Sussex Port Forwarding are the Operations Department for Shoreham Port Authority and are heavily involved in adapting to new business opportunities to expand the commercial activity at the port.

Soft wood timber is imported by ship from the Baltic countries and Scandinavia and off loaded at Shoreham Port, to avoid the situation of the ship leaving the UK empty, a new ‘return load’ has been sourced.

As a result, two new Manitou telehandlers, the 6 metre lift height MLT634 models have been recently purchased from Manitou dealer Doe Power at Albourne, West Sussex to work at Shoreham dock in the hold of ships to compress biomass, which is timber waste from construction related industries. The biomass derives mainly from sorted and graded wood waste from skip hire companies and consists of old kitchen units, doors, pallets and general construction timber waste which is delivered to Shoreham port as processed loose bulk material.

A Sennebogen 870 mobile crane with a 10cu metre biomass ‘orange peel’ grab loads the material into the vessel to approximately 1 metre depth. The Manitou machine then constantly drives over the biomass and pushes it with the front general purpose bucket attachment for an even distribution, before the next layer is loaded and the process starts all over again. It is important that the ships load capacity is maximised for economical reasons. The compaction ratio is important to ensure the right amount of biomass is loaded into each vessel, too much compaction results in difficulty to unload, too little and the volume shipped is uneconomical.

Alan Motterham, Commercial/ Operations Director of Shoreham Port Forwarding: “The combination of the Sennebogen crane and the Manitou handlers has allowed our compaction to stow and loading times to be greatly improved. We can achieve 2,000 tones of biomass to be loaded onto a ship in just 18 hours.”

The biomass is then exported to Scandinavia where it is burnt as a fuel at newly built power stations for conversion into electricity and hot water for domestic usage.

With the continuing rise in cost of landfill taxes and the related green environmental issues the increase in wood waste has resulted in Shoreham Port forwarding securing a contract with Stobart Biomass to export the material. Alan Motterham and his team at Shoreham thoroughly researched the market and in their choice of method they quickly identifi ed the Manitou machines as the most suitable to the task involved.

“Our shopping list was very exacting and the choice of telehandler was based on the criteria of previous experience of ‘hired in’ machinery of all the different makes, the need for a reliable machine to work in a dry and dusty environment, therefore, an efficient reversible fan was vital. Manitou was the ideal solution and we specified foam fill tyres and steel doors to cope with the arduous application”. Also, the lights and mudguards have been removed from the Manitou machines to avoid potential damage and lifting points had to be considered to match the crane spreader bars.

The standard specification of the MLT634 resolved the overheating issues experienced with other makes of machines due to the self cleaning air intake system which when enabled allows the fins on the intake fan to twist and blow the radiators and intake screens clean for 30 seconds every 3 minutes of operation. This hugely increased productivity with operators spending less time to stop and manually clean the screens with brushes and air lines.

The turnaround timetable for the loading of biomass into the vessel is important and all the machinery can work up to 18 hours of 4 hour shifts to load the bigger vessels with 110 tonnes per hour throughput. Forty staff are employed by Shoreham Port for their operations department which is responsible for discharging and loading ships and handling and forwarding cargo loads.


• The port extends over a distance of 8km.

• Located on the south coast close to Brighton and equal distance between Dover and Southampton.

• A thriving commercial port with Marina and full leisure facilities.

• Government owned and administered by a Trust body with no shareholders. All profits are reinvested into the port facilities and local community projects.

• Timber is imported for supply to the construction industry in the south of England. Also, fertilizer is imported for British agriculture.

• Biomass and grain (wheat, barley and oats) are exported.

• An average of sixty lorries per day leave Shoreham Port with a full load of timber.

Manitou, the Material-Handling Reference, is headquartered in Ancenis (West of France). Manitou designs, assembles and distributes material-handling solutions for agriculture, construction and industry markets. Manitou reported in 2010 revenue of €838 millions, of which two thirds outside France. Business is conducted under the Manitou®, Gehl®, Mustang®, Loc® et Edge® trademarks, through 1,400 independent dealers in more than 120 countries.


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