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Timber Trader Trio Clear Back-Log in Scotland With Cargoes Discharged in Wicklow Port

21st March 2018

#Ports&Shipping - It was busy in Wicklow Port following the St. Patrick's Holiday Monday as a trio of timber traders arrived yesterday to dicharge cargoes and then depart within the same day, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Round timber (i.e. logs) which is a common trade to Wicklow Port and used for the contruction industry, however encountered delays when loading at Scottish ports according to Conway Port. The Wicklow based ships agency, warehouse and distribution company, added the back-log at Scottish west coast ports was caused by snow and windy conditions. Such severe weather has battered most of Europe coupled by this latest spate of wintry weather.

Of the trio of timber-trading cargoships that docked in Wicklow, two were sisters. Burhou I was first to arrive yesterday morning laden with the forest-product loaded in Port Ellen, Islay in the Hebrides. The cargoship on arrival in Wicklow (see related story) docked at the principle Packet Quay berth.

Sister, Isis (see Afloat's report from Ramsey, Isle of Man) had loaded but on the Scottish mainland at Sandbanks, Holy Loch on the Firth of Clyde. From there, Isis made a lunchtime arrival in Wicklow, this involved berthing beyond Burhou I at the North Quay, facing opposite of the town.

Burhou I and Isis, represent an older generation of coaster, as this year the German built veterans are 40 years in service. Both of the 674grt sisters are operated by Great Glen Shipping Company Limited based at their homeport of Corpach, Fort William close to Ben Nevis.

At 57m long and on a beam of 10m, the 'Glen' sisters are ideally placed to service small piers and harbours that suits the ethos of the Scottish operator. This is to provide vital logistical links to the Highlands and Islands and a core focus in removing lorry traffic from the region's road network.

In addition, the pair are easily suited to Wicklow Port and when required berthing within the relative confines of the River Vartry at the North Quay. This is when berthing at times coincides with the local fishing fleet that raft-up opposite along the South Quay.

The third timber caller to Wicklow was Ayress (1,713grt) having sailed also from the Clyde, but from Troon and which made an arrival to Wicklow Port but not until late afternoon. Discharging of round-timber shortly began operations using the port's Liebherr crane. This larger short-sea trader, at 79m long and a beam of 12.8m, had taken the berth from where Burhou I previously occupied before the coaster returned to the Clyde but to Ayr. 

As for the aforementioned Ayress, this cargoship again dates to the same decade as of the rival 'Glen' pair, having been completed in 1979. The cargoship operated by Coast Lines Ltd, based in Midleton, Co. Cork, is a short-sea trader flagged in Dominica. The company asides trading in timber are also engaged in transporting coal, fertiliser, salt and stone.

Conway Port added that business in Wicklow is marginally on the increase compared to 2017 and this year they have 150 ships scheduled. Of those, Jevenau was also expected to arrive yesterday, however the 89m cargoship arrived from Greenore, Co. Louth this morning. On this occasion the cargo concerned was recycled metals, though the port can also handle packaged timber, glass, aggregates, agri-products in addition to project cargoes.

Two years ago, Wicklow became the first port to transfer from a port company under the National Ports Policy. Prior to the Wicklow Port Company, the entity up until 2002 had been in the hands of Wicklow Harbour Commissioners. The docking of three ships in one day is not unusual for the regional port. 

As for this year, on June 30 to be precise, sees the return of the famous Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race organised by Wicklow Sailing Club. The premises of the WSC is located at the foot of the port's East Pier.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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