GP Wood growing sustainability – like its forests

2 Aug , 2023  

GP Wood is one of Ireland’s largest suppliers of sawn softwood products and this past April saw a significant milestone reached for the Cork-based company. Therefore, Irish Tractor & Agri Plant felt the timing was perfect to profile the country’s busiest and most technologically advanced sawmill operation.

The busy times continue at GP Wood where they lead the way in innovative, efficient and sustainable timber processing.

Since its inception in April 2013, the company has also been committed to sustainable development and use only raw materials from suitably managed forests.

GP Wood’s state-of-the-art sawmills are located just 14 miles apart in Enniskeane and Lissarda, Co Cork – two of the most modern and efficient sawmills on the planet.

Investments of close to €20m in the plants at Enniskeane and Lissarda, have since seen it establish itself as one of Ireland’s largest and most advanced/diverse timber operation.

The company’s origins had come off the back of a merger between two long-established family businesses – the Grainger Group (Enniskeane) and the Palfab Group (Lissarda).

Both combined its experience and expertise and invested substantially in both sawmills and, as a result, GP Wood was born and has since been at the forefront of Ireland’s vital timber processing sector, manufacturing a diverse range of exceptional products focused on the construction, fencing, garden leisure and packaging markets.

From ‘Day One’, it’s a business which has been committed to providing its many clients with quality products and service excellence.

Indeed, GP Wood employs a professional, experienced forestry team and purchases logs from Coillte and private growers while also importing from abroad.

It also purchases and harvests standing timber – both thinnings and clearfells – and pay competitive prices for well managed lots, using the most modern harvesting equipment and techniques.

The company is headed up by directors Niall Grainger, Donal O’Callaghan, Susan Grainger and Gerard O’Callaghan – all four of whom hold vast experience when it comes to the timber processing sector – and it employs approximately 150 staff, with a further 250 indirect employees in its forestry operations.

Timber manufacturing at GP Wood focuses on the construction, fencing, garden leisure and packaging markets and it is very much the core business of the group.

Approximately 50 per cent of its sales are in the domestic Irish market, with the UK seeing in and around the other 50 per cent of sales and the rest going to the company’s long-standing customers in Europe.

As well as its own sawn products, GP Wood also imports part-processed timber from Scandinavia, Russia, the Baltic States and mainland Europe. It has diversified into added value markets through their joint venture investment in Eirebloc, manufacturers of pallet blocks from recycled timber.

Along with its bases in Co Cork, the firm operates a sales office in the UK, which is precisely located at Taylor Maxwell House, The Promenade, Clifton, Bristol (BS8 3NW).

It’s state-of-the art facilities in Ireland were created for kiln drying, machining and timber treatment and 2005 saw the country’s first largescale commercial biomass CHP plant constructed and it was designed around the Enniskeane sawmill’s energy requirements.

In using by-products from the sawmilling process, the plant produces 2.5 MW of electricity which is sold to the national grid, and 6 MW of thermal energy.

GP Wood has always been committed to the supply of consistently high-quality products on time and at a fair price and is continually looking at ways to improve product availability, as well as customer service.

The company is constantly improving processes by using the latest technological advances in both engineering and automated systems and, to this end, both facilities utilise some of the most modern wood processing techniques found on the continent today.

Since the merger a decade ago, GP Wood has been committed to investing €5 million in a range of initiatives including product enhancements.

It also endeavours to employ the best people in their field, as director Niall Grainger outlined when speaking in interview with this publication back in 2017.

“Both companies had very low turnover of labour prior to merging and GP Wood would not be here without our skilled workforce,” he stated.

“Sawmilling is a modern, state-of-the-art industry and there are so many skills and different facets involved across the board, from the office staff and sales team through to our saw doctors, marine engineers, electrical engineers, etc.

“The workforce is highly diverse and skilled – we only employ the best and we only employ people who care.”

It’s a practice which has continued right through at the company in the last six years and, with its excellent reputation amongst clientele, you can rest assured that all operations at GP Wood are carried out to the highest standards of Health & Safety, environmental awareness and sustainable forest management practice.

GP Wood
Main Street,
Co Cork.
Tel: +353 (0)23 882 2500
Fax: +353 (0)23 884 7698

First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 11 No 3, May/June 2023