WoodWeek – 6 September 2017

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. There is plenty of news of the wood variety today. After investing over $100 million in their ‘Supermill’ in Rotorua, Red Stag Timber now plans to lift output to 600,000 cubic metres from next year. Red Stag is Rotorua’s largest private employer with 290 staff and 80 full-time contractors. The forecast increase in production will see the mill continue to run two shifts a day, totalling 80 hours over four days, with a step up in overtime. Exciting times!

Moving east, and Forest Enterprises this year expects to double its 2016 harvest volume from its forests in Gisborne. This of course comes as the great team at Champion Freight delivered our monthly log export statistics showing year on year export log sales increased by 27 per cent to China and 20 per cent across all export markets for NZ producers. The July month for log exports to China was up a whopping 34 per cent on the same month last year.

More current affairs – yes, election issues, and FOA president Peter Clark says it is vital for the government to encourage other investors and farmers to plant out forests. He says there are potentially many different ways to structure incentives for more afforestation and industry development, and not just those outlined by certain parties.

Clark says, “It’s less important what structures you create in government, than what they actually do to encourage more planting, production and locking up carbon in the atmosphere.” He says the Emissions Trading Scheme is still a potentially powerful instrument for enabling the government to meet its Paris Agreement commitments on climate change.

On 28 September, Innovatek is hosting the "Changing Perceptions" Conference on how the role of engineering wood is really changing people's perceptions. We have a great line-up of speakers with experience on how timber can perform and deliver better building for both mid-rise construction and tall timber office buildings.

People are now really changing their perceptions with the recent announcement by property investor Bob Jones, who has committed to building in tall timber in Wellington. Our keynote speaker is Karla Fraser, Senior Project Manager for the Brock Commons building in Vancouver. New Zealand’s biggest wood products supporter and our first “Wood-First” advocate, Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick will officially open the conference.

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Red Stag to lift production

The team at Red Stag Timber, owners of New Zealand’s first ‘super mill’ a year ago, plans to step up production next year to meet demand in its local and overseas markets.

The Rotorua-based Waipa Mill increased its production of sawn timber to an annual 550,000 cubic metres from 450,000 cubic metres after investing over $100 million in more efficient machinery, transforming the mill, and plans to lift production further to 600,000 cubic metres from next year, general manager Tim Rigter told BusinessDesk in an interview at the Waipa State Mill Road site.

The mill, developed in the 1930s by the state to process maturing exotic trees from surrounding forests, was once the jewel in the crown of the Forestry Corp. Sold by the government in 1996 to the Central North Island Forest Partnership, it was bought out of receivership by the Verry family in 2003 and now focuses on structural timber production with 60 percent sold in New Zealand and the rest to Australia, Asia and the Pacific Islands.

“We are developing markets not just in New Zealand but overseas so we believe we can sell that 600,000,” Rigter said. “It’s utilising your assets and that lowers your cost.”

A ‘super mill’ can process 1 million tonnes of logs a year and Red Stag’s mill was the first of this scale in the Southern Hemisphere, with its current production amounting to about 900,000 tonnes of logs a year.

Rigter said about half of the increased production is expected to be sold in New Zealand, where the mill is widening its product offering to include posts, palings and decking, and the other half will head overseas.

“We have got quite a nice diversification for markets and regions,” Rigter said. “You want to spread your markets because if one country has a downturn you don’t want to have all your eggs in one basket.”

In New Zealand, Rigter sees steady future demand for wood underpinned by new building to meet the housing shortage, although he notes the market has flattened recently with wood supply coming back into step with demand.

“We see steady demand but we do see supply and demand in balance so there won’t be a shortage of timber. We are one sector in the industry that can keep up with the current demand… between us and other sawmillers, there is enough supply.”

Red Stag is Rotorua’s largest private employer with 290 staff and another 80 full-time contractors. The forecast increase in production will see the mill continue to run two shifts a day, totalling 80 hours over four days, with a step up in overtime.

While the mill has expanded at a time of increased demand for structural timber, Rigter notes that margins have been squeezed in the past 12 months as prices for structural logs hit new highs, with only some of the increase being passed on to customers.

Source: BusinessDesk via Scoop

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Champion Freight Export Report

Thanks to the great team at Champion Freight we've got the latest export market activity update for you in a series of really self-explanatory charts. They have some easy-to-read labels on the charts so they are readily identifiable even when printed in black & white.





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NZIF: Bright future for sustainable forestry

Bright future for sustainable forestry in New Zealand - A young New Zealander Alfred Duval has been launched onto the world stage. Celebrated for his outstanding achievements as an emerging leader in sustainable forestry.

Duval was awarded the inaugural Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Forestry in Rotorua on Tuesday night at the NZ Institute of Forestry’s annual awards ceremony.

The new prize was set up earlier this year, to reward and encourage a young New Zealand forestry professional working in the vital area of sustainable forest management. Similar initiatives have been established in Australia and Canada.

Championed by The Prince of Wales, the award marks a new dawn for the forestry industry, in New Zealand and around the globe.

“This prestigious trophy puts a stake in the ground, and indicates to the next generation of leaders in our industry, the significance of sustainable environmental practices”, NZIF President James Treadwell says.

Selected from a high calibre shortlist of candidates, Duval was the clear winner, for his proven dedication to sustainable forestry.

Treadwell confirms, “Duval demonstrated an outstanding aptitude for sustainable forestry management practice on the ground. He’s an emerging leader with the skills and commitment to inspire others in the industry to follow suit.”

Duval joins a select, but growing group of young leaders with a common passion for sustainable forestry, from throughout the Commonwealth.

These influential young change-makers, now have an international platform to exchange ideas, promote sustainability, and share their knowledge.

The Prince of Wales is a long term supporter of young people and of sustainability. His Royal Highness said in a video message played at the New Zealand Institute of Forestry annual awards dinner in Rotorua. "I have high hopes that these young men and women, will be a catalyst for change, improving communication and collaboration between national forestry institutes, and ultimately helping to equip the forestry profession to deal wisely with the challenges we face now and in the future.”

The award is a strong signal of growing recognition, that sustainable forestry management principles, are valuable to mainstream industry practice.

Source: NZIF

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Changing perceptions - Notable plyscapers

On 28 September Innovatek is hosting the "Changing Perceptions" Conference on how the role of engineering wood is really changing people's perceptions. We have a great line-up of speakers with experience of how timber can perform and deliver better building for both mid-rise construction and tall timber office buildings. People are now really changing their perceptions with the recent announcement by property investor Bob Jones, who is committed to building in tall timber in Wellington now.

Our keynote speaker is Karla Fraser, Senior Project Manager for the Brock Commons building in Vancouver (see details below). She will be speaking at the upcoming Changing Perceptions of Engineered Timber in Construction conference. The conference is set to be part of a wood technology week of events coming to the city in September, including the FIEA WoodTECH 2017 two-day conference and trade expo. Rotorua Lakes Council are event partners promoting their successful “Wood-First” policy. For more details see: www.cpetc2017.com.

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Notable Plyscraper Projects:

Brock Commons - This 18-storey, 53-meter tall cross-laminated building in Vancouver, Canada was finished a staggering 66 days ahead of schedule, which just goes to show that the claims being made about how CLT will speed up the construction process really do ring true. The tower is student accommodation for the University of British Columbia, housing over 400 students. It currently holds the title of the tallest timber building in the world.

Oakwood Timber Tower – Currently in the planning stage, this tower in London will easily be the world’s tallest if it makes it through to completion. It would have 1,000 units in a whopping 93,000 square meters of space, with the 80 storeys giving it a height of 300 meters.

Framework – When it’s finished, this 12-story structure in Portland, Oregon will be one of the tallest timber buildings in USA. It was originally set to be the tallest, but that accolade is now out of reach. The project received $1 million in funding to help make sure the CLT used meets the requirements of building codes. It could prove to be the testing ground that paves the way for more future highrises. Construction work begins in January 2018, and is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Forté – Standing at a height of 32.17 meters, this apartment building in Melbourne, Australia was the world’s tallest timber apartment building when it was constructed in 2012. It cost an estimated $11 million to build, and the use of CLT rather than concrete had the same impact on carbon emissions as taking 345 cars off the road.

Treet – This apartment block in Bergen, Norway overtook Forte as the world’s tallest timber building when it was completed, before losing the crown to Brook Commons. It is 14 storeys tall and cost around €22 million to build, including purchase of the area, development costs, engineering and construction costs, and internal costs.

Source: Cleantechnica & NaturallyWood

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Major forest owners want change

The forest industry says the government after the election needs to put a much greater focus on forestry and suggestions just made by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters lead in that direction, particularly direct government planting, either on its own account or through joint ventures with iwi.

Forest Owners Association President Peter Clark says it is also vital for the government to encourage other investors and farmers to plant out forests.

He says there are potentially many different ways to structure incentives for more afforestation and industry development and not just those outlined by Winston Peters.

“It’s less important what structures you create in government, than what they actually do to encourage more planting, production and locking up carbon in the atmosphere.

Peter Clark says the Emissions Trading Scheme is still a potentially powerful instrument for enabling the government to meet its Paris Agreement commitments on climate change.

“ETS clearly needs change, but the scheme never has been and never will be enough to meet the challenge of increased afforestation by itself.”

“Other critical components are leading by example, enhancing training and recruitment, providing extension services for forest management, introducing equitable rules between different land uses, conducting long term planning and getting an urgent start to major afforestation.

The government says it intends to use an expansion of New Zealand’s plantation forest area through the ETS to sequester carbon and so help New Zealand meet its Paris Agreement commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Peter Clark says the forest industry accepts the direction of the recent London based Vivid Economics Report that the New Zealand plantation forest estate would have to expand by up to 1.5 million hectares for New Zealand to meet its Paris targets, rather than spending billions on offshore carbon credits to try to achieve that result.

“The government can take a lead in getting trees into the ground itself. It is difficult for iwi, drystock farmers and forest companies to take the government’s position on more trees seriously when the government ignores the opportunity of its own agencies and landholding to show how it can be done, at least in the initial stages,” Peter Clark says.

“Some local government land would be suitable as well, and I’ve noticed Local Government Leaders have just called for what they term ‘an urgent need for responsive leadership and a holistic approach to climate change.”

Peter Clark believes there needs to be more effort to attract new recruits into the industry and getting them trained.

“We are as much to blame as government in neglecting this area. We have just left it to individual companies to organise training and so we are addressing that ourselves now at a more collaborative level. If we don’t get new and trained workers we will find our industry seriously short of the workforce we need in future.”

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Gisborne hui called to address safety

Hui on changes needed to prevent forestry accidents - Following three deaths and two near-misses in forestry in the Gisborne and East Coast district in the past six months a Ruatoria man has called for action.

Advocate for the grieving families and workers Joe McClutchie is behind a meeting this week aimed at producing positive and immediate change.

The hui, involving the Forestry Industry Safety Council, Worksafe New Zealand, forestry managers, contractors and workers, will be held at Te Tini o Porou, Kaiti on Thursday from 10am to 2pm.

Following the death of Piripi Bartlett on August 21, Mr McClutchie realised “action to look at preventing another death within our people” was needed.

“Following Piripi’s death, in the days leading up to the tangi, it was clear that grief and sadness of the loss was not the only topic being discussed," he said.

“Across the region I was met with mixed emotions and conversation. This was a clear indicator to me that many of our people are saying ‘enough is enough’. People were unhappy and angry."

He contacted Work Safe NZ and asked it to consider calling some of the forest industry together to have an urgent conversation and to put ideas on the table about “what can change tomorrow or what can change next week?”

Other changes could be considered later.

WorkSafe said it was a regulatory body and that it was the Forestry Industry Safety Council’s responsibility to keep the forest safe.

“FISC has agreed to mobilise the meeting for this Thursday in Gisborne, inviting some of the principal forestry managers, some contractors working up the Coast and hopefully a number of our forestry workers,” he said.

“The hui is not looking at what happened to Piripi and others, or who is to blame, but as part of forestry health and safety responsibility we need to sit down and look at other measures that might need serious consideration for immediate change.”

WorkSafe will attend the meeting.

“Today, the undercurrent among some of our people is still simmering away,” Mr McClutchie said.

“I hope this hui will go somewhere torwards dealing with health and safety considerations that will help keep our people safe and return them home to their families.”

Source: Gisborne Herald

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Forest Enterprises appointment for expansion

Forest Enterprises, the Masterton-based forest investment and management company, has appointed a Gisborne-based regional manager to boost the management of its 10,000-plus hectare forest estate in the Gisborne region. Dan Fraser of Gisborne took up the new role this month.

“Dan’s professional forestry expertise supports our focus on harvesting in Gisborne,” says the company’s Managing Director, Steve Wilton. “He will complement the strategic alliance we have with Logic Forest Solutions Limited, our Gisborne forest supervisor. Dan and Logic work from the same office which is efficient for both companies and effective for our whole Gisborne operation.

“Our forests in the Gisborne region make up half of the total forest estate we manage, so the increased and ongoing harvest up there will be significant for us,” says Wilton. “We’re experiencing this growth in the Wairarapa too, and we know from experience that having a senior manager on-site provides all-important continuous local expertise as well as relationship management. Until now, this has been provided in Gisborne by our Masterton- based senior executives travelling regularly.

“This is our first appointment outside of Masterton since the business started in 1972,” adds Wilton. “Dan’s appointment also brings our team up to 17 staff members for the first time, and we’re still growing.”

Forest Enterprises this year expects to double its 2016 harvest volume from its forests in Gisborne, says Wilton. The company began the major programme of harvesting its Gisborne forests in February 2016 with one logging crew, and has a third crew about to start. Volume from Forest Enterprises’ Wairarapa harvest operations continues to increase year on year since it started logging in earnest in 2010. It reached 330,000 tonnes in 2016.

“We replanted more than 490 hectares of harvested area in the Wairarapa this winter,” says Wilton. “That’s about half a million radiata seedlings. It’s one of the biggest replant programmes in the Wairarapa this season.”

Fraser’s experience includes extensive green fields harvest planning, road construction projects, strategic planning and contract management, which Wilton says adds value to the whole Forest Enterprises operation.

“My priority is to ensure that we achieve maximum profitability for our investors from the harvest of their Gisborne forests,” says Fraser. “I will be particularly focussed on attracting and retaining top performing contractors, ensuring they have a robust, sustainable support network around them so they can consistently meet our high environmental and safety goals.

“I’m looking forward to working with our contractors. I’m passionate about building highly successful teams and one of the most rewarding things for me over the years has been helping young keen operators grow into highly successful companies,” says Fraser.

Forest Enterprises manages 59 forests on behalf of its investors and nine for private forest owners. Forest Enterprises’ Wairarapa forests make up 45% of the company’s total estate under management, with 5% in Hawkes Bay.



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Bigger, bigger yellow digger aids students

New training excavator gives Toi Ohomai students an edge - “Contractors saw our students learning inside our high-tech excavator simulators recently, and were impressed at the skill level that they are operating at after 9 weeks,” says Richard Stringfellow, who is the Programme Area Lead for Forest Operations at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

“They said it would’ve taken them 6 months to get them to that level on the job.”

Now forestry students at Rotorua’s Mokoia Campus will be taking another step forward with the arrival of the institute’s own branded excavator, a project supported by PF Olsen.

“It’s a must for us now. The students are getting live machine time as part of their qualification and all their exercises are practised to an industry standard.”

A New Zealand tertiary first for an institute of its kind, the initiative is designed to combat the lack of young, skilled operators in the industry, making sure students highly-honed virtual skills have a practical ‘real world’ finish.

“The forestry industry is changing from manual to mechanised labour,” says Richard.

“We use the simulators to get students familiar with all the parts, functions and controls, meaning they have one less thing to worry about when they get into the actual machine.

“That includes health and safety requirements, prestart checks and walking around the excavator, checking everything is as it should be.”

With word of the excavator spreading, Richard says contractors are now referring students their way, so that their staff can take advantage of this region-specific training opportunity.

“Everyone is trying to get in on it now. With the intake prior to the simulators arrival, we borrowed a machine to test how effective it would be.

“Of those 13 students, 8 are already employed within industry.”

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NZ Logger - Tiger in the Tank

Tigercat has responded to the challenge thrown down by the big four-wheel skidder competitors, the 21.5-tonne Cat 555D and 22.4-tonne John Deere 984L, by releasing its own behemoth, the 21.9-tonne 632E. And the first to put one into operation in New Zealand is DK Logging, in the Tarawera Forest. It's not just big, it's quick and dextrous, as the NZ Logger magazine Iron Test team discovers in the September issue.

Waratah has been working on changes at its Tokoroa manufacturing facility in order to meet buoyant worldwide, which are detailed in the magazine.

And in its quarterly focus on the New Zealand milling and processing sector, read about developments at Wiri Timber in Auckland and the recent upgrades at the Kaituna Sawmill near Blenheim.

Plus much more, in the August 2017 issue of NZ Logger, now on sale at selected service stations, or to subscribe for either the printed version and/or the digital version, visit www.nzlogger.co.nz.

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Carbon market update - the Jacinda effect?

NZU Update - Well dare we say it, it appears that the Jacinda effect has spilled over to carbon.

NZUs pushed up ten cents on the open on Carbon Match today and have traded $18.40 just now for a sizeable chunk of NZUs, best offer now $18.45 but for small volume only.

$18.40 was last seen in November 2016 and we have a good mix of buyers and sellers on the board, intrigued to see what happens next.

Some buyers appear to be looking more favourably on NZUs on the back of a new poll released last night that put Labour as the frontrunner to form the next government, at this stage. With respect to the party vote, Labour has overtaken National in the polls for the first time in 12 years.

Obviously the show's not over and, coming back to our sphere of interest - carbon, risks always remain to any holder of NZUs. As we wrote earlier in the week the key minority support parties would all rather see the ETS replaced with a blunter carbon tax.

But whether there's a sea change on 23rd September or not, the overall picture is reasonably clear. The current government has already laid out plans to consider a "different" price ceiling, in acknowledgement of the risk that the $25 fixed price currently poses to the Crown. Policy makers are working hard to enable NZ once more to access international emissions reductions, but success is hard to define, and not necessarily within our control.

Most importantly, New Zealand has signed up to (and both sides of the house remain committed to) a target under the Paris agreement that we currently look set to woefully undershoot - perhaps by more than 200 million tonnes vis-a-vis "business as usual emissions" projected over the 2021-2030 period.

We can fill this gap by growing it (start yesterday and run as fast as you can), importing it (prices and counterparties currently unknown) and/or tightening our belts dramatically. In comparison to all of these great unknowns, paying $18.40 today, for some people at least, has proven to be palatable.

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New thermal modification plant for Abodo

Our new state of the art Finnish thermal modification kiln has been commissioned. The new kiln, which features the latest control systems, is produced to the highest environmental standards and is used to process Abodo’s sustainable Vulcan timber cladding.

Also Abodo worked with Tuhoe on their second award-winning, Living Building Challenge project, which opened early this year. The building features Abodo timber cladding, decking and joinery – along with charred wood panels, symbolising an important event in the tribe’s history. Already the winner of a regional NZIA Award, the project is also nominated in the Best Awards and the national NZIA Awards.

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Jobs


Buy and Sell


... and finally ... has this joke's time come again

Okay, this is a sure sign we are running low on jokes inventory. We found this gem from 2014 and wondered how it would read today:

Hints on how to get served faster

The other day I needed to go to Middlemore A & E. Not wanting to sit there for 4 hours, I put on my best blue suit jacket and stuck a patch that I had downloaded off the Internet on to the top pocket of my jacket.

When I went into the A & E, I noticed that 3/4 of the people got up and left. I guess they decided that they weren't that sick after all. Cut at least 3 hours off my waiting time.

Here's the patch - see above. Feel free to use it the next time you're in need of quicker emergency service.

It also works at Work & Income. It saved me 5 hours.

At Britomart, getting a seat on the train to Manurewa, sweet as, almost had a whole carriage to myself.

At the launderette, three minutes after entering, I had my choice of any machine, most still running.

Don't try it at McDonald's though ... the whole crew got up and left and l never got my order ...



Have a safe and productive week.

John Stulen
Editor

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