WoodWeek 17 May 2017
Tis the season to kickstart our annual forestry awards ceremonies around the regions. Starting down south – the good folks from the lower South Island turned out in droves, over 350 in fact, to celebrate training success among our people. Over 120 certificates were presented to employees of local contractors and wood companies. Nine major industry awards were presented to high achievers.
Despite tree-planting being proven for climate change mitigation, the Government is hesitating without reason. NZFOA president, Peter Clark, says the time to start acting on sequestering carbon out of the atmosphere, by using trees, should begin now, not after a report next June.
He says, “The government is already supporting the up-take of electric vehicles without waiting for the Productivity Commission. There’s every reason to get the same impetus for tree planting, especially on farm and Maori owned land.”
On the east coast there is planning underway to ensure the Gisborne port can handle upcoming forest products shipments. Forestry is a regional success story and as a result Eastland Port needs moderate expansion to keep up, says General Manager Andrew Gaddum. “We can handle 2.9 million tonnes of wood per year but with a predicted 5 million tonnes of wood coming by 2024, we need to make some changes.”
Finally, there are only a few seats left for next month’s HarvestTECH conference in Rotorua. The event will be sold out before the end of the month. Register now to ensure you don't miss out. With well over 400 seats already sold there will be a wait-list, for hopeful delegates, to allow for last minute changes.
This week we have for you:
Get on with forest planting says industryNo need for delay in forest planting - Forest owners are saying the government needs to get extra forest planting under way and not wait until next year for a report to be presented on climate change.
The Minister for Climate Change, Paula Bennett, has announced the Productivity Commission will report back in June 2018 with recommendations for achieving a lower carbon economy, to enable New Zealand to achieve its Paris Agreement commitment of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels, by 30 per cent, by 2030.
The Forest Owners Association President, Peter Clark, says the time to start acting on sequestering carbon out of the atmosphere, by using trees, should begin now.
“The government is already supporting the up-take of electric vehicles without waiting for the Productivity Commission. There’s every reason to get the same impetus for tree planting, especially on farm and Maori owned land.”
“I agree, It might make sense for the government to take time to carefully work out a process to bring agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme for instance.”
“But if you want to lock up carbon dioxide, which is already in the atmosphere, there is only one option. It’s a no brainer. It doesn’t need a year to think about it. The answer is to get on and help get more trees planted. The recent Vivid Economics report on the need for up to nearly doubling the current 1.7 million hectares of New Zealand’s plantation forests was quite clear on this,” Peter Clark says.
The Vivid report stated “planting new forests is the only technology currently known and implementable on a large scale that has the capacity to remove large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”
Peter Clark says the planning must begin now to ensure labour availability and sufficient volume of seedlings to plant out these extra trees.
“As it is, if there is going to be any meaningful expansion of planting, then it’ll take another year to build up seedling capacity, which will result in planting out in 2019.”
“The government timetable will add at least an extra two years to that. More if legislation is required. That’s far too long a delay, especially when you consider that, even on the most rapid government timetable, it would then take until at least until 2026 to grow trees big enough to become effective carbon sinks.”
“In the 1990s there was up to nearly 100,000 hectares a year of new plantings. We certainly wouldn’t get to that level again for many years, but we do need to make a start now to build up from a static, or even slightly declining, national forest area.”
“For every year New Zealand landowners are putting trees into the ground there is an extra year of flexibility for policy makers to take other measures to reduce carbon emissions. Already, our plantation forests lock up, each year, more than half the carbon the whole of New Zealand agriculture produces. So, the forests are a substantial carbon sink.”
An expected reduction in available harvest volumes from about 2030 is also a critical factor in expanding forest areas according to Peter Clark.
“The sooner we get more trees into the ground the more likely the New Zealand processing industry will have the confidence to invest in modernising production. Timber availability in the next few years is sawmillers’ biggest concern. An efficient and high tech milling industry here would both reduce costs for New Zealand timber consumers and add value to our exports.”
Peter Clark says there are specific things the government could do now around the Emissions Trading Scheme to encourage earlier planting. “It could signal that if it was to allow imported carbon units, then they would not be linked to forest carbon units here. We’ve already seen the fiasco from importing basically bogus credits from the likes of Russia and Ukraine in the past, and we don’t want that again.”
“It would also be unfair if the government were to bring in an ETS regime that penalised anyone who planted before the government worked out its ETS rules, and so the government ought to signal a level playing field now.”
Peter Clark says the government could lead by example in planting more trees itself – at least in the short term.
“We are talking about a huge change in our primary industries here. I absolutely agree we need to plan this all carefully, especially infrastructure with local government. But that’s no reason to delay making a start now, rather than wait for another couple of years to get going.”
Eastland port planning for growthEastland Port invests in region’s economic growth - Forestry is a regional success story and as a result Eastland Port needs moderate expansion to keep up, says General Manager Andrew Gaddum.
“We can handle 2.9 million tonnes of wood per year but with a predicted 5 million tonnes of wood coming by 2024, we need to make some changes.”
Eastland Port is sharing its twin berth development plans with the community in advance of applying for the Gisborne District Council consents it will need to future-proof the port. “We want individuals and groups to have plenty of time to see what the plans involve and give us ideas to consider.”
Space needed - Mr Gaddum says the biggest issues facing the port are a lack of wharf length, and space for logs and other cargo. The only way to move more wood off the port faster is to load two large ships at once. “We need to make the wharves stronger and longer so two 200m long ships can be loaded at the same time.”
“Finding space is a real challenge. We’ve looked at many options and we’ve become more efficient by doing things like doubling our ship loading rates and stacking wood more efficiently.
But it’s not enough. We think the only reasonable answer is a small amount of land reclamation. At this stage we believe that might be around 1.5ha in behind wharf 8 and the seawall.”
Once two ships can berth at wharf 8 simultaneously, we will need extra area to load from, and more space to store the logs ready for export, says Mr Gaddum.
Mr Gaddum says “Eastland Port is crucial to the region’s infrastructure and along with the forestry industry is helping power the local community.”
Powering our community - “Forestry production injects $262 million* into the area and that’s only going to increase. The port has a duty to ensure it is fit-for-purpose.”
“More than one in four households in this region has a person whose job is dependent on forestry**. Be it a faller, truck driver, diesel mechanic, shop owner, contractor, accountant – thousands benefit from forestry, and everyone else benefits from the money that they spend.”
Mr Gaddum says investment makes financial sense. It gives Gisborne a community-owned asset that will help secure new coastal shipping routes (which could include container trade), and offers regional resilience should we suffer a serious earthquake or weather event. A refurbished port will also accommodate new international trade and exports, and expand the level of service it can offer to cruise ships.
“The port is a good barometer of this region’s economic health.”
Balancing the responsibilities - Mr Gaddum says the challenge now is balancing the responsibility it has helping ensure regional economic growth, alongside concerns other people may have.
Eastland Port recognises Ngati Oneone as tangata whenua and kaitiaki over the area occupied by the port. The port is surrounded by residential neighbours and businesses, and it’s nestled next to one of New Zealand’s most historically significant sites, soon to take centre stage during the 2019 first encounters commemorations.
“We find ourselves right at the heart of those commemorations and for exactly the same reasons as everyone else: the maritime traditions of so many of our ancestors unfolded right here in this safe harbour.”
The area the port now operates in was integral to Gisborne’s settlement. “It’s special to the region, to New Zealand, and when any group wants to make changes that brings with it a huge responsibility.”
Mr Gaddum acknowledges port development may be beyond some people’s comfort levels. “People have the right to expect the economic benefits of any industry be balanced with the need to protect our environment.”
The port is looking at how it can enhance the marine habitat available to species such as rock lobster.
“There is opportunity to create further artificial habitat as part of our developments”, says Mr Gaddum.
The port continues to look for ways to reduce its environmental footprint with the recent addition of the upper log yard rain garden helping remove sediment and slow down storm water before it flows into the port’s filter plant and then into Kopuawhakapata Stream.
For more information visit www.twinberth.nz
First loggers in NSW adopt FOLSCover It Pty Ltd is the first harvesting contracting business in northern NSW to move all of their operators over to the FOLS Skills Verification Program.
Cover It Pty Ltd are one of 18 NSW harvesting companies who have made the commitment to adopt FOLS, following a Forestry Corporation of NSW initiative. In February this year, Forestry Corporation of NSW, in their northern hardwood forests around Coffs Harbour, Wauchope and Grafton, asked its contractors to move all operators on to FOLS.
Boyd Young, Owner of Cover It Pty Ltd, said moving their operators over to FOLS has been a smooth process.
“It is going to be so easy to manage our employee credentials and training records now, as everything is housed in one place.”
“FOLS will be a useful tool for new employees especially, providing a simpler process for locating and filing people’s training records and determining the currency of peoples’ skills,” said Boyd.
Diana Lloyd, General Manager of ForestWorks, said a new online system and mobile app for FOLS is only weeks away, and will provide further benefits to businesses looking for an easy way manage the skills of employees.
“With the new FOLS app, you will be able to access and demonstrate your portfolio of skills anytime and anywhere, so long as you have a mobile device on you,” said Diana.
A summary of each operator’s FOLS endorsements will be utilised by Forestry Corporation of NSW to identify training gaps and a plan will be developed to address these. Forestry Corporation NSW will be reimbursing operators for a third of the cost of the 3 year FOLS once it is issued.
Forestry Corporation’s Harvest and Haulage Contractor and Procurement Manager Mark Hitchins said he expected the new system to make life easier for both Forestry Corporation and contractors.
“We require all operators working in State forests to have certain skills and accreditations and we see FOLS as a one stop shop. FOLS allows us to quickly and easily confirm that our contractors and their staff have the necessary competencies and identify gaps where training is required,” said Mark.
“Our contractors do a great job in maintaining high levels of skills and accreditation and the good news for our contractors is that they can also use this national program to swiftly verify the skills and training needs of new and existing staff, so it’s a real win-win.”
Southerners kick off Awards Ceremony seasonForestry Training and Success Celebrated in the South - Last Friday night an outstanding groups of forestry professionals celebrated the success of our people in training across the industry. There was a fantastic turnout of people form local forestry companies, contractors and transport operators from throughout the lower South Island of New Zealand. The function - our 2017 Southern Wood Council Forestry Awards - was held at the stadium.
The Council, representing all major forest owners and most of the major wood processing companies in Otago and Southland ran the 2017 Awards programme in conjunction with the country’s industry training organisation, Competenz.
In addition to profiling the contribution that forestry and its people are making to the economic and social well-being of the region, the night was really designed to celebrate the success of those that had achieved formal training qualifications over the year. Nine major awards were presented during the evening. The event also designed to recognise the many many individuals who are forestry’s top performers in the region.
Huge numbers assembled for this important forestry celebration. Over 350 forest managers, forestry contractors, transport operators and industry suppliers from across the region attended the gala awards night at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.
“The turnout by forestry workers, their families and supporters on the night is probably a true reflection on the momentum that’s been building over the last year or so with on-site training and safety in this region” says Grant Dodson, Southern Wood Council chair.
“In addition to recognising the training achievements of forestry workers and crews that have really stood out over the past 12 months, the industry was able to come together at one place to celebrate the industry along with training and business success.”
Presenters and speakers at this year’s awards evening include; Jamie MacKay, Host of "The Country", Hon Louise Upston, Associate Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Michael Woodhouse, Minister for Workplace Relations & Safety, Wiremu Edmonds, Director and Safety Champion, Tuakiri Ltd, Fiona Kingsford, CEO, Competenz and guest speaker Warren Alcock, the NZ Rugby Players Association‘s first accredited players agent (representing more than 80 All Blacks including Ritchie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ben Smith and Aaron Smith).
Around 120 National Training Certificates that had been achieved in Forestry & Wood Processing were awarded to top local contractors and forestry and wood processing employees. In addition, nine major industry awards were presented to:
Training Excellence Award - Apprentice of the Year (Sponsored by Southern Wood Council) Award Winner; Ryan Spillane, MJ Logging
Training Excellence Award - Forestry Trainee of the Year (harvesting) (Sponsored by Rayonier/ Matariki Forests) Award Winner; Martin Gordon-Glassford, Griffin Logging
Training Excellence Award - Forestry Trainee of the Year (silviculture) (Sponsored by Dynes Transport): Award Winner; Russell Te Ngahue, X-Men
Skilled Professionals Awards – Forestry Excellence Award (establishment, silviculture, fire, harvesting) (Sponsored by South Wood Export): Award Winner; Alistair McKenzie, Johnson Forestry Services
Skilled Professionals Awards – Wood Processing Excellence Award (Sponsored by UDC): Award Winner; Rodney Lonneker, Pankhurst Sawmilling Skilled Professionals Awards – Forest Products/Logistics/Transport/Port Award (Sponsored by Oil Imports): Award Winner; Desiree Hollister, C3
Industry Excellence Awards – Forestry Environmental Management Excellence Award (Sponsored by Otago Regional Council): Award Winner; Heavyweight Hire
Industry Excellence Awards - Training Company/Contractor of the Year (Sponsored by City Forests): Award Winner; Shane Griffin, Griffin Logging
Industry Excellence Awards - Forest Products Health & Safety Award (Sponsored by Ernslaw One): Award Winner; Barry Wells, Port Blakely
Tree Faller Certification – Otago Southland. Ten certificates for Professional Tree Faller Certification, a scheme that has been implemented in the Otago/Southland region were also awarded.
Congratulations go to all the winners, the nominees, their employers and families. This year’s awards programme with strong support from the wider industry, supporting organisation’s and major equipment and product suppliers has again been another important milestone for the forestry industry in the lower South Island. It’s firmly established now as the major fixture each year on the local forestry calendar.
Pictured: Apprentice of the Year Ryan Spillane, from Geraldine - based MJ Logging, receives a certificate and trophy from Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston at Friday’s Southern Wood Council Forestry Awards presentation in Dunedin.
Carter Holt Harvey takes dividendCarter Holt pulls A$55.4M dividend from Australia in 2016 - Carter Holt Harvey Group pulled out an A$55.4 million dividend from its Australian unit in 2016, its first such return after several years of shoring up the wood products company's books.
The Australian unit's holding company, Carter Holt Harvey Building Products, paid a dividend bigger than its profit of A$21.3 million in calendar 2016, down from A$30.7 million a year earlier, financial statements lodged with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission show.
While revenue edged up 3.1 percent to A$964.7 million, the company's gross margins shrank to 8.6 percent from 9.5 percent in 2015. Still, the forgiveness of A$275 million of related party debts between 2012 and 2014 helped the Australian division get back on an even footing after slipping into negative equity and operational cash flow climbed 42 percent to A$62.3 million in the latest year.
Carter Holt's billionaire owner, Graeme Hart, tested the waters for an initial public offering of the forestry group in 2015 before shelving those plans indefinitely. A year earlier, Hart's Rank Group sold the Carter Holt Harvey's pulp and packaging businesses for $1 billion to Japan's Oji Holdings Corp and Innovation Network Corp of Japan.
The Australian operation is currently in a dispute with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, locking out about 200 workers at its Myrtleford ply board manufacturing site when pay negotiations broke down. The company's Australian wage bill rose 6.4 percent to A$159.8 million in 2016, while pension contributions were flat at A$11.8 million. The manufacturer employs 1,700 people across 12 factories and six distribution and sales centres in Australia, according to its website.
Carter Holt Harvey Building Products reported an A$10.8 million tax expense in 2016 compared to A$10.1 million a year earlier, although its cash-flow statement showed it paid A$1.3 million to a related entity for the transfer of tax balances in 2016, down from A$5 million a year earlier. In separate accounts for Rank Group's head tax entity in Australia, Burns, Philp & Co, it said it anticipated Carter Holt Harvey's Australian business "will continue to purchase tax losses from the group during 2017" which will be paid in cash.
Carter Holt Harvey is made up of three divisions: building products makers Wood Products NZ and Wood Products Australia, and building products trade and retail supplier Carters.
Source: BusinessDesk via Scoop
Wood council welcomes free trade moveThe forest and wood processing industries have welcomed the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by Cabinet says Wood Council Chair Brian Stanley (pictured).
“Trade is important to an island nation such as New Zealand and is equally important to the forest and wood processing industries where reliance on export of its products is a significant part of this sector’s business model,” Mr Stanley says.
“With the withdrawal of the US from TPP it is great to see our government making real endeavours to keep TPP alive in a new form that will hopefully provide a common set of trade rules across the Asia-Pacific region”.
"On behalf of our members, Woodco hopes the focus of any future revised TPPA will be on total tariff reduction and elimination of all non-tariff trade barriers throughout the Asia-Pacific region where we suspect that non-tariff barriers, including subsidies associated with forest products, are a much greater impediment to trade”.
"The Wood Council appreciates the hard work being put in by Trade Minister Todd McClay in keeping the TPPA alive to ensure we do have free trade across the Asia- Pacific region and ratification by Cabinet of the TPP is another step in supporting Minister McClay on that journey”.
Bushfires blamed for possible CHH mill closureBushfires blamed as Morwell sawmill teeters on brink with 160 workers facing axe - The Latrobe Valley has been left devastated by news that a Morwell sawmill which employs 160 people is "very likely" to close because of a timber shortage.
Sawmill owner Carter Holt Harvey announced on Tuesday that it was consulting with staff about the possible closure of its mill.
It blames the loss of significant areas of plantation timber to bushfires in 2014 and in the Black Saturday fires of 2009.
Geoff Harris, chief executive of Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts Australia, said the mill faced a significantly reduced supply and quality of sawlogs.
"Bushfires have left our supplier unable to supply the volume of sawlogs or the quality necessary to sustain the Morwell sawmill," Mr Harris said in a written statement.
According to figures released by Carter Holt Harvey, bushfires since 2003 have burnt 15 per cent of the pine plantation estate grown by its pine sawlog supplier, Hancock Victorian Plantations.
Source: The Age
Industry still buoyant says analystDespite a 20% tariff on wood products shipped to the United States, the Canadian forest industry is still basking in the sunshine because of high lumber prices, Russ Taylor, president of International Wood Markets Group, said Thursday at the close of a day-long global lumber conference in Vancouver.
“The storm is coming, but we are still in the sunshine,” Taylor said in an interview summing up the generally positive attitude of lumber producers towards the US market. The storm he was referring to is the future impact of a countervailing duty on softwood lumber products that went into effect May 1.
What’s behind the optimism is lumber price increases since February that have covered the cost of the duty. It’s already built into prices, so selling lumber into the growing U.S. housing market is still a lucrative business, said speakers at the conference, sponsored by International Wood Markets.
The storm will come when those high prices collapse. Lumber is a commodity subject to volatile price swings and what goes up, comes down, US lumber producer Ahren Spilker, operations and export sales manager of the Idaho Forest Group, said in his remarks to the 260 people attending the conference. But until that happens, the duty has already begun to pay off for US lumber companies.
“We have had a heck of a year. This last run [in prices] is one of the strongest we have ever seen,” Spilker said.
What was surprising about the comments from the North American producers is that they appear to be taking the lumber duties in stride. This is the fifth lumber war in the last 40 years, and producers on this side of the border have learned how to manage their trading relationship with the US.
Source: International Wood Markets via biv.com
FAO report criticises Asian forest reductionsUrgent action needed to stop the destruction of Asia’s forests and meet the 2030 development agenda - The destruction of forests in many Asian countries continues apace, raising fears that one of the world’s key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may not be achieved by the 2030 deadline, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned yesterday.
When the SDGs were formulated and agreed by 193 countries in 2015, forests were explicitly mentioned in order that they be aided through the protection, restoration and promotion of sustainable forests while halting and reversing associated land degradation and the loss of biodiversity.
“While forests are critical to achieving the SDGs, they continue to be degraded and lost at a rate of 3.3 million hectares per year,” said Patrick Durst, Senior Forestry Officer at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. “In this region, forests continue to be converted to agriculture, destroyed and replaced by man-made infrastructure, housing, mining, and other land uses. Forest fires also continue to pose a threat to the region”.
Covering one-third of the earth’s surface, forests provide an invaluable variety of social, economic and environmental benefits. Forests and trees sustain and protect all life in invaluable ways. They provide the clean air that we breathe and the water that we drink. Home to more than 80 percent of land animals and plants, forests safeguard the planet’s biodiversity and act as our natural defence against climate change.
A third of the world's biggest cities, including Mumbai, Bogotá and New York, obtain much of their drinking water directly from forested areas. In short, life on earth is made possible and sustainable thanks to forests and trees.
Forests and poverty reduction - Forests also play a major role in supporting human livelihoods. “SDG 1 is about ending poverty and forests have a lot to contribute,” said Nina Brandstrup, FAO Representative in Sri Lanka. “Globally, 1.3 billion people, mostly in developing countries, are estimated to be ‘forest peoples’, who depend on forests for their livelihoods and income. Twenty-eight percent of the total income of households living in or near forests come from forest and environmental income.
Ending poverty (SDG 1) would need to take the health of our forests into account and engage those ‘forest peoples’ directly.”
According to FAO’s Global Forest Resource Assessment in 2015, forests continue to be lost in many countries of the Asia-Pacific region, including Sri Lanka, that loses 6.6 thousand ha annually. Degradation of forest quality further decreases the forests’ capacity to provide goods and services necessary for human survival. These losses will be more acutely felt as the demand for forest products steadily rises in the future.
Countries are taking action - While most countries in the Asia-Pacific region continue to struggle in their responses to forest loss, some are taking positive action. China and Viet Nam have established impressive reforestation programmes and are actually increasing the amount of forested land.
Meantime, the Government of Sri Lanka has announced plans to increase the country’s forest cover by as much as 35 percent – and to do so inclusively with the people that will benefit most.
“To reach our target, it is essential to address poverty as it is one of the major drivers of deforestation and forest degradation,” said Anura Sathurusinghe, Conservator General of Forests and Head of the Sri Lanka Forest Department. “We engage people in policy processes through discussions to solicit their valuable inputs and recommendations,” he added.
Focusing on SDGs and poverty reduction, the Government of Sri Lanka and FAO are organizing the Tenth Executive Forest Policy Course for forestry leaders in the Asia-Pacific region. Twenty-four forestry leaders, with a near gender-balance (11 women), from 15 countries are participating in the course, with the theme “Revisiting the poverty alleviation agenda in the context of SDGs: opportunities and challenges for Asia-Pacific forestry”.
Thanks to FICA SponsorsWe would like to thank all of the organisations who support FICA, which in turn works to promote business growth and improved safety and efficiency amongst forestry contractors for the benefit of New Zealand's Forestry Industry.
... and finally ... everyday terms = good for a laugh
You sometimes you think you know the meaning of many everyday terms until you see it from
another point of view. Here's some from the funny side of life:
Have a safe and productive week.
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