WoodWeek – 8 March 2017

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. It’s another big news week for the forest industry. Hard on the heels of the Safety Summit series wrapping up in Melbourne today, FIEA is pleased to announce the full programme for HarvestTech 2017 in June. This year we’ll be covering new technologies and operating practices in small wood lot harvesting. In particular, some of the unique challenges we’ve got ahead of us in harvesting the increasing number of woodlots on steep and more remote sites. Also, advances in harvest planning, mechanisation and automation will be covered.

As International Women’s Day is being celebrated today, OneFortyOne Plantations is marking the day by celebrating the achievements of its female staff. This year’s International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange campaign resonated with the Green Triangle region forestry company. It has enabled the company to reflect and celebrate how its female staff have been instrumental in redefining the status quo in forest fire fighting in the region over the past decade.

Forest Owners Association Chair, Peter Clark says they are looking forward to a higher profile in government with the appointment of Hon Louise Upston as holder of the forest portfolio in her role as Associate Minister for Primary Industries.

He added, “There is an emerging understanding in the government that more planted trees are the only way New Zealand can fully meet its Paris Agreement climate change commitments. That means we will be having a lot of discussion with the Deputy Prime Minister and de facto Forests Minister over the next year or so about how we might achieve a sufficient growth rate in planted forests and accomplish it profitably for those planting those trees.”

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Major logging conference for June

As announced at this months Safety Summit series in Rotorua and Melbourne the next big technical conference on the calendar is HarvestTECH 2017 running in Rotorua on 20-21 June. Summit delegates were offered loyalty discount rates that are open until next week.

“We’re anticipating again that this year’s event will again be one of the largest gatherings of logging contractors, forestry managers, forest owners, suppliers and harvest planners in New Zealand this year” says FIEA director, Brent Apthorp.

In addition to advances being made since 2015 in steep slope logging, this year we’ll be covering new technologies and operating practices in small wood lot harvesting (particularly around some of the unique challenges being faced harvesting the increasing number of woodlots on steep and more remote sites), harvest planning, advances in the mechanisation and automation of harvesting operations and some of the key issues around attracting people and new skills into the industry.

Some truly innovative harvesting operations are also going to be profiled. From Tasmania, delegates will hear about an Australian company that’s strapped a harvesting head onto an excavator and is working from a moored barge. They’re currently harvesting up to 26 metres under water and extracting high value specialty hardwood timbers from Tasmania’s waterways. From New Zealand’s West Coast, a company involved in large scale helicopter extraction of storm damaged timber since April 2014 will be outlining some of the issues around felling, extraction, logistics and safety with heli-lifting operations.

“The practical use of data collected from harvesting operations, improving data exchange and communications in more remote locations, eliminating log sorts and landing sizes and international developments in new harvesting equipment have also being built into HarvestTECH 2017”, says Brent Apthorp.

Full details of the two-day conference can be found by going onto the event website, www.harvesttech.events.

Note: Two full-day field tours to local logging contractors profiling some of the new innovations on the ground are being run either side of the Rotorua event. A minimal charge is being levied but numbers will need to be restricted at both. Registrations to both will need to be taken on a first in-first served basis. Registrations can be made on the event website, www.harvesttech.events.

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OneFortyOne celebrates Women's Day

OneFortyOne celebrates global #BeBoldForChange campaign - As International Women’s Day is being celebrated today, OneFortyOne Plantations is marking the day by celebrating the achievements of its female staff.

This year’s International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange campaign resonated with the Green Triangle region forestry company. It has enabled the company to reflect and celebrate how its female staff have been instrumental in redefining the status quo in forest firefighting in the region over the past decade.

Although female forest firefighters have been the norm for over 20 years, it has not always been the case for office based women who wanted to work on the fire ground too. OneFortyOne’s Contracts Manager, Cara Pearson, is one of the company’s senior managers in the regional office. She is well used to combining a strategic corporate role with the demands of forest firefighting during the fire season.

When she joined the forest industry over a decade ago, there were many who doubted the contribution that office based women would be able to make on the fire front line. “Some people really didn’t think that office staff would be able to cope with the physical requirements of forest firefighting”, remembers Mrs Pearson.

She believes those attitudes began to change when corporate female fire fighters battled alongside their field based colleagues during the 2006 Bluff fire. Corporate staff worked throughout the night in the forest, after starting their working day in the office.

For OneFortyOne, female involvement on the front line of firefighting is well and truly the norm, and is an integral part of its world class firefighting team. During the fire season, all staff participate in firefighting, either in frontline firefighting roles, or support roles in logistics and communication.

OneFortyOne is proud to be able to celebrate the many achievements its female staff have made for the company recently, and for the wider industry during their careers.

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January log volume record smashed

New Zealand’s Eastland Port achieved record log tonnage throughput in January, reaching 178,197 tonnes. It's an increase of 45 percent compared to last January when it reached 96,579 tonnes. Port General Manager Andrew Gaddum says it was the busiest January for wood export since Eastland Port was created in 2003.

“January can traditionally be a low volume month because of the Christmas and holiday breaks when forest operations stop, but this January’s throughput nearly doubled that of January 2016. Nine log vessels took away 178,197 tonnes of wood; three vessels departed with 4012 tonnes of squash; and three cruise ships arrived and left with just over 3000 people.

Eastland Port’s busiest months for log throughput are March and April, and September and October. In 2016, 2.3 million tonnes of logs were exported and this is expected to rise to 2.5 million tonnes for 2017.

Mr Gaddum says the port continues to grow side-by-side with the forestry industry and manage the huge volume of logs coming to the port. “While Eastland Port will be able to handle the 2.5m tonnes of wood predicted for this year, projections show the port will need to be able to handle 4 million tonnes over the next ten years.
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Foresters pleased with new minister

A Forest Owners Association leader says the are looking forward to a higher profile in government with the appointment of Hon Louise Upston as holder of the forest portfolio in her role as Associate Minister for Primary Industries.

Ms Upston replaces Jo Goodhew. Jo Goodhew was a minister outside cabinet. Louise Upston is number 20 in the Cabinet.

Forest Owners Association Chair, Peter Clark, says the industry had a good relationship with Jo Goodhew, who he says always put a high priority on the forest and timber processing industry.

“But we were frustrated, as I’m sure she was frustrated, that our issues did not get to be raised in cabinet by a minister directly concerned with forestry,” Peter Clark says.

“We are New Zealand’s number two primary industry, with forest product export returns running ahead of horticulture and meat, as well as being a large domestic industry. I’m sure Ms Upston will appreciate that and remind her colleagues of it.”

“Besides being MP for Taupo, a major forest region, she is also Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, which fits in well for addressing the developing skills and labour shortage in our industry.”

Peter Clark also says it is significant that the new Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett had retained the Climate Change Issues portfolio.

“There is an emerging understanding in the government that more planted trees are the only way New Zealand can fully meet its Paris Agreement climate change commitments. That means we will be having a lot of discussion with the Deputy Prime Minister and de facto Forests Minister over the next year or so about how we might achieve a sufficient growth rate in planted forests and accomplish it profitably for those planting those trees.”

Photo: Hon Louise Upston

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High tech health check for EOL teams

About 40 contractors working with New Zealand’s fourth largest forest owner Ernslaw One Limited (EOL), were the first to benefit from Turanga Health’s mobile forestry health checks that began in February.

The onsite workplace wellness programmes for forestry staff is making it easier for them to seek medical help while also taking better care of themselves, said Turanga Health coordinator Dallas Poi.

“The health checks are tailored to meet the needs of men and women working in an industry where it’s not always easy to slip away to see a nurse in the middle of the day.”

Ernslaw One Gisborne regional manager Iain McInnes said the health checks carried out at the Mangatu forest headquarters were well received by those who passed through.

“We were really keen to have Turanga Health offer the service to our contracting staff. People are the most valuable asset in any company and so investing in the health of our workforce makes good business sense as well as being the right thing to do.”

Mr McInnes said a healthy and happy workforce is just as important as investing in maintaining buildings and equipment.

“We’re working with some talented people and we want to make sure they are well. The onsite health check was a unique opportunity for our staff and we’re thrilled it’s going to be available to others working in the forestry industry.”

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Source: Gisborne Herald

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Carbon market update: OMF

NZUs rallied over the first two months of this year – after selling off late last year from the high $18 level down to under $17, the market has resumed its upward trend reaching $18.10 just recently.

A few factors at play – the 31 March date is approaching which will requires all emitters to furnish their 2016 emission returns. This has seen some buying. In addition – the Trump tone has moderated and whilst his threat to walk away from Paris is four years away and requires some hurdles on the part of the USA – it’s clear to many that our local carbon price is heading higher.

Another factor is the political election in six months’ time – our elections under MMP are always tight and if we switched to a Labour/Greens government – our ETS will tighten with agriculture likely to be phased in and the $25 CAP possibly removed.

That’s a binary risk for prices – up big or up slow. Finally, the Ministry for the Environment is holding public meetings over the next two weeks on forestry and supply issues relevant to the ETS post 2021 – whilst not market moving necessarily – changes are coming. Our view remains that prices will slowly move higher.

Source: Nigel Brunel, Director - Financial Markets, OMF

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NZ Logger - Red Stag's Super Mill

Before retiring Timberlands boss, David Balfour, departed New Zealand to return to Scotland after 13 years guiding Kaingaroa Forest back to its pre-eminent position in the industry, he spoke exclusively to NZ Logger magazine about his time in charge and where he sees forestry heading in this country. His fascinating overview is in the March issue, along with an interview with his successor, Robert Green.

New Zealand has its very own world-class super mill following the completion of Stage 1 of the planned $120million redevelopment of the Red Stag site at Waipa, south of Rotorua, and NZ Logger takes readers on a guided tour of the all-new USNR saw line before it is officially opened later this month by the Prime Minister.

Plus much more, in the March 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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Pre-employment drug-testing vital

Pre-employment drug testing a vital step towards creating a safer workplace - Pre-employment drug testing is crucial to ensure that drugs don't even make it through the door at businesses around the country.

The Drug Detection Agency (TDDA) CEO Kirk Hardy says the fact a failed test rules some Kiwis out of securing jobs probably isn't a bad thing. "Pre-employment drug testing is the first line of defence for any employer to ensure no potential employee is at risk of putting themselves or others in danger in the workplace through substance use."

TDDA specialises in workplace drug and alcohol training and testing, as well as pre-employment testing, and last year conducted more than 140,000 workplace drug tests.

Latest TDDA statistics show that pre-employment drug tests are steadily increasing, up 4.7 percent on the previous year, which Kirk says is positive. "This is great to see as it means employers are being pro-active and stopping the drug use before it even enters the workplace."

Kirk partly attributes this heightened awareness of the danger of drugs and alcohol in the workplace to the recent introduction of the new Health and Safety at Work Act, which requires a Drug & Alcohol policy to be implemented. He also states that education is a vital part of this process.

The latest TDDA statistics show that properly trained and informed managers are also creating a safer workplace. "Comprehensive manager training and education appears to be working as our statistics reflect an increase in 'reasonable cause' tests, which means businesses now have the confidence to identify potential drug issues and are taking a proactive approach and testing staff they believe to be taking drugs."

Some indicators of drug use include consistently being late to work, lots of sick days, tiredness, being easily agitated and either dilated or constricted pupils.

The use of methamphetamine - or meth as it's known - is up with TDDA national statistics for the year ending December 2016, showing an increase of almost 13 percent on the 2015 year for the detection of methamphetamine. In all drug tests conducted nationwide in 2016 meth accounts for approximately 13.5 percent of those where a drug is detected.

"Meth shows strongly in our workplace drug test results throughout New Zealand making it the second most detected drug behind cannabis. It's more readily available than ever before unfortunately, and businesses need to be very aware that it crosses all levels of society and all types of employees," Kirk says.

He adds that the widespread use of meth is affecting not only the workplace but also the whole of the community. This is also reflected in the increase in both volume and meth related violent crime.

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Site plan progressing for forestry barges

Marlborough is embarking on a project which could see a million tonnes of logs shipped through part of the Marlborough Sounds, with the council giving a $730,000 barge site plan the go-ahead.

The plan will allow harvested timber to be shipped from Kenepuru Sound to Havelock and Picton, so heavy trucks do not have to use a winding rural road.

The chairman of Kenepuru and Central Sounds Residents' Association said the council put plans for a barge site "on the backburner" last year, and the sooner it went ahead the better for both the community and foresters.

Council resource management advisor Jon Cunliffe said if all went to plan he expected the site to be finished in September 2018.

Foresters in the area still have to sign a memorandum stating they will use the barge, not the road, before the investment is made.

While the site will be in northern Kenepuru Sound the exact location has not been finalised, and further talks are being held with foresters, the community, and other stakeholders, Cunliffe said.

At a full council meeting on Thursday, Marlborough District Council agreed to budget $300,000 to let the project to enter the next phase, in addition to the $430,000 it budgeted for last year.

However Cunliffe told councillors he was confident NZTA would eventually provide the extra funding. The barge site needed a longer causeway than originally thought, creating the extra expense.

Residents' association chairman Ross Withell said heavy trucks using Kenepuru Rd - which was damaged by the earthquake and the flooding in November, as well as being a winding road - was a major safety concern.

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Source: Stuff News / Marlborough Express

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ANZ Commodity Price Index

The ANZ Commodity Price Index rose 2.0% m/m in February, easily making up the small dip in January. The world price index is up 21% y/y. Gains in February were broad based, with 10 of 17 components increasing, four unchanged and three recording falls. The largest gains were for beef and aluminium, while wool tumbled further.

The New Zealand dollar crept higher again in February, paring local exporter returns to a smaller gain of 0.6% m/m. The higher NZD/USD in February meant 10 of the 17 commodities experienced a fall in local returns. However, the gains for beef and aluminium prices were sufficient to lift the overall index in February. The NZD index is up 9.2% y/y.

In terms of sector specifics:

  • Dairy prices improved 1.2% m/m in February (+44% y/y). Milk powder, butter and cheese all recorded gains of 1-2% m/m. Only casein prices fell in the month, dropping 2%. The index uses USDA Oceanic prices, and so doesn’t completely mirror GlobalDairyTrade movements, where there was a small decline in milk powder prices in February. Sentiment in dairy markets has softened recently and milk supply conditions have improved from a torrid second half in 2016. However, Chinese import demand remains strong and this is expected to help underpin market fundamentals.

  • Prices in the meat and fibre group lifted 4.4% m/m. There was a large gain of 11.3% m/m for beef, but this was offset by a further 4.2% fall for wool. Beef prices improved on the back of tight Australasian supplies and US importer restocking. Wool prices experienced another large fall as Chinese demand remained absent. Auction prices stabilised in late February as producers refused to sell below the cost of production. Lamb prices increased 0.5% m/m with Chinese and Middle Eastern demand strengthening for lamb flaps and forequarter cuts.

  • The resurgence in aluminium prices continued, with a 4.2% m/m lift in February. A series of supply-side issues for the base metal complex, a reduction in inefficient Chinese capacity and continued exuberance about global demand are supporting price gains.

  • Forestry prices lifted 1.5% m/m, with both logs and wood pulp prices improving in February. Log prices rose 1.8% m/m with favourable demand from both local processors and China continuing. Wood pulp prices were up 2.8% m/m, buoyed by continued Chinese demand, delays in supply and low inventories.

  • While overall seafood prices fell 0.5% m/m in February, most products showed small lifts. The overall decline was driven entirely by a 5.8% fall in rock lobster prices. Seafood prices have been a consistent outperformer recently with overall prices up 15% since April 2016.

Source: ANZ

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XLam growth gets government support

As Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) increasingly excites town planners, designers, architects, builders and environmentalists alike, XLam’s growth strategy into Australia brings regional jobs, innovative technology and comprehensive customer solutions.

In consultation with Government officials at all levels and in consideration of commercial efficiencies, XLam determined its new state-of-the-art CLT manufacturing plant is to be built in the City of Wodonga, Victoria.

The support from all levels of Government continues in the form of establishment grants as part of a concerted, regional development focus.

XLam CEO, Gary Caulfield said the support from Government further enhances the establishment of the plant, getting people into this new area of work and supporting the region and assisting with the purchase of high-tech manufacturing equipment.

“We have been fortunate to secure a grant from the Commonwealth Government Next Generation Australian Industry grants of $2.5 million, an initiative driven by Innovation Minister, Greg Hunt.” Mr Caulfield said.

Mr Caulfield also confirmed today that a further grant of $450,000 has been offered, and accepted, by the Victorian Regional Development authority to support the required job development processes. The establishment of the plant is expected to create 54 local jobs across several years of operation.

“The new plant will not only provide direct employment opportunities, however will have a knock on effect to suppliers and service providers throughout the region, such as transport.”

“A commercial builder in the region, Joss Group, has also been awarded the construction contract of the high-tech sustainable timber facility, construction which has already commenced and is due to be completed in early 2017,” said Mr Caulfield.

The manufacturing plant represents a $25 million investment at a private development by AP Delaney within the Logic industrial estate, a location choice supported by the City of Wodonga local council. The plant is located 290 kilometres from Melbourne, 580 kilometres from Sydney and 1020 kilometres from Adelaide. Providing access to 80% of the country in approximately 24 hours.

“The location of the site means XLam will be ideally positioned to deliver to its customers throughout most of Australia via road or rail very quickly. This is important as XLam seeks to supply the greater Asia Pacific region”.

Once construction is complete, the installation of manufacturing equipment is scheduled for April, 2017. This will officially make XLam the largest CLT manufacturer in Australia with one of the most technologically advanced CLT plants in the world. XLam are leading the way for innovation in sustainable construction throughout the southern hemisphere.

XLam’s business model includes design, manufacture and installation capacity to deliver comprehensive construction solutions for customers.

Timber used in the manufacture of CLT stores carbon, representing one of the technologies many environmental credentials. CLT is also light and can be quick to install, is prefabricated reducing on-site construction waste and improving site safety, is durable, strong, cost effective, and far and away, a superior solution.

Source: XLam Australia

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Electric trucks bring energy boost

From Tom Nickels, Managing Director of Waste Management NZ:

Recently, Waste Management took delivery of a new truck. Not an unusual or exciting event in itself – in fact, last year we have averaged two new trucks a week – but, this truck is a little different. This is our first converted plug-in electric truck, just returned from Holland, where it has had its diesel engine removed and new electric motor installed in its place.

This truck is now on Auckland’s roads. It is a simple box body truck, but it will give us and our chosen conversion partners at Emoss in Holland some very valuable insights into managing an electric truck fleet in New Zealand. This is critical, because this box body – electric truck #001 – is just the start of our electric truck conversion program, which we announced last September alongside our commitment to our light fleet conversion.

Since then, I have been amazed at the interest we have received from businesses and individuals who see the potential and benefit of electric vehicles. It has been fascinating to listen to the likes of Mercury, Air New Zealand and Westpac as they commit to convert to electric light vehicles. It has been great to see the government responding with support and information about electric vehicle ownership.

I have been convinced for some time that the rapidly evolving battery technology would drive a huge shift in the adoption of electric vehicles, particularly for many of us who travel such short distances most days. Many New Zealanders travel less than the average 30 km/day to and from work, meaning that the key hurdle for adoption of electric vehicles – range anxiety – shouldn’t be a barrier at all.

For our waste collection trucks, which travel around 140km per day, range anxiety was the least of our concerns. The stop-start nature of a waste collection truck, where the driver stops to pick up and empty a bin up to 1200 times per day, is actually a perfect use-case for electric rather than diesel power. Each time the truck stops, the braking creates regenerative energy that is transferred to boost the battery reserves.

This is in stark contrast to conventional fossil fuel powered vehicles where the energy loss in braking passes into the atmosphere as heat. If we were to convert our entire fleet of 800 trucks, we would save 100,000 litres of diesel a day. Not only a huge saving financially, but a massive improvement in our carbon footprint.

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Source: Pure Advantage

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Trimble makes more acquisitions

Earlier this week Trimble announced that it has acquired the forestry business of Savcor Oy, a global supplier of forestry solutions for performance optimization and enterprise management. Trimble has also acquired Silvadata, a provider of cloud-based data, collaboration and workflow automation services to small- and medium-sized forestry companies. The acquisitions expand Trimble's global reach and complement Trimble's Connected Forest solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Trimble's Connected Forest solutions manage the full raw materials lifecycle of planning, planting, growing, harvesting, transporting and processing. The solutions improve decision making at every step - from forest to mill and from land acquisition to product delivery. Their solutions combine industry-specific software and state-of-the-art hardware into solutions for land, forest and fibre management.

Savcor Oy is headquartered in Finland with offices in Brazil and Germany. It provides information and online diagnostic solutions for forestry processing and production planning.

Finland-based Silvadata is a provider of cloud-based data, collaboration and workflow automation services to small- and medium-sized forestry companies for lifecycle enterprise management.

With the addition of Savcor and Silvadata to their 'Connected Forest' portfolio, Trimble now offers the most comprehensive supply chain solutions available to the forest industry today.

As reported by WoodWeek at the time, in September 2013 Trimble acquired Asset Forestry - a NZ-based provider of timber dispatch technology and services. Asset's WSX logistics system drives timber transportation productivity and streamlines supply chain management to optimise timber returns.

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... collision of the cliches ...

Okay, it's been awhile since our TV screens were geaced by Kath and Kim, the Australian TV comedy show, where the two of them take turns messing up their cliches. If by chance you've managed to forget them here is an unfortunate reminder:

"He swept the rug under the carpet."

"She's burning the midnight oil at both ends."

"It was so cold last night I had to throw another blanket on the fire."

"It's time to step up to the plate and cut the mustard."

"She's robbing Peter to pay the piper."

"He's up a tree without a paddle."

"Beware my friend...you are skating on hot water."

"Keep your ear to the grindstone."

"Sometimes you've gotta stick your neck out on a limb."

"Some people sail through life on a bed of roses like a knife slicing through butter."


Not enough to get you laughing? Well try this then. Being International Women's Day of course ... the role for all good Dads on this important day would be to take the children to the movies right? Watch this little gem from our mate at "How to Dad":

Have a safe and productive week.

John Stulen

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