WoodWeek – 15 November 2017

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Greetings from your ‘Good-Wood’ news team! Lots of positive news to provide you with something different from the negativity of the 6 o’clock news on TV every night. What’s even better is the good news is all about forests, wood and our associated supply chain. As it happens, most of today’s stories are brought to you by the letter "T". Enjoy!

Timbersports – Most of us already know that Kiwis lead the world in some pretty awesome sports from rugby to sailing. But we also have a hard-earned reputation for be world-beaters at TimberSports too! Yes, once again, Jason Wynard has captured the crown. At the end of the electrifying single competition, Jason Wynyard from New Zealand secured his ninth world championship title in Norway earlier this month.

Trade – Moving to Australia now, where their trade in wood products has been growing since 2012-13 and reached a record level of $8.6 billion in 2016-17. The value of exports reached a record level of $3.4 billion. Import values fell to $5.3 billion. For their exports of wood products, China was the sector's largest trading partner in 2016-17, accounting for over a quarter of Australia's total wood product imports, nearly half of the total wood product exports, and the majority of total wood products export growth over the year.

Technology – Tesla has sent out the invites to its ‘Tesla Semi’ unveiling event in Hawthorne on 16 November and with the invites, it released a new teaser image. In the Teaser image, Tesla is referring to it as ‘the Tesla Truck’ instead of ‘Tesla Semi’ as they used to call it.

Transport – The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has approved Teletrac Navman as an Electronic System Provider (ESP) and appointed it as an agent for the collection of Road User Charges (RUC) using its new RUC Manager platform and Electronic Distance Recorder.

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Jason Wynyard is champion again

The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® world championship is over: On 3 November in the Håkons Hall in Lillehammer, New Zealand won the team world championship ahead of Poland and Australia. On Saturday, New Zealand's Jason Wynyard successfully defended his title in the single competition. More than 5,500 spectators followed the world championship live in the arena.

After 2012 Lillehammer again hosted the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® world championship. The best logger sports athletes of the world battled in front of 5,500 spectators in the Håkons Hall in top-class competitions. At the end of the electrifying single competition, Jason Wynyard from New Zealand secured his ninth world championship title and relegated Australia's Brad De Losa and Canada's Mitch Hewitt to second and third place.

On Friday, the New Zealanders took the title in the team competition. The "Kiwis", led by Jason Wynyard, defeated the Polish team in the final and grabbed their fourth title. The big favourite from Australia surprisingly lost against Poland in the semi-final, because they received a time penalty due to an early start. Meanwhile, the Poles fought the competition of their lives causing a major upset. The Australians defeated the Canadians in the small final and finished third.


STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® is an international extreme sports competition series. Its roots lie in Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, where workers in the timber industry would hold competitions to determine who was the fastest in a range of wood chopping and sawing disciplines that closely simulated their everyday work. These logging disciplines evolved with time into a series of sporting disciplines that require tremendous athleticism, strength, precision and power.

Today, the world's best athletes compete in national and international events featuring three axe disciplines and three sawing disciplines. Springboard, Underhand Chop and Standing Block Chop are the classic axe disciplines; Single Buck (single-man cross-cut saw), Stock Saw (standard chainsaw) and Hot Saw (tuned, customized chainsaw with up to 80 horsepower) are the sawing disciplines.

For more information visit: www.stihl-timbersports.com.

Photo: Stihl
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Update: Australian forestry sector statistics

Australia's Forest & Wood Sector Update and Statistics - Key Issues:

Forestry industry value added, or contribution to GDP, increased for the third year in a row, growing by 9 per cent to $8.6 billion in 2015-16. Sales and service income for the forestry sector also grew strongly to $23.7 billion in 2015-16 (up 7 per cent from the previous year).

ABARES estimates that Australia's forestry sector continued to grow strongly in 2016-17, with the total volume and value of logs harvested reaching record levels. Estimated total volume log harvest from native forests and commercial plantations increased by 9 per cent to 32.8 million cubic metres and estimated total value increased by 12 per cent to $2.5 billion.

After four consecutive years of growth in residential construction activity in Australia, dwelling commencements fell by 6 per cent to 219,300 in 2016-17. The decrease in commencements of other residential buildings (including units and house conversions) was greater than the decrease in house commencements.

Australia's trade in wood products has been growing since 2012-13 and reached a record level of $8.6 billion in 2016-17. The value of exports reached a record level of $3.4 billion (up 9 per cent from the previous year), while the value of imports fell to $5.3 billion (down 4 per cent from a record level in the previous year).

China was the sector's largest trading partner in 2016-17 for wood products, accounting for over a quarter of Australia's total wood product imports, nearly half of total wood product exports and the majority of total wood products export growth over the year.

Source: ABARES

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Tesla poised to release new electric heavy vehicle

Tesla has sent out the invites to its ‘Tesla Semi’ unveiling event in Hawthorne on 16 November and with the invites, it released a new teaser image. With the teaser image sent out with the invites, Tesla is referring to it as ‘the Tesla Truck’ instead of ‘Tesla Semi’ as they used to call it.

Tesla’s electric truck prototype was first spotted last month and videos of the automaker’s truck test mule emerged after that.

Aside from the design and Musk teasing a few record-breaking specs in terms of torque and handling, not much is known about Tesla’s latest product. Last month, Musk boasted that the truck has better specs than anything that was suggested in the media to date.

Over the past few months and weeks leading up to Tesla’s unveiling, several other companies have unveiled new electric truck prototypes. Cummins unveiled its first prototype electric truck, VW announced a large $1.7 billion investment to bring electric trucks and buses to market, and just last week Daimler unveiled a heavy- duty all-electric truck concept with ‘up to 220 miles’ range.

While Tesla is also only expected to unveil a prototype, the company has expressed some serious intentions to bring the truck to volume production within the next 2 years. The event should also prove interesting for another reason. At the Tesla shareholders meeting this summer, Musk teased “some unannounced” features to be unveiled at the event. We’ll keep you updated.

Source: electrek.co

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Log Price Outlook: Invitation to participate

During the 2nd half of November Scion will be running its 12th quarterly log price outlook.

These outlooks are based on a large number of people’s sentiments concerning changes in the markets over the coming year. Anybody who has some exposure or an understanding of the log and wood markets and supply chains are invited to share their views.

By estimation, approximately 60 – 80% of all logs coming out of New Zealand’s forests are represented among the participants of this outlook. It takes around 4 minutes to complete the outlook and the results are shared exclusively with participants one month ahead of any broader dissemination.

Participate in the Log Price Outlook by clicking here

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NZTA appoints Teletrac Navman for RUCs

RUC Manager authorised to collect Road User Charges – The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has approved Teletrac Navman as an Electronic System Provider (ESP) and appointed it as an agent for the collection of Road User Charges (RUC) using its new RUC Manager platform and Electronic Distance Recorder.

Teletrac Navman RUC Manager along with the Electronic Distance Recorder will allow users to manage, purchase, display and update road user licences in real-time. RUC Manager automatically tracks vehicle distance and calculates off-road activity, enabling accurate, NZTA-approved RUC rebates.

“The work Teletrac Navman undertook to develop RUC Manager to meet specific New Zealand regulatory requirements and gain ESP approval is a mark of our commitment to our long-standing customers and to the transport industry as a whole,” says Ian Daniel, vice president and managing director Asia Pacific, Teletrac Navman.

In July 2017, Teletrac Navman reached the milestone of tracking 100,000 vehicles across Australia and New Zealand.

“Globally the transport market is highly competitive. Businesses must perform under pressure, so solutions which help them to better manage costs, improve service, address safety, capture and analyse data, and address compliance requirements are extremely important.”

To receive NZTA approval Electronic System Providers must go through a rigorous development and testing process to prove the quality and reliability of the system.

“Teletrac Navman has completed the NZTA testing process and meets the standards for recognition as an ESP. The standards are designed to ensure that the technologies and systems tested are robust, reliable, and make compliance easier across many industries including transport, agriculture, forestry, trade and civil services,” says John Freeman, manager revenue assessments.

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Timber buildings get boost in Australia

In Australia, an industry-led movement is underway to increase the acceptance and use of prefabricated timber building (PTB) systems for large scale projects in Australia. As part of a FWPA-funded project, researchers have been looking at the drivers for, and barriers to, the increased use of PTB systems in Class 2 to 9 commercial buildings, including apartments, hotels, offices and schools.

The benefits of the material are well-known, including a high strength-to-weight ratio, design and construction flexibility, general environmental credentials including carbon storage, and prefabrication’s suitability for use on restricted access and other difficult sites.

In addition, legislative constraints have now largely been removed, thanks to changes to the 2016 National Construction Code. Increased awareness of successful developments utilising PTB systems due to widespread media coverage and multiple award wins, coupled with the continued growth and population density of Australian cities and regional centres, means that opportunities for the material’s use will only increase.

Despite the obvious attractions, some perceived and real barriers continue to have an inhibiting effect on the uptake of PTB systems. Established conventions defaulting to steel and concrete, the need for an accessible and affordable supply chain, ensuring effective industry training, and a lack of proactive communication of the viability and benefits of timber alternatives continue to temper opportunities.

To overcome these barriers and leverage momentum, an increasing number of new PTB solutions are being developed and commercialised to compete with both traditional construction methods and increasingly sophisticated steel and concrete prefabricated solutions. Technical solutions are now being established for many of the issues associated with PTB systems which, along with continued industry education, are likely to be the key means of influencing their increased usage.

“An increase in large scale mid-rise PTBs, alongside the increasing nationalisation and internationalisation of the top tier building companies, suggests market acceptance will grow as PTB buildings increasingly become viewed as the norm,” said Ric Sinclair, Managing Director of FWPA.

For more information, click here.

Source: FWPA
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CLT success at Otago Polytechnic

Late last month the team from PrefabNZ hosted a local cluster group meeting in Dunedin.

As part of the recent we were privileged to visit the Deep South to view Otago Polytechnic’s Student Village project. The project claims to be the largest timber frame building in the country (by volume and height), even the lift shaft is made from Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT). The 231 bedrooms are a mixture of shared apartments, studios and single dorm rooms.

Some highlights from the project stats include:
    > 231 bedrooms
    > Communal areas
    > 68 weeks site works from start to lock-up
    > Building information modelling (BIM) was used extensively for all services prior to panelisation
    > there were 0ne third fewer trucks to site compared to a conventional build
    > Significant reduction in noise, dust and disruption at site
    > ‘First fix’ electrical was 20-25% faster using the pre-routed panel system
    > All tradies loved the project and won’t price in so much risk next time …

The next project is estimated to be able to capture 25% time savings based on learnings from this initial build.

The collaborative team behind the project that presented at the Cluster event included Logic Group, Mason & Wales, and Naylor Love.

The construction collaboaration team and PrefabNZ gave full credit to Otago Polytechnic as an innovative client that wanted to have CLT detailing ‘open-book’. Check out some more images on the PreFabNZ Facebook Page.

More >>

Source: Otago Polytechnic & PrefabNZ

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Reserve bank holds official cash rate

Official Cash Rate unchanged at 1.75 percent - Last Thursday the Reserve Bank in New Zealand left the Official Cash Rate (OCR) unchanged at 1.75 percent.

In a statement Governor Grant Spencer noted that global economic growth continues to improve, although inflation and wage outcomes remain subdued. Commodity prices are relatively stable. Bond yields and credit spreads remain low and equity prices are near record levels. Monetary policy remains easy in the advanced economies but is gradually becoming less stimulatory.

The exchange rate has eased since the August Statement and, if sustained, will increase tradables inflation and promote more balanced growth.

GDP in the June quarter grew broadly in line with expectations, following relative weakness in the previous two quarters. Employment growth has been strong and GDP growth is projected to strengthen, with a weaker outlook for housing and construction offset by accommodative monetary policy, the continued high terms of trade, and increased fiscal stimulus.

The Bank has incorporated preliminary estimates of the impact of new government policies in four areas: new government spending; the KiwiBuild programme; tighter visa requirements; and increases in the minimum wage. The impact of these policies remains very uncertain.

House price inflation has moderated due to loan-to-value ratio restrictions, affordability constraints, reduced foreign demand, and a tightening in credit conditions. Low house price inflation is expected to continue, reinforced by new government policies on housing.

Annual CPI inflation was 1.9 percent in September although underlying inflation remains subdued. Non-tradables inflation is moderate but expected to increase gradually as capacity pressures increase. Tradables inflation has increased due to the lower New Zealand dollar and higher oil prices, but is expected to soften in line with projected low global inflation. Overall, CPI inflation is projected to remain near the midpoint of the target range and longer-term inflation expectations are well anchored at 2 percent.

Source: Reserve Bank

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BC's biggest Asia wood trade mission ever

In Canada, BC's Forests Minister Doug Donaldson will be joined by over 30 senior executives from BC forest companies and associations, leading the province’s largest-ever forest sector delegation to China and Japan starting this week.

“We need to continue to diversify and expand markets for B.C. wood products, both at home and abroad,” said Donaldson. “Forestry is one of BC’s foundation industries, and an important part of a sustainable economy, that in 2016 supported more than 60,000 workers and their families in communities throughout BC.”

China and Japan are BC’s second- and third-largest markets for softwood lumber products. In 2016, BC’s softwood lumber exports to China totalled over Cdn$1 billion, while over $725 million in softwood lumber was exported to Japan. The mission’s participants will meet with customers and government officials, and explore ways to raise the value of BC’s softwood exports.

“BC is a world leader in sustainable forestry, and our carbon-friendly building materials are in demand around the globe,” said Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO, Council of Forest Industries. “We currently export about a third of our forest products to China and Japan and see more opportunity to grow in these markets and to showcase how BC’s innovative building materials can help reduce the environmental impact of the built environment.”

In China, delegates will discuss how BC wood products can help the country meet ambitious goals it has set related to prefabrication and green building. They will attend the third annual Sino-Canada Wood Conference, which will emphasise opportunities for wood in prefabricated construction. Trade mission delegates will also meet with officials from Jiangsu Province to review the progress made to advance wood-frame construction with the support of BC experts, including a wood truss re-roofing system and prefabricated infill hybrid walls.

In Japan, the focus will be on expanding the use of wood in multi-family and non-residential construction, and new applications for higher-value engineered wood products. Delegates will tour a resort construction site in Koyaru, and learn about growing opportunities for BC wood in Japan’s tourism sector. The Minister will visit the Canadian Pavilion at the Japan Home & Building Show and tour the Tokyo Lumber Terminal.

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... and finally ... the nun and the businessman

A man was in New York on a business trip and decided to head to a bar for a drink. Standing outside the bar was a nun holding a tin cup.

As the man threw a few bucks into her cup the nun launched into a long tirade about the evils of alcohol. She went on and on about how alcohol was tearing apart the fabric of society, how it was the root of all the city's problems.

Slightly annoyed at having to listen to the nun, the man told her, "Listen, sister, I work hard for my money and sometimes at the end of a long day I like a drink or two. That doesn't make me a bad person. I have a wife I idolise and two wonderful kids at home. I provide for my family, I volunteer my time to several local service clubs and I contribute regularly to various charities. Yet you stand here and condemn me just because I drink the occasional glass of scotch!"

The nun was slightly taken aback and replied, "I see your point my son and I apologize if I offended you, but alcohol is such a powerful demon that all who consume it are doomed..."

"Look there you go again," said the man, "How can you make such a sweeping statement? Have you ever even TRIED alcohol?"

"Of course not!" gasped the nun, "The evil alcohol has never touched my lips."

"Do you really think that one glass of booze can change you from a devout nun to some kind of evil degenerate?"

"Well, I really don't know ..."

"I'll tell you what, come into the bar with me and I'll buy you a drink. One drink. I'll prove to you that "evil" is not inside the glass, it's inside the person."

"Oh I could never be seen going into such a den of inequity, it's out of the question. However, your comment about evil residing in the person rather than the glass is quite intriguing. I must admit you've aroused a curiosity in me."

"Well let's go inside and settle this."

"No, my son, I could never enter such a place... but how about this. Take my tin cup with you and fill it with this "scotch" you mentioned. Bring it out to me and I'll try it."

"You're on!" said the guy.

The nun removed all the change and handed him the tin cup. He went into the bar and said to the bartender, "Two scotch on the rocks, and could you put one of them in this tin cup, please?"

The bartender sighed and said, "Is that darn "nun" out there again?!?!"

Have a safe and productive week.

John Stulen
innovate | communicate | motivate

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