WoodWeek – 3 November 2021

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. We have the September figures and the very handy graphs courtesy of the team at Champion Freight for you this week. Staying with the log trade, investment brokers Forsyth Barr have released an industry report which suggests log exports will peak and then drop by 35% within a decade. The report found the lack of planting activity after the 1990s forestry boom would lead to a shortage of export logs. Industry leaders don't necessarily share this view.

It's becoming clear that biomass trending strongly upward for industrial process heat users in the South Island looking to decarbonise their operations. Initial EECA data indicates that 90 per cent of high-temperature boiler operators in Canterbury and Southland prefer biomass to electrification because of cost considerations. The upshot of this is a dramatic increase in demand for woody-biomass fuels which in turn is putting the spotlight on regional bioenergy manufacturing and the supply-chain. These same trends are now being experienced across the country. So, its high time for a conference for sharing information and networking for key suppliers and users of biomass. We plan to run our FIEA Residues to Revenues 2022 on 9-10 March in Rotorua. Details on the conference, exhibitions and workshops planned can be found on the event website.

Another trend that has improved forest safety considerably is how much more safety conscious harvesting contractors have become in the past decade. DC Equipment celebrating the sale of their 150th Falcon winch-assist harvester machine. This milestone was achieved in just seven years. Its convincing evidence of how logging has changed in our industry.

Finally, it’s possible that, despite being such fine stewards of such our carbon sequestering forest estates, forest owners have their collective head in the clouds when it comes to knowing the difference between birds and mammals. Yes, we can confirm that the Forest Owners Association advocated in a media release recommending people vote for a bat, rather than the dozen or so species of endangered native actual birds. It was all good harmless fun and, of course their bat won!

Speaking of birds, if you’ve always wanted to fly like one, this liquidation of the assets of Martin Jetpack might be just your ticket to space. I’m not sure the gear comes with a warranty though!

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Champion Freight Log Export Market Update

With statistics for log export reporting just in for the September month, the slowdown we've seen in log exports to China has now arrived in the charts. This September was just shy of the same month in 2020 with last year with still in the shadow of the 2020 post-Covid work stoppage shadow. This week we've got our monthly update from the team at Champion Freight.

Year-on-year the chart shows total log export values to China to the end of September were up 45 percent contributing to overall log exports lifting by 38 percent across all export markets. Log exports to South Korea were up for the year by 16 percent up while volumes while logs to Japan were up 3% and to India were down 50%.

For the month ended in September our log exports to China saw shipments drop by 3 percent, compared to September 2020, dragging overall log exports down 12 percent. Notably, logs to India were up non-existent (zip, zero, nil) for the month.


Source: Champion Freight

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New In-house Silviculture Crew for Aratu

Yesterday Aratu Forests went back to the future and established an in-house Silviculture (primarily waste thinning) Crew.

For the last 30 years forestry companies have been outsourcing most of their activities to contractors resulting in a very transactional relationship. Aratu feels that there may be a range of benefits in revisiting this model in some areas of our business.

With this trial we hope to achieve positive outcomes for the workers, and our company and develop a model that is sustainable for the long term that will attract more young and talented people to the sector.

A big thanks to Adrian Whiting and Mark Grayson for taking up this challenge and William Grogan for getting it to the start line.

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Export Log Forecasts Questioned

Export log shortage expected – New Zealand could face a shortage of export logs within the next decade, caused by insufficient planting activity after the 1990s forestry boom, a new report says. However, a forestry executive said while it was coming, the shortage would not be within the next decade.

Investment brokers Forsyth Barr have released an industry report which suggests log exports will peak and then drop by 35% within a decade. The report found the lack of planting activity after the 1990s forestry boom would lead to a shortage of export logs.

Dunedin City Council-owned City Forests chief executive Grant Dodson agreed there would be a shortage but did not believe it would occur in the next 10 years. Wood supply forecasts showed there would be strong harvest activity over the next 10 years and then in the mid-to-late 2030s there would be a drop as the last of the late 1990s planted forestry was harvested.

That meant the shortage would be ‘‘a little way off yet,’’ Mr Dodson said.


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FOA Cooperates Ahead of COP26

New Zealand Forest Owners sign on to International Wood Manifesto leading into COP26 – The New Zealand Forest Owners Association has joined 17 other forest and timber organisations around the world in launching the International Wood Manifesto in London to lead into the crucial COP26 UN climate change conference starting in Glasgow on Sunday.

The Manifesto is making the strong case for wood, to catch the attention of the international delegations on their way to Glasgow and will also feature in events at the global negotiations. It points to 40 percent of global energy related to CO₂ emissions originating in the construction and built environment.

Against this, the Manifesto identifies “wood being the only sustainable material that grows worldwide which can enable a sustainable decarbonisation of the built environment …. providing vast carbon sinks in our rural areas and carbon stores in our cities.”

FOA spokesman David Rhodes, says growing more forests and using more wood is rapidly becoming a key factor in the global effort to reduce gross greenhouse gas emission levels.

“Forests are a double benefit. The trees themselves sequester carbon from the atmosphere and then the wood used in construction will continue to store that carbon and avoid the need to use carbon emitting steel and concrete,” David Rhodes says.

“So we are heading in the right direction here in New Zealand. The Climate Change Commission has recommended another 380,000 hectares of plantation forest would need to be planted by 2035 to meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon zero goal.” “That reflects the emphasis that the international science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, puts on forest greenhouse gas mitigation. The government has implemented a Wood First procurement policy for its construction needs.”

“MPI is backing the showcase Clearwater Quays Apartments five-storey project in Christchurch, which is nearing completion. It’s demonstrating to architects and building specifiers, the advantages - environmental and economic - of using modern engineered timber construction.”

David Rhodes believes that wood’s role in an industrially transformed sustainable economy is only just starting. “Worldwide, and here in New Zealand with Scion, there is a huge amount of research into the bio- based circular economy, to find ways to turn wood into a range of materials which are currently made out of mined petrochemicals.”

“Perhaps the first sign of implementation here is the use of wood fuel in the New Zealand dairy industry, which will replace tens of thousands of tonnes of coal burning a year. Fonterra is already using wood pellets at its Te Awamutu factory with more plants to follow.”

“This illustrates how wood can not only offset emissions but actually reduce them as well.” But David Rhodes warns there does need to be a sufficient area of plantation forests for New Zealand to reach its sequestration and carbon storage ambitions.

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Port Results Vary by Region

Port Nelson’s 2021 Financial Year Results Reflect The Impacts Of Global Shipping Challenges - Port Nelson Limited has released its financial results for the year ended June 2021. The 2021 financial year saw Port Nelson’s performance impacted by the global supply chain and shipping challenges.

The Port had previously set its lowest profit budget in five years for 2021, due to concerns over how trade would respond in a COVID environment. This budget was exceeded despite lower cargo volumes due to strong cost control and increases in property valuations.

Port Nelson reported a Net Profit After Tax (NPAT), excluding one-off property revaluations, of $9.1m, up $1.7m (23%) on budget, and up 12% on the previous year. Strong commercial property revaluations contributed to an equity increase of $3.9m, impacting positively on the year’s profitability. The final NPAT was $13.0m. The Port was pleased to declare a fully imputed, full year, dividend of $4.0 million.

The Port’s cargo volumes for 2020/21 were 3.25 million tonnes, down 3% on budget, and 1% on the previous year. This result masks some key variances in our major cargo groups. Log exports were up 8% on budget, reflecting strong demand and prices in China. Container throughput was 102,995 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU), down 13% on budget and 11% on last year.


Port of Tauranga sees strong growth in first quarter despite Covid disruption - Meanwhile, further north, results for the first quarter at Port of Tauranga paint quite a different picture. - Port of Tauranga, New Zealand’s largest port, has just reported a 6.9% increase in total trade to 6.8 million tonnes in the first quarter of the 2022 financial year.

Log export volumes increased 2.4% to 1.6 million tonnes. Direct dairy exports increased 6.7% in volume and kiwifruit exports were also strong, up 7.1% on the first quarter of last financial year. Container volumes increased 8.1% to 310,997 TEUs1. Exports increased 5.3% to 4.3 million tonnes and imports increased 9.8% to 2.5 million tonnes.

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Wood Residues come to the Fore

Biomass is the clear favourite for industrial process heat users in the South Island of New Zealand looking to decarbonise their operations, according to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. Initial EECA data indicates that 90 per cent of high-temperature boiler operators in Canterbury and Southland prefer biomass to electrification because of cost considerations.

Electrode boilers have much higher capital costs than thermal boilers and expose users to changes in wholesale electricity prices. It is much cheaper and easier to convert existing boilers to run on biomass while retaining coal as a backstop.

DETA Consulting is leading the primary data collection for EECA’s regional heat demand database project. DETA managing director Jonathan Pooch told an EECA decarbonisation workshop on Friday that this “clear, dominant bias” towards biomass for the southern process heat sector is understandable. Electrification is expensive, and natural gas and geothermal options aren’t available in the South Island.

The upshot is dramatically increasing demand for woody-biomass fuels in a part of the country where the bioenergy manufacturing and supply-chain is less developed than in the North Island. “There is a broader conversation that needs to be had, probably as part of a broader energy strategy, about forestry and biomass,” he says. “It’s not an insurmountable challenge, but it is a challenge.”

This presents many challenges – particularly when coal remains the cheapest option overall even as prices rise through the Emissions Trading Scheme. “The brutal reality is that the ETS still needs to do some heavy lifting to price coal. It’s going in the right direction – but coal is still the lowest-cost option available.”

Rapid evolution - Pooch estimates large-scale conversion to biomass would require about 13 per cent of the South Island’s annual forest harvest. He thinks there are enough raw materials in the South Island to meet this demand, but the question remains whether the market can tolerate the high prices that diverting those volumes of fibre from existing uses would have.

Existing supply is also dominated by waste product and there is comparatively little in the way of higher- energy products like wood pellets. Increased competition for raw materials would require more planting, including short-rotation crops. “We’ve got to see a rapid evolution of this biomass market into something that’s perceived as low risk compared to the baseline of coal and the supply chain that’s been around for 100 years or more.”

Co-firing solutions - Maximising bioenergy’s potential for decarbonising process heat requires a rethink on how it is used, including how it can complement other options, including electrification. “Biomass is the preferred fuel source at the moment but most sites are open to using electricity if the market conditions are right,” Pooch says.

He suggests co-firing solutions are a good place to innovate as these can adapt well to the seasonal nature of process heat sites, including dairy factories. For example, wood pellets can be saved for peak season while lower-quality chips could provide the bulk of annual feedstock. Electrode boilers could also have a similar peak role over summer while biomass is used in winter.

Coal will likely be used when power prices are high and to fill the gap as investment in generation and the transmission network catches up. “There is an argument that for a time coal will still have a role at these sites. It doesn’t have to be a binary, good versus bad.”

Regional database - EECA’s regional heat demand database is an open database recording the location and nature of existing process heat demand across the country. This is aggregated by sector and by region to maintain anonymity for the sites, except for ones that have received grants from the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund, which EECA administers.

Regions are added to the database when at least 85 per cent of data collection is complete. Currently, only data for Southland and Canterbury is available and EECA expects to release data for the South Island’s remaining regions by the end of 2021.

The location and organised aggregation of woody bio fuels to meet the growing demand for industrial process heat users is a focus for the Residues to Revenues 2022 event that will be running for bio-fuel producers on 9-10 March 2022. Full details on the programme can be found on the event website .

Source: BANZ, deta.global

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150 Falcons Flying on our Slopes

If you need a clear demonstration of how safety conscious harvesting contractors have become in the past decade, the sale of the 150th Falcon winch-assist machine provides convincing evidence. It took just seven years to reach that milestone and manufacturer, Nelson-based DC Equipment, says demand is currently at an all-time high.

The shift to mechanised tree falling on steep slopes has accelerated around the world after the technology and safety of the innovative practice was proven in New Zealand. Kiwi companies like DC Equipment are at the forefront of the tech drive, exporting safety-first forestry equipment to customers in New Zealand and across the globe as a solution to removing vulnerable workers from dangerous task such as tree falling and breaking out.

“I can’t believe we’ve hit Winch-Assist number 150, it just seems like yesterday we were building our first one,” says Dale Ewers, founder and owner of DC Equipment, as well as running a successful logging company. We got into this business to protect people in our own harvesting crews and it worked so well we offered it to other contractors. We haven’t looked back.”

Designed and tested extensively in a wide range of slope and soil conditions the Falcon Winch-Assist has clocked up approximately half-a-million operational hours and zero harm incidents across its customer base.

One leading customer is forestry equipment leasing company, TDF Solutions, which has purchased 27 Falcon Winch-Assist machines in recent years, including number 150. TDF’s Business Manager, Frankie Davidson, was himself involved in the early years of winch-assist development with a company that built a double-drum, twin-rope bulldozer but he has since become a firm believer in the single rope system produced by DC Equipment.

“It’s an awesome product and it works bloody well,” says Frankie, whose company provides forestry equipment to contractors on a lease-to-own basis through New Zealand. You’ve only got to see how they have changed the way we work on the hills and the safety record. Perhaps the best endorsement is our customers who coming back for another one ... and another.

“Since we took delivery of the 150th Falcon Winch-Assist – our 27th – we’ve already signed up our 30th.” TDF was among the early purchasers of the Falcon Winch-Assist and Frankie says that although the key principles have not changed over the years, he has seen it become more refined and more user-friendly.

“Compared to the first one, number 150 is different in almost every single way and yet it is exactly the same,” says Frankie.

Photo: DC Equipment’s Nick and Solomon (left & centre) hand over the 150th Falcon Winch-Assist machine to Nigel Bryant of Nelson-based Nigel Bryant Logging

More >>

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ISO Logs onto New Technology

There’s some high-tech wizardry taking place as this ISO Limited log shuttle heads through the company’s log yard at Port Taranaki.

We’re thrilled ISO is supporting the growing export log trade at our port by installing a new Auto Tally Shed (ATS) on-site, which uses 18 high-resolution cameras to detect and scan log barcodes and automatically count the logs as they are being moved from the log yard to the vessel.

Designed and built in-house by the ISO Technology team, the cutting-edge technology provides greater safety, efficiency, and accuracy, and supports the Ministry for Primary Industries’ phytosanitary standards for exporting.

“It takes approximately 8-12 minutes to scan logs manually, but this improved process takes only a matter of seconds. So this improves safety and increases efficiency as it removes the need for people to access trailers and manually scan each log,” says ISO Limited chief operating officer Andrew Davies.

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Summit Forests Acquires Two Ernslaw Forests

Ernslaw One and its advisor Cranleigh Partners are pleased to announce that Ernslaw has completed an agreement to sell the Whangapoua and Ruatoria forests with a combined area of 15,100 productive hectares to Summit Forests.

Yong Tiong, Executive Director of the Oregon Group, the parent company of Ernslaw One, said this was a significant step forward in executing Ernslaw's strategy in New Zealand.

“This reflects a continued focus on positioning our estate to meet our strategic goals of creating high value downstream products,” says Mr Tiong.

Part of the proceeds from this transaction will facilitate further investments in the Group’s timber and pulp processing facilities located in the North Island.

Takashi Sasaoka, Managing Director of Summit Forests, said this is an important day for Summit Forests as it continues to establish a long-term business in New Zealand.

“This acquisition of highly productive forests will complement the other assets acquired over the last decade in New Zealand. We look forward to continuing to manage these forests in line with Summit's commitment to best practice and the highest environmental standards,” says Mr Sasaoka.

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Voters went Batty!

Holy Flying Mammals Batman! >>> Bird Of The Year Winner Announced - A bat has won New Zealand’s 2021 Bird of the Year/Te Manu Rongonui o te Tau. This is the first time New Zealand’s only land mammal has been included in Forest & Bird’s annual contest, and it has flown away with the title.
“I think I’m going to be fired,” says Forest & Bird’s Bird of the Year spokesperson Laura Keown.

After a two-week campaign that nearly broke the internet, and turned friends against one another, the pekapeka-tou-roa/long-tailed bat was the winner with both the most number-one ranked votes, and most votes after transferrable vote rankings were applied.

“Kiwis clearly love their native bat, and they have chosen our only native land mammal to be the 2021 Bird of the Year,” says Laura.

“The campaign to raise awareness and support for this little flying furball has captured the nation!”

“A vote for bats is also a vote for predator control, habitat restoration, and climate action to protect our bats and their feathered neighbours! Long-tailed bats, or pekapeka-tou-roa, are a unique part of Aotearoa’s biodiversity, but lots of people don’t know they even exist,” says Ben Paris, Senior Conservation Advisor at Auckland Council and New Zealand Batman.
“There are pekapeka projects spanning the whole country with conservation communities doing great mahi with our bats. Here in Auckland our bat conservation efforts have been supported by our targeted rate which has allowed us, together with our communities, to undertake a lot more work. The more citizen scientists we have out there looking for pekapeka the more conservation work we can do to understand and help them.”
“These bats were added to Forest & Bird’s competition to help people get to know them, and their story has flown around the world!” says Ben. The voting closed at 5pm on Sunday 31 October with 56,733 verified votes cast, making it the biggest ever Bird of the Year. The top ten finishers and #1 ranked votes:
1. Long-tailed bat/pekapeka-tou-roa (7031)
2. Kākāpō (4072)
3. Rifleman/titipounamu (2808)
4. Kea (2801)
5. Antipodean albatross/toroa (2790)
6. Black robin/kakaruia (2413)
7. TIE - Little penguin/kororā (1762) and Morepork/ruru (1762)
9. Blue duck/whio (1648)
10 Rockhopper penguin (1603)

Image credit - Long-tailed Bat Close up - CREDIT Ian Davidson-Watts

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Introducing Tigercat Simulators

In March 2021, Tigercat partnered with CM Labs Simulations to develop a series of simulators that will replicate the functionality and behaviour of Tigercat log forwarders and wheel harvesters. The wheel harvester simulator is the first to be completed.

There are many benefits in using a simulator, not only for training but also for employers to screen potential employees. Companies are able to gauge how an operator will perform and use that information when assigning tasks.

Tigercat simulators have three screens, a motions platform, as well as all the associated Tigercat machine control software and hardware. The simulator’s software communicates directly with the Tigercat machine control software so the controls are identical to the actual machine. Any adjustments that can be made on the machine, can also be made on the simulator which helps teach operators not only motor skills but the effects of the many machine adjustments available to operators...

See the full news release here

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Who Knew? – Buy Your Own Personal Jetpack

Martin Jetpack Cleared For Take-off – Aviation buffs, collectors and entrepreneurs have a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy their own Martin Jetpack – Seven prototype Martin Jetpacks are now up for sale – following liquidation of the Martin Jetpack Aircraft Company. There’s also an unmanned drone test aircraft, spare engines, training simulators, every imaginable spare part, the company’s computer servers, branding and technical documentation.

“It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own one of these world-renowned aircraft – or better still to buy the lot and take the project through to completion,” says Sam Brown of Skylarc Asset Realisation in Christchurch.

David Ruscoe and Russell Moore of Grant Thornton New Zealand were appointed as liquidators of Martin Aircraft in March 2021 following a wind up of research, development, and operations in 2019 and have appointed Sam’s aptly named company with managing the sale of the remaining assets on their behalf.

Sam is confident people in New Zealand and around the world will be interested. “It’s the ultimate feature for a blokes shed, especially for an aviation enthusiast who wants to own a piece of New Zealand aviation history. What better talking point than a Martin Jetpack?” Sam says.

“It’s not impossible to think of having one as a piece of modern art – it just needs the right home or gallery to display it in. A more ambitious buyer might want to try and get CAA approval to fly the craft – but Sam’s offering no advice on that front. He’s equally reluctant to say how much a potential buyer might have to offer to get their own Martin Jetpack.”

An international tender ends on Friday 5 November. Local buyers have the advantage of being able to look before they buy (by appointment only), but for those who can’t – there’s plenty of video footage and photographs to show what’s on offer.

A huge range of aviation electronics, early Jetpack prototypes, test equipment and other related company assets will also be listed with a $1 reserve on Trade Me from 11 November.

Video footage showing development of the Martin Jetpack can be found here>>

Auction details are here>>

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... something for a laugh


The world tongue twister champion has just been convicted in court.
I hear he’s going to get a really tough sentence.

In one USA county, an epidemic of roaming dogs became so widespread the dog patrol folks had to enlist the support of local police to help reign in the problem. During a state-wide drive to round up all unlicensed dogs, a patrolman signalled a car to pull over to the curb.

When the driver asked why he had been stopped, the officer pointed to the big dog sitting on the seat beside him.

"Does your dog have a license?" he asked.

"Oh, no," the man said, "He doesn't need one; I always do the driving."


Kids these days are just too clever. I figured that at age seven it was inevitable for my son to begin having doubts about Santa Claus.

Sure enough, one day he said, "Dad, I think I've figured something out about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy."

Taking a deep breath, I asked him, "What is that?"

He replied, "They're all nocturnal."

See you again next week.
John Stulen

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