WoodWeek 10 April 2019
Registrations for our upcoming HarvestTECH conference in June are pouring in. All of the stands, both indoor and outdoor are sold out and we have a great lineup of speakers planned for you. Register now online or complete your paper registration and email it to us. Do it now to ensure your team doesn't miss out.
Looking to markets, China had another record year of softwood log imports in 2018, when over 40 million m3 of logs landed at Chinese ports. This was the third consecutive year of year-over- year- increases, with 2018 volumes being up 37% from 2015. Although import volumes fell slightly from the 3Q/18 to the 4Q/18, the December numbers were the second highest monthly imports on record.
Looking to the regions, KiwiRail plans to increase its log capacity out of Wairarapa by about a third to cater for the increased harvest and reduce the number of trucks travelling into CentrePort in Wellington. The company runs two trains on weekdays – typically 15 wagons each - and twice as many at the weekend when there are fewer commuter services. Further south, Merrill and Ring won an award for going above and beyond to harvest pines at a sensitive Marlborough site, in the Branch River pine plantation in the Upper Wairau Valley.
Last week’s MobileTECH conference was a resounding success. Almost 300 technology developers and early adopters of new technology gathered from across the primary sector, including forestry and horticulture. Across the agritech sector the raft of innovations being developed and implemented are discussed. This key technology event is now well established on the calendar for the country's primary sector. It also continues to draw significant numbers from Australia and Europe.
Finally, monitoring by DOC has confirmed the predicted mega mast or heavy seeding in New Zealand’s forests this autumn. Sampling results point to the biggest beech mast for more than 40 years with exceptionally heavy seed loads in South Island forests.
This week we have for you:
ANZ Commodity Price StoryHigher ground
The ANZ World Commodity Price Index pushed up 1.4% m/m in March, continuing the positive trend present since the beginning of the year. Firmer prices were recorded in the agriculture and forestry sectors but dairy once again provided the largest price lift. In annual terms the ANZ World Commodity Price Index is down 2.1% y/y, with the deficit gradually clawed back over the past six months. Further price increases are expected for the major export sectors in the coming months.
The NZD index also lifted 1.4% m/m in March, as there was little change in the average exchange rates across the month despite exchange rate volatility within the month.
OBT initiative creating wider benefitsOne Billion Trees creating wide benefits - The Government’s One Billion Trees programme is realising economic, environmental and social benefits across regional New Zealand through its forestry joint venture agreements, just a year after it was launched, Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced late last week.
A total of 21 joint ventures have been signed between Te Uru R?kau (Forestry New Zealand) – the lead agency of the Programme - and landowners across the country.
The latest joint ventures to be signed are with Te Uri o Hau which will see 2843 hectares of plantation forestry planted on the Pouto Peninsula in Kaipara; and Tapuwae Inc covering up to 800 hectares in the Tapuwae Forest in Hokianga.
“Te Uri o Hau is the second largest planting initiative for the One Billion Trees Programme to date,” Forestry Minister Shane Jones said.
“This brings the total planting area across joint ventures to 13,000 hectares – over halfway to our total of 24,000 hectares.
“These agreements are seeing planting and silviculture jobs created that weren’t there before, they’re offering landowners, including M?ori, the ability to diversify income and improve land productivity, and they’re creating real environmental and social benefits too.
“We are seeing a huge amount of goodwill and interest with over 260 enquiries from a wide range of landowners and a further 35 properties totalling 10,000ha currently under negotiation.
“Along with these joint ventures, the new One Billion Trees Fund launched in November is offering simple and direct grants to landowners who are looking to integrate trees into their landscapes with over 700 enquiries to the Fund.
“The wider One Billion Trees goal to plant at least one billion trees by 2028 is an ambitious one, but is a commitment from the Government to drive regional revitalisation and deliver benefits to our people and our environment. It also supports Maori to realise the potential of their land,” Shane Jones said.
Source: Scoop news
PF Olsen log markets summaryAccording to PF Olsen, at wharf gate (AWG) prices for logs delivered to ports around New Zealand decreased on average 7 NZD per JASm3 in April. This decrease in AWG prices is due to a combination of increased shipping costs and uncertainty in the China log market. While the demand for logs is at record levels, there is an imbalance between log and domestic wholesale prices. There are log vessels enroute to China from New Zealand without confirmed Letters of Credit (LCs) and Chinese log buyers are using this opportunity to try and negotiate log prices down.
The domestic market for logs has continued the very stable start to 2019. On average mills report sawn timber sales up about 5% on last year. Increases in consents for new dwellings continue to be dominated by the North Island cities, with consent numbers in the South Island down on this time last year.
Due to the drop in the AWG log prices the PF Olsen Log Price Index for April decreased $3 to $131. The index is currently $2 above the two-year average, $5 above the three-year average, and $13 higher than the five-year average.
Source: PF Olsen
Global timber markets updateChina is continuously exploring new sources of softwood logs around the world - Minor log exporters, such as Japan, Poland, Chile and South Africa all expanded their shipments to China in 2018, reports market analyst Wood Resources Quarterly (WRQ). Of the major log supplying countries, only Russia and Canada reduced their exports to China, while New Zealand, the US and Uruguay all increased their shipments year-over-year.
Seattle, USA. China had another record year of softwood log imports in 2018, when over 40 million m3 of logs landed at Chinese ports. This was the third consecutive year of year-over-year- increases, with 2018 volumes being up 37% from 2015. Although import volumes fell slightly from the 3Q/18 to the 4Q/18, the December numbers were the second highest monthly imports on record.
Over the past five years, import volumes have declined from the key supplying regions of Russia and Canada, while they have increased from New Zealand and Australia. New Zealand continues to expand its market share, supplying 44% of the total import volume in the 4Q/18, up from 30% just three years earlier, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). The biggest decline in market share has been that of Russia, which has fallen from 36% to 18% in the past three years. The only other major change the past few years has been an increase in pine log shipments from Uruguay. These have increased from just a few thousand m3 in 2016 to almost 2.5 million m3 in 2018, making the country the fifth largest log supplier to China last year.
The average log import price fell three percent from the 3Q/18 to the 4Q/18, mainly because of lower costs for logs originating from New Zealand and the US. The total average import price has gone up for three consecutive years. Although the prices have trended upward over the past few years, they are still lower than import prices in 2013 and 2014, when high-cost suppliers in the US and Canada had a larger market share.
Another interesting development is that Japan, the sixth largest softwood log importer in the world, has almost tripled log exports to China over the past few years, from just over 300,000 m3 in 2014 to almost a million m3 in 2018. Other smaller log supplying countries that have increased shipments to China in 2018 include Poland, Chile, South Africa and Germany.
Global lumber, sawlog and pulpwood market reporting is included in the 56-page quarterly publication Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). To subscribe to the WRQ, please go to www.woodprices.com
Te Uru Raukau announce partner for OBTThe government has secured its second-largest forestry planting partnership as part of its one billion tree programme.
Te Uru Rakau – the Ministry of Primary Industries’ forestry arm – has agreed to joint venture with Kaipara-based Te Uri o Hau Settlement Trust in the planting of 2,843 hectares of commercial forest on the Pouto Peninsula in coming years.
The scale of the planting, expected to start this year, is second only to the 2.1 million trees the Crown will help plant on 3,195 ha of Ngati Hine land, also in Northland. That work was to have started last year and is expected to continue beyond 2020.
The next largest project under the Crown partnership scheme covers 1,378 ha that the Accident Compensation Corporation is planting in Otaqo this year and the following two years, according to MPI data.
Te Uru Rakau has so far signed up 21 partnerships as part of the one billion tree programme. The collectively cover 13,460 ha, more than half the 24,000 ha Forestry Minister Shane Jones says is the target.
“These agreements are seeing planting and silviculture jobs created that weren’t there before,” he said in a statement.
“They’re offering landowners, including Maori, the ability to diversify income and improve land productivity, and they’re creating real environmental and social benefits too."
The partnership scheme has attracted more than 260 inquiries and planting of another 10,000 ha, across 35 properties, is currently under negotiation, he said.
Jones was in Northland today where he and Economic Development Minister David Parker also announced an investment by the Provincial Growth Fund of up to $18.5 million to investigate, and potentially develop, community-scale water storage projects in Kaipara and the mid-North.
Te Uri o Hau owns the 600 ha Rototuna Forest. It acquired the forest when Meridian Energy ended plans for a wind farm in the area and in 2017 granted cutting rights to China Forestry Group.
Officials said that, after allowing for land preparation, 300-500 ha of the new forest on the peninsula may be planted this year.
Also announced today was a Crown partnership with Tapuwae Inc. to plant to 800 hectares in the Tapuwae Forest in Hokianga. Between 100 and 200 ha of that planting is expected to get underway this year. That is the fourth-largest land area committed through partnerships.
MPI estimates the 21 partnerships agreed to date will see almost 11.7 million trees planted. The Crown’s investment, including land rent, forestry establishment, maintenance and harvest costs is estimated at $140.7 million.
About 57,000 ha of exotics were planted in New Zealand last year. To reach the government’s one billion trees by 2028 target – which also includes natives – that annual planting rate has to almost double and be sustained for a decade.
In February, Jones said increased private sector planting could see 1.4 billion trees planted by 2028.
To encourage that, the government has committed about $485 million from the Provincial Growth Fund, which it is using to complement existing Crown and council afforestation schemes.
Jones said there has also been more than 700 inquiries for the $118 million made available in November for direct grants to farmers and landholders for exotic planting, retirement for native regeneration and native planting.
Source: Scoop news
Report by Forest & Bird and EDS on NESChanges to regulatory settings proposed for plantation forestry to better protect environment - The Environmental Defence Society (EDS) and Forest & Bird have released an analysis of the current regulations governing plantation forestry in New Zealand. The analysis calls for a fundamental reset of the rules to better protect the environment.
The report A Review of the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry Regulations 2017 was co-authored by Madeleine Wright, Sally Gepp and Dr David Hall and is available as a PDF here.
The report has been published today and is designed to provide input into the Government’s own review of the National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry 2017 (NES-PF) which is underway, led by the Ministry for Primary Industries.
“EDS and Forest and Bird decided to jointly prepare this report because of increasing public concern about the impacts of commercial forestry in light of events like the Tolaga Bay devastation,” said co-author Sally Gepp.
“The concerns focused on the sense that the current regulatory approach was light-touch which was inappropriate for such a high-risk sector. The industry is high-risk in terms of worker safety but also environmental impacts especially from slash and sediment.
“We make three key observations in our report.
“First, the NESPF’s approach to afforestation and replanting is too permissive and needs to be re-examined. Greater stringency needs to be applied. This is especially the case if we are to plant a billion trees.
“Secondly, the NESPF’s presumption that plantation forestry activities should be a permitted activity needs to be revisited. This is fundamental if we are to ensure appropriate oversight of the sector.
“Thirdly, in most instances, the adverse environmental impacts of clear-fell harvesting are significant. Therefore policy needs to be developed to facilitate a transition to more sustainable methods. Slash and sediment must be better controlled and that may require staged harvesting rather than present methods.
“Forest & Bird and EDS would welcome ongoing engagement with stakeholders on our Report,” Sally Gepp concluded.
To download the report, click here.
More log capacity for LNI railKiwiRail plans to increase its log capacity out of Wairarapa by about a third to cater for the increased harvest and reduce the number of trucks travelling into CentrePort in Wellington.
The company runs two trains on weekdays – typically 15 wagons each - and twice as many at the weekend when there are fewer commuter services.
Alan Piper, the group’s sales and commercial general manager, says the firm has no plans for additional services. But he says the weekday trains currently have surplus capacity and just require extra wagons to increase their loads.
“We are planning to add 15 wagons to one of the daily trains in May, once more wagons become available,” he told BusinessDesk.
“That will increase the capacity by around 100,000 tonnes a year from the current 270,000 tonnes” and reduce truck movements over the Remutaka Range by about 6,000, he said.
Log exports are booming, with many ports working to increase capacity to handle trees planted in the 1990s. Logs and timber are the country’s third- largest export and brought in $5.3 billion in the 12 months through February, 12 percent more than a year earlier.
KiwiRail is also investing heavily to capture more of that harvest for its own business. It is converting about 100 container wagons annually to carry logs and is expecting to receive an additional 200 new log wagons by the end of the year.
New Zealand has about 1.7 million hectares of plantation forest, according to the Ministry for Primary Industries. The southern North Island – including Taranaki but excluding Central Hawke’s Bay – accounts for about 161,400 ha of that.
CentrePort handled 891,500 tonnes of logs in the six months through December, 36 percent more than a year earlier. Port Taranaki handled about 425,000 tonnes in the same period, a 24 percent increase. Napier Port handled a record 2.2 million tonnes in the 12 months through September, 35 percent more than the year before.
Wairarapa and Tararua is home to almost 70,000 ha of forest. KiwiRail delivers logs from the Waingawa hub south of Masterton. It was established in 2016 by CentrePort and local foresters.
A new venture active this month wants to find ways to use that facility more efficiently.
Forest Enterprises Growth, New Forests and Feilding-based FOMS have formed Log Distribution to better coordinate their shipments.
The trio, some of whom also have operations around Gisborne and Rangitikei, are collaborating around their common interests in Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa.
Forest Enterprises chief executive Bert Hughes says recent changes mean all three firms are using Tauranga-based TPT to manage their export marketing and scheduling of their shipments.
While they are still competing for sales, their logs are going on the same ships so they can work collaboratively to gather consignments and get vessels loaded quicker.
Trees the partners source or harvest in Hawke’s Bay will continue to be shipped through Napier Port. Log Distribution’s early focus will be on ways to improve coordination of harvests, trucking and use of Waingawa.
“We expect to put 600,000 tonnes through Wellington” a year, he told BusinessDesk.
“Once we get that right, we can grow it out from there.” Hughes is expecting a steady increase in the Wairarapa harvest during the next five years and CentrePort is expanding storage at Waingawa.
Burt he said reducing ‘choke-points’ in the logistics chain will be key to making better use of the region’s rail and port infrastructure and reducing truck movements on the Remutaka Range, he says. Being “a bit more careful” about the grade of logs being cut may improve the use of space at Waingawa and increase stock turn, he said.
“Your need for extra storage is not as great, in effect, if you can move it down the chain faster.”
Last week, Hughes said about 8,000 tonnes of logs were being railed to CentrePort weekly – the equivalent of 40 log trucks a day.
Starting overnight services would be ideal, but while the supply of locomotives, log wagons and drivers remains tight, firms have to find other ways to maximise the use of the assets available.
“We’ve just got to be more organised.”
Source: Scoop news
Environmental tick for Merrill and RingForest management company Merrill and Ring have been acknowledged for going above and beyond to harvest pines at a sensitive Marlborough site.
For its work around ecologically significant sites at the Branch River pine plantation in the Upper Wairau Valley, the company took out the forestry category at the 2019 Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards last month.
The biennial awards showcase businesses and community projects that protect and enhance the environment.
As the property managers for the Branch River pine plantation property - on behalf of Australian landowners New Forests - Merrill and Ring's Blenheim- based team have worked to ensure pine trees are being felled and extracted more carefully and t?tara seed is being collected from the native forest remnants and grown out to seedlings.
Merrill and Ring technical forester Siobhan Allen said the totara project took in an area of around 25 hectares.
The company hoped to complete the project within four years but this would be dictated by how long it took for new totara seedlings to germinate.
Similar projects that involved taking land out of production and putting it back into riparian areas were anticipated for the rest of the companies they manage, Allen said.
Award judges were impressed by the innovative thinking to protect biodiversity and manage slash and sediment, which are industry-wide issues.
"As a management company overseeing thousands of hectares of plantations in Marlborough, Merrill and Ring has potential to influence the industry," they said.
"By aiming for best practice, they're showing other forest owners how to make environmental sustainability a priority, while improving health and safety on the hill."
Managing director Kyle Heagney said the recognition was a good way of showing what the company did from an environmental point of view.
"Often people can't see what we do because a lot of the properties we manage are a long way from public roads or out of view."
Merrill and Ring manages approximately 15,000 hectares of forested land in New Zealand and selling around 250,000 tonnes of logs annually.
Source: Stuff news
Mast year confirmedMonitoring by the Department of Conservation has confirmed the predicted mega mast or heavy seeding in New Zealand’s forests this autumn according to a statement from Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage.
Results from extensive seed sampling across the country in February and March point to the biggest beech mast for more than 40 years with exceptionally heavy seed loads in South Island forests. Rimu forests and tussock grasslands in the South Island are also seeding heavily.
Forest seeding provides a bonanza of food for native species but also fuels rodent and stoat plagues that will pose a serious threat to native birds and other wildlife as predator populations build up next spring and summer.
Eugenie Sage said that new funding of $81.2 million in Budget 2018 over four years had enabled DOC to scale up its predator control programme to respond to the threat posed by the mega mast.
“DOC is planning its largest-ever predator control programme for 2019/2020, at a cost of $38 million, to suppress rats, stoats and possums over about one million hectares or 12 per cent of conservation land.
“This is a step up from the previous largest programme of 840,000 ha in 2016 and 600,000 ha in 2014 and 2017 when there were significant but smaller mast events.
“Responding to the increased threat from introduced predators during such a big mast year is critical if we are to retain our unique native species that set New Zealand apart from the rest of the world.
“If we don’t act, we could lose populations of bird species like our tree-hole nesting k?k?riki/orange-fronted parakeet and mohua, and bats, which are so vulnerable to rat plagues.
DOC’s Tiakina Nga Manu predator control programme, previously known as Battle for our Birds, uses aerially applied 1080 pesticide and large-scale trapping to protect native birds, bats, frogs, lizards and giant land snails at the most important sites across the country.
This work is carefully targeted to sustain the most vulnerable populations of kiwi, k?k?, k?kako, kea, whio/blue duck, mohua/yellowhead, k?k?riki/orange-fronted parakeet, rock wren/tuke, long and short tailed bats/pekapeka, native frogs and Powelliphanta snails.
DOC’s seed sampling programme involved snipping branches by helicopter from over 8000 beech and rimu trees at nearly 200 sites across the North and South Islands and counting more than three million seed pods from 43,000 samples. More than 1000 tussock plants were also monitored at 63 sites. The estimate of seed-fall this autumn informs predator control planning.
Priority sites for predator control include Kahurangi, Abel Tasman, Arthur’s Pass, Westland, Mt Aspiring and Fiordland national parks, the Catlins and Whirinaki. The programme includes more than 66,000 ha of trapping with the remainder (more than 900,000 ha) aerial 1080 operations
Aerially applied 1080 is the only tool currently available that can effectively knock down rodents over large areas before they reach plague levels after a beech mast. Numerous studies show that it protects vulnerable wildlife and allows birds to produce more chicks to sustain and build their populations.
While most sites have been confirmed and are at an advanced stage of planning, predator control operations will only proceed at mast sites from May this year if rodents reach levels that pose a threat to wildlife.
The Department has been consulting with iwi partners, regional councils and other pest control agencies, community groups and neighbouring landowners in recent months as part of its planning.
Treemetrics plans huge growthForestry software company Treemetrics intends to double, if not treble, its workforce over the coming 12 to 18 months as it embarks on a plan to drive revenues from €1 million to €40 million by the end of 2022.
The Cork-based company, whose clients include Coillte, the World Bank Group and the European Space Agency, is lining up a multimillion euro funding round over the next 12 months to fund the growth plan, which will see it entering into new markets.
The move comes as the United Nations predicts that demand for forestry products will double by 2040.
Founded in 2005 by Enda Keane and Garrett Mullooly, Treemetrics has developed a cloud-based forestry management platform called ForestHQ, which contains a series of tools that effectively replace traditional methods of managing forests, many of which have been in place for hundreds of years.
Profitability - Treemetrics captures and analyses forestry data using satellite communications technology to enable forest owners and managers to maximise sustainable production and profitability. The software is so effective it can provide tracking details of individual forestry products “from the stump to the shop”.
The Enterprise Ireland-backed company has in recent years built a successful business largely on the back of word-of-mouth recommendations. It is now looking to expand beyond its core markets in Ireland, Britain and continental Europe to take advantage of sales opportunities in newer markets such as South America and Australia.
It is also looking to make its product available to a wider cohort of users beyond forestry managers.
“Our value proposition is significantly stronger than we first envisaged because there are also significant process improvements and operational cost reduction benefits to it that we hadn’t really concentrated on when we first developing the platform,” said Treemetrics commercial director Joe O’Carroll. “Back then, it was also helping users to maximise benefits but they are getting a whole more from ForestHQ than just being able to do that.”
Amsterdam: All-electric container bargesDutch company Port-Liner is building two giant all-electric barges dubbed the ‘Tesla ships‘. The company announced that the vessels will be ready by this autumn and will be inaugurated by sailing the Wilhelmina canal in the Netherlands.
The 100 million-euro project supported by a €7m subsidy from the European Union is expected to have a significant impact on local transport between the ports of Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Rotterdam.
Holy cow Batman - Look at that!Holy flying motorcycles! ... (as Robin said to Batman) – Jetpack Aviation is about to become a very different company. The startup has launched pre-orders this week for the moonshot of moonshots, the Speeder, a personal vertical take- off and landing vehicle with a svelte concept design that looks straight out of Star Wars or Halo.
Deep-pocketed, sci-fi-minded buyers are going to have to fork over $10,000 just to get a spot in the pre-order line for the first vehicles to ship, but the startup’s founder seems to see the campaign as less about the money than it is about the confirmation that there are people interested in planting a stake in his wild company’s future success.
“I think it’s a validation statement for all of us,” Mayman tells TechCrunch. “If you look at how long Tesla took to deliver the Model 3 to customers, I think people understand that this is not something that’s a Kickstarted pre-delivery campaign where at the tail-end of it we’re immediately going to be delivering product.”
There are gambles and then there are flying motorcycles. This is frankly an atypical startup for YC to fund, but it is also an unconventional business path for Mayman, who has largely been self-financing his jetpack-building obsession for the past 12 years. For the Australian CEO, the YC investment is mainly about gaining access to Silicon Valley’s network of VCs, though he also acknowledges it’s a fair assumption that SF breeds the type of executive that might be interested in pre-ordering something so seemingly outlandish.
“I can’t imagine someone not being excited about a flying motorcycle,” YC partner Jared Friedman told TechCrunch in an email. “Jetpack Aviation created the future with Speeder, and I look forward to seeing how this technology transforms the dreaded commute, vacation travel, and everyday errands.”
David Mayman has a vision for personal aviation that he’s spent the past dozen years and millions of his personal fortune chasing. He hasn’t accepted the convention that jetpacks were just a misguided fantasy for the future; his company, Jetpack Aviation, has been building them and he’s been zooming around in publicity-grabbing stunts in a plea to the public that there’s room to dream when it comes to human flight.
And while an eight-person startup aiming to build out a fleet of $380,000 “flying motorcycles” might seem like a tall order, Y Combinator, a top accelerator known for its occasionally bizarre bets, is gambling on the company and its jet engine- obsessed CEO in one of its latest investments.
Source: Tech Crunch
Buy and Sell
... and finally ... Little Johnny is back
Don’t you just love Little Johnny…..
Little Johnny watched, fascinated, as his mother smoothed cold cream on her face.
'Why do you do that, mummy?' he asked.
'To make myself beautiful,' said his mother, who then began removing the cream with a tissue.
'What's the matter?' asked Little Johnny. 'Giving up?'
The math teacher saw that little Johnny wasn't paying attention in class.
She called on him and said, 'Johnny! What are 2 and 4 and 28 and 44?'
Little Johnny quickly replied, 'NBC, FOX, ESPN and the Cartoon Network!'
Little Johnny's kindergarten class was on a field trip to their local police station where they saw pictures tacked to a bulletin board of the 10 most wanted criminals.
One of the youngsters pointed to a picture and asked if it really was the photo of a wanted person.
'Yes,' said the policeman. 'The detectives want to capture him very badly.'
Little Johnny asked, 'Why didn't you just keep him when you took his picture?'
That's all for this week's wood news.
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