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UPM Tilhill Solves Timber Transport Issue

UPM Tilhill has been praised for playing an integral role in finding an innovative and practical solution for transporting timber from remote Scottish coastal and island locations to markets on the mainland.

A 750-tonne ferry, which once carried passengers around the Greek islands, has been refitted in order to fill a new role in Scotland’s booming forestry sector. The newly named ‘Red Princess’ will enable approximately 118,500 tonnes of timber from the remote sites to reach Ayrshire’s wood processing sector over the next two years.

Red Princess Leaving Ardoran

Red Princess Leaving Ardoran

UPM Tilhill, Adam Wilson & Sons (part of Glennon Brothers Ltd) and the Troon Tug Company are partners in the pilot which was praised by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse.

The Red Princess was launched by Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, at the Glennon Brothers site (formerly Adam Wilson & Sons), in the port of Troon, on Monday 3rd November 2014.

Minister Wheelhouse said: “This is an innovative and practical solution to a challenging problem and the Scottish Government is delighted to support it.

“It is a classic forestry solution, delivering green growth - it adds economic value by accessing more timber for the market and putting money into island and coastal economies, while contributing to the Scottish Government’s carbon-reduction target."

Gavin Brown, Highland Regional Harvesting Manager for UPM Tilhill, added: “Our philosophy is to be professional, versatile, competitive and reliable and this project ticks all those boxes. The forests in question are geographically remote where the use or construction of roads is impractical, uneconomic or both - and the sites do not have sufficient volume to justify a more permanent solution such as a fixed or floating pier which provided us with a solution to these issues on the Isle of Mull .

“There has been strong commitment and co-operation by all parties involved in the development of this project which is important not only for the supply of timber, but also to offer a solution for forest owners of maturing timber with access difficulties."

The Scottish Government’s Strategic Timber Transport Scheme (STTS) is supporting the pilot, which involves building timber storage areas and temporary bunds at five forest locations in Argyll and Arran. The bunds allow Red Princess’s ramp to access the shoreline whatever the tide conditions.

The STTS is contributing £217,000 to the pilot (50 per cent of the cost of building the bunds and storage areas, with the remainder coming from the forest owners) which is expected to transport 118,500 tonnes of timber from the five sites over two years. A report will evaluate the pilot and if successful, it is hoped it can be rolled out over a wider area with materials used to build the bunds recycled at different sites.

The Troon Tug Company has invested £1.3 million in Red Princess which can access the shoreline of remote coasts and sea lochs. It will deliver the logs for use in construction and fencing to the harbour at Troon next to Adam Wilson & Sons’ sawmill and a short drive from UPM’s Caledonian Paper mill and biomass plant.

Red Princess complements the Timberlink coastal shipping service which also delivers wood to Troon with funding from the Scottish Government. Timberlink collects from harbours in Argyll while Red Princess will service forests other haulage cannot reach.

UPM Tilhill, established more than 60 years ago, is a national company operating from a network of offices throughout the UK. UPM Tilhill is the UK’s largest forest management and timber harvesting company. The company provides a full range of consultancy and contracting services to the forest owner and forestry investor.


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