimberLINK service is an integral part of our investment and development strategy for the site”

Stuart Cresswell ABP’s port manager of Ayr and Troon, said: “The TimberLINK operation out of the Ports of Ayr and Troon is a real success story and I am delighted that this forward-thinking service will continue. The sea route not only reduces lorry traffic on rural roads but also uses less fuel and produces fewer greenhouse gases.

“This project has created many growth opportunities for local businesses, both in Argyll and Ayrshire, and I feel confident that they will only strengthen and multiply with this continued operation.”

Together with their customers, ABP’s Ports of Ayr and Troon contribute £28 million to the regional economy every year.

Andrew Harston, ABP Wales and Short Sea Ports Regional Director, said: “It is fantastic news that our ports have once again been selected to support the TimberLINK service through a competitive tender process. We look forward to continuing to provide this essential and sustainable maritime transport service, which we have supported since 2000.”