WoodWeek – 10 February 2016

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. This week we have a range of international forestry news to add to local news updates. In British Columbia’s forest industry the debate is on to address steep logging methods. Already some industry leaders in contracting in BC are early adopters of traction-assist/tethered harvesters developed here in New Zealand. For BC’s industry there are different issues to tackle in order to get full acceptance by forest companies, injury prevention and workplace safety bodies and equipment suppliers. Naturally everyone needs to come to terms with best practice operating procedures. These will need to be designed to suit North American weather conditions and ground conditions during the different seasons.

Kiwi loggers have been quick to respond to the demand for safer steep slope logging practices as four companies from New Zealand are now active on the west coast of Canada and USA. Loggers and foresters from all three countries will come together at a unique technical conference expressly focused on the challenges of harvesting forests on steep terrain with the specialist logging machines developed in New Zealand. Registrations have exceeded expectations and a big crowd will come together at the Executive Airport Plaza Hotel on March 2 in Vancouver.

In local news – this week nominations officially opened to recognize outstanding people in the forest industry on the east coast. Of course, what we are talking about is the annual Eastland Wood Council Forest Industry Awards. Employers and nominees are invited to visit the council website for more information.

Moving over to Australia for more wood news – Australia has really lifted its wood chip shipments in the past few years. As a result, their volumes have climbed from being the world’s fourth largest exporter of hardwood chips in 2012 to trail only Vietnam in 2015 in terms of total exports. About a third of the world’s traded hardwood chips are currently originating from Eucalyptus plantation forests in Australia. Other major chip-supplying countries include Vietnam, Chile, Thailand, South Africa, Indonesia and Brazil.

At the other end of the wood value chain – it’s good news for producers of wood products for tall timber buildings in Australia. From May this year, Australia’s timber industry merchants and manufacturers will have new sales opportunities in taller structures (up to 8 storeys) for buildings including apartments, offices and hotels. This is the result of a successful proposal to change the National Construction Code. The hard yards were done by Forest and Wood Products Australia – the industry services body.

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BC loggers and foresters face dilemma

In British Columbia's forest, with easy-access timber pretty much used up, they are logging in increasingly challenging terrain, including steep slopes that had previously been bypassed because they’re too steep for traditional machinery.

A relatively new approach to operating on steep slopes is tethered, winch-assist logging, which has solved the access problem. It is being used with success in places like New Zealand, contractors were told at recent Truck Loggers conference in Vancouver. BC logging contractors say they have no choice but to follow New Zealand’s example. “The land base is being stretched and the areas which we’ve been avoiding in the past, we can no longer do that, or we’re just not going to have a land base to operate on,” said Reid Hedlund, owner of Mid- Boundary Contracting.

Steep-slope logging doesn’t necessarily mean going higher in altitude. Even lower down on a mountainside, usable stands of timber are often left standing adjacent to logged areas because the trees grow on slopes too steep for falling and yarding machines.

Some steep-slope harvesting is done using heli-logging, which targets high-value timber in smaller patches. But that leaves behind a lot of other timber that could have been logged had fallers and yarders been able to operate in the steeper terrain.

“Major tenure holders recognize that they now have to go back into these areas that have been bypassed to try to find a way to do it, first of all safely and then cost-efficiently,” Hedlund said. “It’s the future of the forest industry,” said Kelway Cox, owner of Mountain Forestry Ltd. “Moving to these steep-slope harvesters lets us access more timber more economically and is more environmentally sensitive.”

BC's forest industry has been lagging behind New Zealand and northern European countries when it comes to innovation in the steep-slope field. Only a few BC contractors, most of them on Vancouver Island, have been using winch-assist logging to get at timber on steeper slopes.

To showcase some of this innovative new technology being developed, designed and used by New Zealand harvesting contractors, a special one-day event, Steep Slope Logging has been set up specifically for North American contractors and forestry companies. It runs in Vancouver on 2 March. Full details and registrations can be made on the event website, www.steepslopelogging.events.

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Record Australian chip shipments to China

Australia has increased exportation of Eucalyptus chips by 58% in three years to reach a record-high in 2015, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. Shipments to pulp mills in China have gone up substantially and the costs for chips landed in this growing market have increased the past two years to practically equal those of chip costs delivered to Japan.

Eucalyptus chip export volumes from Australia were up 15% in 2015 year-over- year to reach a record-high of 5.2 million tons, valued at almost one billion Australian dollars. Shipments have increased for three consecutive years and were in 2015 about 58% higher than they were in 2012.

The major development in wood chip trade during past few years has been the increase in exports of hardwood chips to China. Back in 2010, chip shipments to China only accounted for about 13% of the total export volume from Australia. In 2015, however, more than half of the chip exports were destined for China and the country has surpassed Japan as the major destination for Australian Eucalyptus chips.

In the past Japan was the major consumer of hardwood chips from Australia, accounting for 80% of the export volume as late as 2010. Over the past five years, export volumes have fallen from about 3.6 million tons in 2010 to an estimated 1.9 million tons in 2015.

Australia has not only increased shipments the past few years, climbing from being the world’s fourth largest exporter of hardwood chips in 2012 to trail only Vietnam in 2015 in terms of total exports. About a third of the world’s traded hardwood chips are currently originating from Eucalyptus plantation forests in Australia. Other major chip-supplying countries include Vietnam, Chile, Thailand, South Africa, Indonesia and Brazil.

Another noteworthy development is how the costs for Australian chips delivered to pulp mills in China and Japan have changed over the past few years. During much of the period from 2011 to 2013, the price discrepancy for chips landed in China were about US$50/odmt lower than chips delivered to Japan. However, since early 2014 the delivered costs converged between the major consuming countries of Australian hardwood fibre, and they have remained practically the same since then only changing marginally in 2015.

Source: Wood Resources International LLC, www.woodprices.com

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Eastland Wood Council Awards nominations open

Yesterday nominations officially opened for the Eastland Wood Council (EWC) Annual Forest Industry Awards. Employers and nominees are invited to visit the council website for more information.

This year the council awards increase their focus on harvesting. To make that happen they have introduced three new awards – Breaker Out, Faller plus Extraction & Skidwork – each of which recognise the individuals involved in the harvesting work force.

In coming years of this award campaign the focus will alternate on other key business component of the sectors including silviculture and wood processing.

Ticket sales are always fast for this popular event so contact Prue Younger directly to book.

The Eastland Wood Council would like to thank you everyone for their continued support and The 2016 celebrations take place on 20 May at the Farmers Air Showgrounds Event Centre.

2016 EFA Nomination Booklet

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New markets for timber with code change

From May this year, Australia’s timber industry merchants and manufacturers will have new sales opportunities in taller structures – up to 8 storeys - for buildings including apartments, offices and hotels. This is the result of a successful proposal to change the National Construction Code (NCC), submitted and managed by Forest and Wood Products Australia Limited (FWPA), the industry services body.

Preliminary economic modelling indicates potential savings in the order of 10-15% in multi– residential and commercial build costs, primarily due to shorter construction times. The modelling also suggests net benefits to the Australian economy over 10 years of approximately AU$103 million; comprising AU$98.2 million in direct construction cost savings, AU$3.8 million in reduced compliance costs; and AU$1 million in environmental benefits. Benefits to the timber industry, while dependent on the rate of uptake, are expected to be substantial, however it is anticipated that it will take 18 months to 2 years to achieve significant uptake.

Ric Sinclair, managing director of FWPA said the Code change was the biggest market opportunity for timber for the last 30 years, and comparable to the change from green hardwood framing to kiln dried softwood. The increased use of both lightweight and massive timber building systems was poised to generate increased awareness and uptake of wood and wood products, with a halo effect that could extend beyond the buildings immediately involved.

“The changes to the Code not only bring Australia up to pace with much of the rest of the world, but will also deliver a wide range of benefits to local residents, property buyers, the design and construction sector and the timber industry,” Ric said.

He explained that the benefits of taller timber buildings not only include lower costs but also increased opportunities for innovative design and construction, faster build times leading to reduced truck movements and local disruption as well as improved environmental outcomes and increased volumes for the timber industry.

“It is an exciting time for the forest and wood products industry,” Mr Sinclair concluded, “this is effectively an opportunity to explore and develop a new market – selling to a new audience of architects, designers, engineers and property developers who have been accustomed to using alternative materials in these mid-rise projects – and they may well expand beyond them as they become more familiar with the use of timber building systems.”

The Australian mid-rise building industry, which has not seen significant changes in decades, is set to experience exciting new developments that will not only create new opportunities for designers, builders, developers and purchasers, but will also drive greater demand for both lightweight and heavy timber building systems.

For the past 2 years, on behalf of the timber industry, FWPA has been consulting with representatives from the timber, building and insurance industries, regulatory bodies and fire and emergency authorities to develop a Proposal for Change to the National Construction Code Volume 1 (NCC).

Essentially, the new code means that it will be easier to use timber building systems in Class 2, Class 3 and Class 5 buildings up to 25 metres in effective height, which is approximately 8 storeys. The use of timber construction in these buildings was formerly restricted to 3 storeys, unless an ‘alternative solution’ was designed and documented to gain approval. This is practical on some larger projects but generally too costly for smaller developments.

New building options will include both traditional timber framing and innovative massive timber systems, such as cross laminated timber (CLT) and Glulam, and require the use of appropriate layers of fire resistant materials, specified design detailing and sprinkler systems.

The Code and changes can be downloaded here from Monday 8 February.

Source: FWPA

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Consultation open on forestry schemes

The Financial Markets Authority in New Zealand is currently considering possible exemptions to address some issues faced by forestry schemes in complying with the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013. This paper also discusses how schemes can approach some of their compliance obligations.

Submissions on this close on Friday 19 February 2016. An extract from the consultation paper is detailed below.

“There are some significant compliance issues and exemptions that forestry scheme issuers, supervisors, managers and investors need to be aware of.

The FMA are consulting with industry and investors on whether forestry schemes should be granted exemptions from certain obligations, and outline FMA's view on how schemes can approach some compliance obligations.

1. Many forestry schemes will be managed investment schemes (MIS) under the FMC Act and will need to comply with the FMC Act by 30 November 2016. These schemes should now be making their transition to become compliant with the FMC Act. We encourage schemes to begin this work as early as possible. You can find out more information about MIS obligations and the transition here.

2. A number of questions have been raised about how forestry schemes can comply with some of the requirements of the FMC Act, and if exemptions are necessary and appropriate.

3. In most cases we consider forestry schemes will be able to comply with the FMC Act requirements. This paper discusses how forestry schemes can comply with these obligations.

4. In some limited cases however we consider exemption support may be appropriate. This paper explains our exemption proposals and invites submissions."

For further details, please click here.

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Overseas Merchandise and Trade

Commodity Exports - HS Code 44.0 - Logs, Wood and Wood Articles
Month ended December3 months ended December12 months ended December
2015 P
2015 P
2015 P
306 351 971930 3,6683,519
UP 14.7%DOWN -4.2%DOWN -4.1%

(Source: Statistics NZ) (P - Provisional)

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Tertiary ACC accreditation for forest marketer

Like many in the forestry sector, Forest Owner Marketing Services Ltd (FOMS) recently found themselves having less than comfortable conversations with the government regulator Worksafe. These events combined with staff support and the Health and Safety Reform Bill (passed December 2015), urged FOMS toward a new era of health and safety practices, aided by smart, cloud-based technology.

Last week Dan Gaddum, Director, proudly announced FOMS had achieved tertiary level ACC Accreditation. The award lets FOMS join ranks with the small portion of the forestry industry that is striving for best practice and a commitment to continuous improvements in health and safety.

Gaddum, as lead for the health and safety reforms at FOMS, says he recognised the Health and Safety changes as an opportunity to introduce a leading edge cloud-based data management system, enabling FOMS to work both safer and smarter.

The system, seamlessly links all electronic auditing systems in field, allowing FOMS to quickly capture accidents and incidents, undertake detailed pre-planning and provide timely reporting to clients.

“The system provides peace of mind to forest owner clients” says Gaddum “It’s a first step toward using big data to make meaningful changes that ultimately benefit our clients, our staff and our forest management practices. FOMS are committed to developing sound systems and processes when it comes to Health and Safety; a principle that both our business and our clients value.”

For more information on FOMS go to www.FOMS.co.nz

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... and finally ... Beware: potential time-waster!

This is woodworking expertise at a level that most of us can only just dream about doing ... not to mention how intricate the filming was to record it all!

Talk about innovative and artistic! Check it out...

Wood art. This is great (y)By Andrey Muntyan (mtmwood on Youtube)Check more mtmwood videos: youtube.com/user/mtmwood/videos

Posted by Woodworking Crazy on Sunday, January 31, 2016

Next - Okay. now it could get dangerous - this is where the time-waster potential kicks in:


If you are a parent you'll recognise this kid's conversation:

If you can't tell to start with, after the first few minutes it becomes obvious ... Yes, this clip was recorded by a very proud DAD:

That's all for our mid-week wood news roundup.

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John Stulen
PO Box 1230
Building X91, Scion Campus, 99 Sala Street
Rotorua, New Zealand
Tel: +64 27 275 8011
Web: www.woodweek.com

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