According to the latest statistics published by the Forestry Commission, the development of the timber industry in the UK has been a major success story. To a great extent this has been the result of large investments expanding the processing capacity of timber handling businesses during the last 20 years.

In fact the sector has grown so much that the UK forestry industry is estimated to be contributing over £7bn annually to GDP, and directly employing some 167,000 people.

As the leading port operator in the UK with a wide network of 21 ports, ABP plays a key role in the timber industry’s success as its ports handle nearly two million tonnes of forest products, including timber, every year. From the Ports of Ayr and Troon in Scotland to the Humber, and further south to King’s Lynn and Ipswich in East Anglia, ABP offers its customers a broad range of trade routes for their cargo.

While the Humber region, which is home to the Ports of Hull and Immingham, is considered the epicentre of the UK’s trade in forest products, ABP also continues to invest in the modernisation of facilities and equipment across its entire port network.

Further down the east coast, the Ports of King’s Lynn and Ipswich specialise in handling forest products and sawn goods, running regular services from Scandinavia and the Baltic states. Extensive areas of covered storage are available at both ports.

The Port of Ipswich also offers a dedicated timber treatment plant, which provides convenient and cost-effective long-term, preservative protection services. ABP’s expert team at the port use tried and trusted Tanalith wood preservative with added BARamine to produce Tanalised pressure treated timbers at the plant. The plant is also equipped with two high-pressure treatment vessels operating with Surcon – a steam conditioning process that helps preservatives fix more quickly. Each of the two vessels has a 24m3 capacity and is furnished with the latest control software technology to help ensure accurate and cost effective treatments for ABP’s customers.

A further advantage that ABP customers can rely on if they choose to use the timber treatment plant is that ABP guarantees that their product will be processed to a standard that meets the requirements of EU regulations. ABP has all the relevant environmental licences and can guarantee that it has been audited and meets standards. (For more information about ABP’s Ipswich Timber Treatment plant please visit: www. Located on the Wash on the UK’s east coast, the Port of King’s Lynn is another hotspot for forest products. It is well connected by road to Cambridge, where the M11 leads down to the M25 and east to Leicester and the M1. It provides a full range of terminal operations for both cargo shippers and receivers, including haulage to buyers’ yard, on-dock machining, pick-apack services and 7,000m2 of transit stores.

Timber constitutes a substantial part of the cargo handled at the port and the majority comes from the Baltics and Scandinavia, in particular from Sweden. ABP has several tenants for whom it handles timber imports, including Travis Perkins plc.

The high demand for regular timber shipments coming into the Port of King’s Lynn has also led to continued investment in improvements in port infrastructure. In the last six months ABP has optimised the usage of space by removing sheds to free up the inner dock area and improve capacity for its customers. This has enabled ABP to create a dedicated space for timber products, allowing the business to keep everything in the same area and reduce storage costs, as well as optimising the handling time of stock as it travels to customers’ premises outside the port estate.

In addition to Travis Perkins, another high profile customer at King’s Lynn is Metsä Wood UK, which has offices adjacent to ABP’s port and which has been located there for many years.

Other improvements made by ABP have included investments in cargo handling equipment as well as new forklifts. ABP’s Port of King’s Lynn is committed to enabling the group to grow its business sustainably by providing specialist forest product operators, dedicated facilities and excellent road and rail connections.

With the support of its customers, ABP’s Ports of East Anglia – King’s Lynn, Lowestoft and Ipswich – contribute £360m to the UK economy every year. They support 3,700 jobs in the region and 5,300 jobs nationally. As a business, ABP is committed to keeping timber businesses across the UK trading in order to continue to support the prosperity of local communities and positively contribute to future job growth.