Tim­ber trans­port con­tract re­newed

The Oban Times - - News -

A TIM­BER trans­port ser­vice that de­liv­ers en­vi­ron­men­tal and com­mu­nity ben­e­fits by tak­ing tim­ber lor­ries off pub­lic roads is to con­tinue for an­other five years.

The Tim­berLINK ser­vice trans­ports by ship as much as 90,000 tonnes of Argyll tim­ber each year to pro­ces­sors in Ayr­shire – and re­moves around 900,000 lorry miles from the pub­lic roads net­work.

Re­cently re-ten­dered, the con­tract to man­age the ser­vice has been won by Associated Bri­tish Ports (ABP).

Sup­ported by the Strate­gic Tim­ber Trans­port Fund, the new £ 800,000, five-year con­tract will run un­til April 2022.

Fer­gus Ewing, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s Ru­ral Af­fairs Sec­re­tary, said: ‘ Tim­berLINK is an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of how sup­port from the Strate­gic Tim­ber Trans­port Fund is de­liv­er­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal and com­mu­nity ben­e­fits to Scot­land’s ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

‘This is a vi­tal ser­vice that helps both to un­lock Argyll’s tim­ber re­sources and to sup­port eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment around the lo­cal ports.

‘It re­duces fuel us­age and cuts car­bon emis­sions and, by re­duc­ing the num­ber of tim­ber lorry jour­neys on Argyll’s com­plex roads net­work, helps to cut con­ges­tion, re­duce driver frus­tra­tion and re­duce ac­ci­dent risk. That is wholly to be wel­comed.’

The level of for­est cover in Argyll is twice the Scot­tish av­er­age and the area pro­duces around 15 per cent of Scot­land’s tim­ber.

How­ever, lim­ited lo­cal processing ca­pac­ity means that much of this has to be transported to mar­kets out­side Argyll.

Stu­art Cress­well, ABP’s port man­ager, said: ‘ We are de­lighted to have won the con­tract to man­age the Tim­berLINK ser­vice for the third time.

‘Hav­ing op­er­ated the ser­vice suc­cess­fully for 15 years, we have of­fered con­ti­nu­ity for the for­est in­dus­try sec­tor and look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing this suc­cess into the fu­ture.’

Fer­gus Ewing wel­comed the con­tract agree­ment.

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