Roll up, roll up: Bristol Port ramp up operationsPublished: Friday 20th March 2020
Bulk buying, fighting in supermarkets aisles, stealing from hotels, inflated sales on eBay, hashtag challenges on social media, even people making it themselves – the humble loo roll has become an unlikely symbol of the Coronavirus crisis.
But there is good news for toilet roll obsessives worried at the sight of empty shelves: help is on its way.
Bristol Port today revealed that in response to unprecedented demand, it has been able to process 20% extra raw materials to toilet roll manufacturers across the UK. Over the past two weeks, lorries with 28-tonne loads of wood pulp have been leaving the Port at a record rate – the equivalent of one every hour, 24/7 – carrying enough material to make around 4.5 million loo rolls in total.
The wood pulp is imported from Brazil, with more than 100,000 tonnes arriving at Bristol Port in the past six months. It is stacked to the ceiling in huge warehouses on the Port estate, before being loaded into lorries and transported to major tissue mills from Swansea, to Manchester, and Prudhoe in the North East. There, the pulp is squashed, pressed, rolled and dried to turn it into toilet tissue for all the leading UK brands.
James Stangroom, Commercial Manager said: “Ports are critical to how this country functions - keeping supply chains moving so that the public are fed, watered and have access to vital commodities required.
“That the current ‘must have’ is toilet paper is a surprise to many, but if it discourages more panic buying, and helps to boost morale in these difficult times, we’re happy to reassure the British public we are working around the clock to receive and process these – and there are plenty more to come in the days and months ahead!”
Mr Stangroom said that Bristol Port currently has 37,000 tonnes of wood pulp in stock and a shipment of a further 25,000 tonnes due to arrive in April – “more than enough for the UK’s consumption”, he said.