Northern Cargo Services (NCS), the Port of Hull-based timber handling operator, has increased warehouse capacity at its Finland Terminal by 80% following a £320,000 investment in a new storage regime.

The company, a subsidiary of Associated British Ports, said more undercover storage and a higher standard of handling had been needed because of growing levels of finished goods being imported by its client UPM-Kymmene.

The investment comprises two custom-built diesel-powered multi-directional Combilift forklifts, guided rails to ensure rapid travel along storage aisles and a racking system from Redirack.

Previously, the company had used a combination of counterbalance forklifts and sideloaders to free stack packs of incoming timber to the height of three packs – leaving the upper half of covered storage sheds empty. Storage capacity has jumped from 650 packs to about 1,000-1,250 packs since the changes.

Combilift says NCS is the first port-based operation to introduce a new storage and handling system based around its vehicles. The two trucks meet lift specifications of three tonnes at 7.5m high, which means the top racking can be used for large packs up to 6m in length.

NCS managing director Richard Brough said: “It should prove a wise long-term decision to invest in this way rather than to spend at least twice the amount on utilising more land and building further sheds.”