What is TimberLINK?
TimberLINK is a public service contract, funded by the Scottish Government, to support short-sea coastal shipping of roundwood from Argyll to Ayrshire to reduce impacts on communities and the environment of timber transport via the A83 (and other roads) from Argyll to Ayrshire.
Forest cover in Argyll (30%) is almost double that of the Scottish average (18%) and the area produces around 15% of Scotland’s timber. Limited local processing capacity, however, means that much of this timber leaves Argyll to be processed in central Scotland and Ayrshire.
From this, there is high demand for timber transport in an area with complex geography which means that road transportation involves a circuitous route of around 190 miles on roads that are not ideal for HGV traffic. In contrast, transport across the Firth of Clyde requires a sea journey of just 50 miles.
Coastal shipping of timber via TimberLINK was, therefore, designed principally as an environmental initiative, providing a sustainable alternative to road haulage to enable significant reductions in fuel usage and carbon emissions, reduced traffic congestion on the trunk roads and associated impacts on air quality, noise, and visual amenity along the route.
Overall, the TimberLINK service ships up to 100,000 tonnes of timber a year which avoids around 8,000 lorry journeys – or nearly 1 million lorry miles – from roads between Argyll and Ayrshire. To date, since 2000, the TimberLINK service has shipped 2,115,233 tonnes of timber, which has avoided 21,471,641 lorry miles, and 42,080 tonnes CO2 emissions.
TimberLINK is delivered by Associated British Ports
More detail on the TimberLINK service is available in the TimberLINK Environmental and Economic Evaluation document, and the STTS Annual Report.