The funding will reduce the number of HGVs travelling on key routes in Scotland such as the A82 and M74 by transporting the timber by sea. Over 6,300 HGV journeys will be removed from these roads during the first three years of operation.

The new service will transport sawn-timber produced at BSW’s recently opened sawmill at Corpach to Tilbury in the south-east of England.

Transporting goods by road is often the most cost-effective way for companies however the Waterborne Freight Grant enables goods to be transported by water instead of road without the companies involved being out of pocket.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said:

“This new water freight service will help to reduce the number of HGVs travelling on one of our most iconic scenic tourist routes.

“It will also contribute to the sustainability of Scotland by reducing congestion, carbon emissions, noise, accidents and damage to our road network.

“We realise that moving freight by rail or water isn’t always the most cost-effective option and this freight grant funding can bridge that gap.”

Tony Hackney, Chief Executive of BSW Timber, said:

“Over the past five years BSW has invested £43 million into our Fort William mill, doubling our production output and creating one the largest and most advanced sawmill sites operating anywhere in the UK.

“The Waterborne Freight Grant from the Scottish Government allows us to develop a sustainable logistics solution into the South East of England to support more investment for Fort William. It will help us feed the demand for home-grown Scottish timber in a UK market traditionally dominated by imports, as well as significantly improving service to our customers across the country.

“The investment will also have a positive local environmental impact by reducing the number of lorries using the A82 tourist route and reducing local road congestion in Fort William.”

The Scottish Government operates four freight mode shift grant schemes, which aim to enable companies to transport freight by rail or water rather than road without financial penalty.

Notes to editors

    Where new rail or water freight services remove lorry journeys from roads in England as well as Scotland the Scottish and UK Governments have the necessary powers to share the cost of funding of freight mode-shift grant awards. In this case the Department for Transport has agreed to contribute £262,298 towards the total grant award of £959,773.

    The aim of the Waterborne Freight Grant scheme is to provide financial support to new shipping services which result in the removal of freight from our roads, where road haulage is the cheaper option.

    The start-up grant will be paid in arrears to Boyd Brothers for this cross-border service over a three year period.

    It is projected that 25,000 tonnes will be transported by sea in year one increasing to 50,000 tonnes by year 3. This will remove 6,336 HGV journeys from the roads between Corpach and the London area, including the A82 south of Fort William and the M74, during the first 3 years of operation.

Published 6 Nov 2014