WoodWeek – 29 January 2020

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Greetings for a short work week in wood. Plenty of news for you though. With less than 24 hours since the election date was announced here in New Zealand, it seems relevant that earlier this week chief executives from over fifty companies representing over ten thousand employees have signed an open letter calling on the government to honour its commitment to implement its promised Wood Procurement policy for government buildings.

The letter from the forestry and wood processing sector leaders calls on the government to use its procurement weight to lead New Zealand into a clean green construction future, pointing out that New Zealand can be carbon zero in building structures by 2030. It also reminds the coalition Government that their Wood Procurement policy is openly supported by all three parties. Furthermore, New Zealand First confirmed it is within the coalition agreement addendum. And the the fact that it formed part of the Labour Party’s 2017 election manifesto.

Moving to wood export revenues, today we have the latest figures from Champion Freight and both a summary or recent years growth in wood and log exports as well as the forecast from Ministry of Forestry, December update.

In other political moves this week, WPMA reminded Government hey should be aware prices for logs in New Zealand have been driven up to unprecedented levels over recent years by foreign buyers operating on subsidies provided by their own countries. The subsidies enable foreign buyers to artificially inflate prices here, effectively capturing the domestic log market by creating some of the highest softwood log prices in the world. This lobbying effort suggests a more complicated solution involving our international free trade agreements.

In Australia, the forestry lobby is calling for more funding and access to national parks to support a "massive harvest and haulage operation" after this summer's bushfires, but experts warn that logging burnt forests will cause "unacceptable" damage to wildlife. The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) wrote a briefing note to MPs last week, warning that bushfires had caused "unprecedented" damage to the industry through loss of native and plantation stocks. AFPA said there was a "narrow window of opportunity" before burnt timbers degraded and requested for funding for industry and workers to conduct "salvage logging".

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Call to government: Honour wood promise

Open Letter calling on Government to honour Election Promise - Forestry and wood processing industry sends open letter calling on Government to honour it's election promise. Chief executives from over fifty companies representing over ten thousand employees have signed an open letter calling on the government to honour its commitment to implement its promised Wood Procurement policy for government buildings.

The letter from the forestry and wood processing sector leaders calls on the government to use its procurement weight to lead New Zealand into a clean green construction future, pointing out that New Zealand can be carbon zero in building structures by 2030. Concrete and steel emit between 10 and 13 percent of global climate change emissions.

The Wood Procurement policy is openly supported by all three coalition parties, with Zealand First confirming it is within the coalition agreement addendum.

The Labour Party’s 2017 election manifesto stating that if elected the government would require that “all government-funded project proposals for new buildings up to four storeys high shall require a build-in-wood option at the initial concept / request-for-proposals stage. … Due to advances in engineering and wood processing technologies, we will increase the four storey requirement to 10 stories.”

Spokesperson for the industry, Red Stag group’s CEO Marty Verry said the industry is now standing together to hold the government to account for fulfilling its election commitment.

According to the NZ Green Building Council’s Zero Carbon Roadmap, emissions for the construction sector have leapt 66 percent in a decade. Meanwhile a recent report by Thinkstep found that the construction and operation of buildings is responsible for around 20 percent of our domestic emissions, with about half of that from the construction stage of building.

Emissions from the construction stage and particularly the choice of materials used are known as ‘embodied carbon’. Red Stag’s Verry says this ten percent of New Zealand’s climate change emissions can be easily addressed by converting building structures from polluting steel and concrete to mass wood made from products such as glue laminated beams and cross laminated timber (CLT).

“This 10 percent is the low hanging fruit in terms of New Zealand addressing climate change”, says Verry. “We can eliminate it to zero within a decade. No need to wait for 2050.

“The products are available, engineers and architects are using them, dozens of such mid- rise buildings have been constructed already, and the sector is ready, having invested against the promise of the policy’s implementation.”

Implementation of the policy is also urgently needed to support the sector in the short and long term, says Verry. “We’re seeing a spate of mill closures with more to come. Hundreds of jobs are being lost in the regions, many of which are a result of the delay in implementing this policy.

“Meanwhile foresters want a stronger domestic market, given fears that long-term China will increasingly be self-sufficient or over-supplied by the plethora of billion tree programmes and cheap climate change affected forests worldwide.”

“As the largest constructors in any country, and also the largest such polluters, governments have a unique and important leadership role in influencing green building adoption. The government’s implementation of its wood procurement policy is expected to have a ripple affect across the private sector that could lead to the elimination of embodied carbon emissions by 2030.

“In our sector, it is a core value to do what you commit to do”, adds Verry. “The coalition has made this promise, the planet needs it, the sector has invested on the back of it, and we expect the government to now do what it promised. We’ll coordinate to act as a voter block at the next election if need be.”

The prioritisation hold-up reportedly sits with the Labour Party ministers responsible, being Ministers Parker and Twyford.

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Source: Various

Photo credit: XLam




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Champion Freight Report

Thanks to our good friends from Champion Freight, here is another piece of useful data for you:







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Closures unacceptable: Wood Processors Association

Sawmill closures unacceptable says industry leader- Chair Brian Stanley says his group, the WPMA deeply regrets the announcement of intent of closure of another wood processing mill in New Zealand and the loss of yet more jobs in the regions.

Stanley says the government is fully aware that the demise of wood processing firms is being caused by a highly distorted domestic market for logs. The prices for logs in New Zealand have been driven up to unprecedented levels over recent years by foreign buyers operating on subsidies provided by their own countries. These subsidies enable foreign buyers to artificially inflate prices here, effectively capturing the domestic log market by creating some of the highest softwood log prices in the world.

The fact that this grossly unfair market is occurring under NZ’s Free Trade Agreements with these countries should be extremely concerning to all New Zealanders.

The WPMA, yet again, urges the NZ Government to take immediate action to halt these unfair trading conditions and prevent the loss of jobs and community to what is thoroughly unethical trade. Continued government inaction will inevitably lead to further loss of wood processing jobs to blatantly unfair trade and dash hopes of building a future bio-economy around NZ’s forestry sector.

Brian Stanley, WPMA Chair


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Forest industry seeks access to burnt forests

Queensland - Forestry industry eyes off fire-hit national parks - The forestry lobby is calling for more funding and access to national parks to support a "massive harvest and haulage operation" after this summer's bushfires, but experts warn that logging burnt forests will cause "unacceptable" damage to wildlife.

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) wrote a briefing note to MPs last week, warning that bushfires had caused "unprecedented" damage to the industry through loss of native and plantation stocks.

AFPA said there was a "narrow window of opportunity" before burnt timbers degraded and requested for funding for industry and workers to conduct "salvage logging".

"Subject to environmental considerations, state governments should support salvaging timber from all burnt forests across all impacted tenures to clear roads, minimise fuel loads and allow greater flexibility for meeting timber supply requirements," AFPA said.

Australian National University Fenner School of Environment professor David Lindenmayer said logging in forests after fire harmed flora and fauna by removing tree hollow habitat for animals, damaged soil from trucks and equipment, and caused flow-on effects to waterways.

"It has a massive impact on soil, on birds and possums and gliders, and on large old trees. On a whole bunch of things. The forest's recovery is impaired by 80 to 180 years, so it's a massive setback," Professor Lindenmayer said, adding "Many plants germinate after fire, and they'll get squashed by heavy machinery. So that hugely impairs things like the regeneration and ferns, palms, all kinds of things."

Former logging contractor Michael McKinnell, who worked for VicForests until 2018, questioned the logic of calls to expand industry access to forests.

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Victoria’s devastating bushfires have reignited the state’s bitter forest wars with environmental groups urging the Andrews government to step in and stop the planned "salvage logging" of burnt native forest.

The logging industry wants state and federal government support to "salvage" millions of tonnes of plantation and native timber from the charred bushfire zones of NSW and Victoria.

But the backlash from environmentalists is already under way, with conservationists lobbying the state government to stop to any salvage logging in native forests before it has begun.

The Wilderness Society says the woodland is vital habitat for native species and must be allowed to regenerate naturally.

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Source: Brisbane Times


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Log trains commencing from Wairoa

Log trains to begin on Wairoa-Napier line - Log trains are about to start running between Wairoa and Napier following Provincial Growth Fund investment to reopen the rail line, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says.

The Government invested $6.2 million to reopen the mothballed rail line which was closed after significant storm damage in 2012.

“With PGF support the rail line has been rebuilt and KiwiRail has established a road-rail log yard in Wairoa. On Sunday the first loaded log train will leave Wairoa for the Port of Napier,” Shane Jones said late last week.

“Export log volumes in the Hawke’s Bay region are predicted to reach 3.3 million tonnes per annum in the next few years and remain at high levels until the mid-2030s. The harvest growth around Wairoa is part of that picture.

“Trains will begin running from Wairoa on Saturdays and Sundays, carrying 1400 tonnes of logs each weekend, with more train services expected as harvests increase. That means 5000 fewer truck journeys between Wairoa and Napier a year, as a start.

“If we are to avoid more logging trucks on the region’s roads, keep congestion under control and lower our transport emissions, rail is a necessity,” he added.

Forestry harvests across New Zealand have been increasing since 2008. They are currently at around 36 million tonnes per year, and are forecast to remain at high levels for the next decade.

Mr Jones said having options for transporting logs to port ensured a strong supply chain and gave confidence to the forestry industry.

“New Zealand is an export-led economy so the ability to get our goods to port efficiently and safely is crucial. That’s why the Coalition Government is focused on an inter-modal approach to transport that makes the best use of trucks and trains."

“It’s also why we have invested $40 million through the Provincial Growth Fund in a regional road-rail hub near Palmerston North.”

KiwiRail has employed two additional train staff and three track staff to support the new log trains and maintain the line. KiwiRail expects to employ more people as services increase. Local companies were used to develop the Wairoa log yard, which will be run by ISO Ltd.

Source: Scoop


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SnapSTAT - NZ wood export sales summary/forecast



Source: MPI SOPI December 2019


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Tigercat Releases 850 Processor

Tigercat introduces the highly anticipated 850 roadside processor.

The Tigercat 850 processor is a purpose–built roadside processor delivering outstanding performance and impressive fuel economy. Designed for high volume roadside processing, the Tigercat 850 offers many advantages over excavator conversions including better service access, higher cooling capacity and processor head optimized hydraulics. The Tigercat FPT N67 engine delivers 159 kW (213 hp) at 2,100 rpm for Tier 2 and Tier 4f emission compliance.

An efficient load sensing hydraulic system allows simultaneous machine and head functionality. The combination of high horsepower and harvester head optimized hydraulics lead to responsive control, quick feed speed and powerful delimbing capability for high productivity. A high capacity swing system with dual swing drives provides ample torque and speed for high performance processing. The powerful, strength-to-weight optimized boom is designed specifically for processing and high stacking.

Operator visibility is unmatched in the quiet, comfortable, ergonomically designed cab. The hooked boom design, and narrow side posts provide excellent righthand side visibility. An integrated cab riser and the rearVIEW camera system contributes to all-around visibility for the operator. Optimally positioned controls and a large touch screen display improve ergonomics and machine monitoring. Reduced noise levels help the operator enjoy the auxiliary audio input port, Bluetooth® audio and hands-free calling.

Service access is unmatched with the ability to step down into the centre of the machine for clear, unobstructed access to the engine and daily service points. Large enclosure doors and a service platform provide easy access to other service points. A large cast counterweight with a swing-out door allows access to the engine from the rear of the machine.



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What's hurting NZ sawmillers?

Sawmill closures as overseas market subsidies inflate log prices says industry - Sawmills in New Zealand find it hard to be profitable when overseas competitors can benefit from subsidies, the main timber industry organisation says.

The problem is so bad that one day all timber used in New Zealand might have to be imported. That is despite the fact that around two million hectares of trees are grown for timber in New Zealand, mainly pine trees.These comments came from the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association (WPMA).

They followed a decision in principle by Carter Holt Harvey (CHH) to close its sawmill in Whangarei. The company is consulting staff before making this final, but it is expected to go ahead with closure. CHH Timber chief executive Clayton Harris blamed continuing log shortages in Northland for the problem.

WPMA said there were further problems besides the wood shortage with high prices for timber caused by trade distortions overseas. Chair Brian Stanley said even if the wood could be accessed it was way too expensive.

"We have seen three sawmills close down in the last 12 months, and now this one in Northland," he said, "It's a serious trend and one that everyone in the country needs to start thinking about."

Stanley said for years, people overseas were buying New Zealand logs for high prices, secure in the knowledge that subsidies from their own government would allow them to sell the logs at a loss to timber yards in their own country. This was especially so in China, but a report done just before Christmas by the economic consultancy Sense Partners found trade distortions of the log industry in 39 countries

More >>

Source: RNZ



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Japan radar system boosts forest monitoring

Forest monitoring gets a boost from Japanese space agency data - Powerful data from a Japanese radar system, available for the first time, will allow governments to monitor threats to their forests and peatlands more closely, helping them tap funding to protect those ecosystems, the United Nations said on Thursday.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) signed an agreement to include data from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in FAO's forest monitoring platforms, and plans to train states on how to use it.

Julian Fox, FAO team leader for national forest monitoring, said the radar can track forests 24 hours a day, and can be used as an early warning system to detect deforestation.

Scientists say protecting existing forests and restoring damaged ones can prevent flooding, store planet-warming carbon, limit climate change and safeguard biodiversity.

Fred Stolle, deputy director of US-based World Resources Institute's Forests Program, said radar had the added value of being able to "see" through clouds and the night sky, but interpreting its data was more complicated than that from optical satellites.

As a result, countries had been slow to use radar as they lacked the capacity and technical knowledge, he said by email.

The JAXA-FAO partnership was a "great step" towards making radar technology more accessible, added Stolle, whose organisation runs Global Forest Watch.

That service is working with the Netherlands' Wageningen University, Satelligence and palm oil companies on a public radar-based monitoring system, called RADD, using the European Space Agency's satellites.

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Source: Place


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Almost finally … is forestry’s loss a culinary gain?

Trevor Hall can't believe he's been crowned champion - Before we tell you the full story, we have to start at the beginning with our biggest conference last year - HarvestTECH 2019. At this popular event you may recall that hundreds of us listened to the case study from East Coast logger Robert ‘Stubbsy’ Stubbs. He had worked closely with a lean manufacturing consultant, one Trevor Hall. To applause Hall took to the stage issuing a caveat that he was to be known simply as ‘Trev’. Introductions aside. the case study was intriguing as Trev outlined management and operations changes he had facilitated with Stubbs’ logging crews – quite a transformation for a long-time logger to make in his growing business.

Fast forward to the end of 2019 and, lo and behold, Trev turns up on the small screen in our homes as a keen and very capable contestant on TVNZ’s Great Kwi Bake-Off:

Hawke's Bay's Trevor Hall didn't just win TVNZ's Great Kiwi Bake Off, he probably secured himself the title of NZ's favourite reality contestant of the year as well. The humble man from Havelock North, who told Hawke's Bay Today in late December it felt "incredible" to have won the title.

He described the eight-week process as "outstandingly amazing" but said he'd remains grounded despite Sunday's victory.

"I am still a bit lost for words to be honest. I haven't really had time to process it.

Whatever way the final result went, Hall always had one eye on a new baking-based business venture. Teaming up with fellow Hawke's Bay resident Anna Howley, from Napier, who was eliminated in week two, Hall said they planned to launch the baking business in the New Year.

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Jobs



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... and finally ... Dave knew everybody ...

Dave was bragging to his boss one day, “You know, I know everyone there is to know. Just name someone, anyone, and I know them.”

Tired of his boasting, his boss called his bluff, “OK, Dave, how about Tom Cruise?”

“No drama boss. Tom and I are old friends, and I can prove it.” So Dave and his boss fly to Hollywood and knock on Tom Cruise’s door. Tom Cruise opens it and shouts, “Dave! What’s happening? Great to see you! Come on in for a beer!”

Although impressed, Dave’s boss is still skeptical. After they leave Cruise’s house, he tells Dave that he thinks him knowing Cruise was just lucky.

“No, no, just name anyone else,” Dave says.

“President Obama,” his boss quickly retorts.

“Yup,” Dave says, “Old buddies, let’s fly across to Washington,” so off they go.

At the White House, Obama spots Dave on the tour and motions him and his boss over, saying, “Dave, what a surprise, I was just on my way to a meeting, but you and your friend come on in and let’s have a beer first and catch up.”

Well, the boss is very shaken by now but still not totally convinced. After they leave the White House grounds he expresses his doubts to Dave, who again implores him to name anyone else.

“Pope Francis,” his boss replies.

“Sure!” says Dave. “I’ve known the Pope for years.” So off they fly to Rome.

Dave and his boss are assembled with the masses at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square when Dave says, “This will never work. I can’t catch the Pope’s eye among all these people. Tell you what, I know all the guards so let me just go upstairs and I’ll come out on the balcony with the Pope.” He disappears into the crowd headed towards the Vatican.

Sure enough, half an hour later Dave emerges with the Pope on the balcony, but by the time Dave returns, he finds that his boss has had a heart attack and is surrounded by paramedics. Making his way to his boss’ side, Dave asks him, “What happened?”

His boss looks up and says, “It was the final straw… you and the Pope came out on to the balcony and the man next to me said, ‘Who is that on the balcony with Dave?’ "



Thanks for keeping up with the latest wood news with us!
Have a safe and productive week.

John Stulen
Editor

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