Carr’s Flour expects to cut over 250,000 truck miles and 4,000 lorry journeys from its wheat distribution operation by shipping grain for its Hutchison’s mill to the newly restored port at Kirkcaldy.

The port has been upgraded so that it is able to receive grain cargo ships in an initiative spearheaded by Carr’s after the harbour fell into disrepair almost 20 years ago. The Scottish Government helped fund the project with a grant of £800,000 for the installation of new silos and conveying equipment, while Forth Ports, which owns the harbour, also invested in its restoration.

Grain from Canada and Germany, which was previously trucked from ports in Liverpool and Perth, respectively, will now be shipped directly to Kircaldy, as will wheat from the south east of England, meaning the mill will not be so reliant on wheat grown in the north of England.

Duncan Monroe, managing director, Carr’s, said the project was not driven by cost considerations. "It’s more about quality, consistency and continuity of supply, plus the very real environmental benefits.

"We think this sea route could become even more important in the future as more low-quality wheat is grown in the north of England to feed the massive bio-ethanol plants."

A £200m bioethanol plant is due to open near Hull in 2012, joining a plant in Teesside, which opened in 2010.

Jim Duncan, sales director for Scotland, added: "It’s good to see ships berthed alongside our wheat silos once more. At the same time, we have reduced the number of lorry journeys into the mill by 4,000 per year."