Port of Hull-based Northern Cargo Services (NCS) has seen “vast space savings and increased operational efficiency” at its dedicated Finland Terminal having adopted a new concept in storage and handling based around the capabilities of the Combilift multi-directional forklift truck.
The company has been using a combination of counterbalance forklifts and sideloaders to free stack packs of incoming timber to the stipulated height of three packs, which meant that the upper half of the covered storage sheds were left empty.
A shift in customer demands and expectations prompted change. NCS managing director Richard Brough comments: “We are receiving more finished products from our client UPM Kymmene, which are then delivered to end-users without the need for further processing. Increased undercover storage and a higher standard of handling to protect them from damage and weathering were, therefore, becoming a priority to protect the condition of the cargo and to fulfil the expectations of UPM Kymmene and their end customers.”
The Combilift’s versatility to work not only in narrow warehouse aisles but also outside in all weathers and on semi-rough terrain was ideal for NCS, which is now using two custom-built diesel-powered trucks to meet its lift specifications of 3 tonnes at 7.5m.
Brough says: “We were averaging 650 packs in the shed with the free stacking arrangement, now we can store 1,000 to 1,250 packs in the same area. As each pack is individually marked and designated for specific customers, the combination of the racking and Combilifts makes it easier to locate and identify stock, avoiding consignment errors and resulting in the quicker picking times.”
The Port of Hull is a leading timber handling port, and handles more than one million tonnes of forest products a year.