An initial three-year deal with International Plywood will see the Port of Tyne provide office accommodation, cargo handling, covered storage and onward UK wide road distribution for timber products imported through the port.

The port, which has a prominent position in the coal-importing sector, said that prior to the agreement it did not have plywood-importing customers and there are currently no other solid wood or panel product clients.

"International Plywood has been importing plywood and panel products for a quarter of a century," said Ian Attwood, managing director for International Plywood.

Multi-geared break-bulk vessels will import plywood and other timber products to the Port of Tyne from the Baltics and as far afield as South East Asia and South America.

"The Port of Tyne is unique in its ability to not only manage break-bulk of non-containerised cargo but to also handle containerised products, storage and distribution providing optimal customer service." said Nolan Gray, business development director for Port of Tyne.

"The Port’s ability to handle larger vessels presents not only greater economies of scale for International Plywood as larger volumes can be handled per shipment but it also creates a positive environmental benefit."