Friday Offcuts 13 April 2017
In New Zealand, the industry is in the midst of planning for a series of annual awards programmes. They’re being run to celebrate regional training and business success. For the first time this year, four regional Wood Councils, Eastland, Southern, Northern and the Southern North Island will each be running a major awards evening. Three are scheduled in May with the other set down for early July. They’re now the largest annual gathering of forestry contractors, forest owners and transport operators in each region. Collectively around 1,500 from the industry will be meeting to honour local skilled professionals and training success over the year. The gatherings also celebrate the contribution that forestry is making to the wider community – and to the regional economy. This week we have stories relating to the Northern and Lower North Island awards programmes.
In new innovations, this week we have a recent announcement on Accsys Technologies, a company with technologies that have been highlighted at recent FIEA Wood Innovations events. The company has formed a consortium, together with BP and MDF producer Medite to fund, build and operate the world’s first Tricoya® wood elements acetylation plant in the UK. The build is expected to be completed in 2019. And if you can’t produce a good wooden product, at least you can manufacture it to look like the real thing. In the US, a concrete products company is now producing a concrete fence paling with the visual details of wood grain or the wood texture on both sides. Check out the link below.
For the geeks amongst us, many from the primary sector were taken through (and were able to put on a headset and test first hand) the opportunities that the HoloLens, Microsoft's augmented reality (AR) viewer is able to offer at the recent MobileTECH 2017 event. The virtual reality and augmented reality headsets are already beginning to transform how businesses are able to work with 3D data. A story this week shows how for the first time, unmanned aerial systems and holograms can be used in fighting wildfires.
Finally, as outlined a week or two ago, the region’s two-yearly logging event, HarvestTECH 2017 that runs in Rotorua on 20-21 June is filling up fast. It’s going to be another sell-out. Although running in two months’ time, already 200 logging contractors and forestry personnel have signed up. Places on the two field tours are going fast with one of the tours as of this morning only having six places still available. If keen on signing up, we suggest to avoid disappointment that you do it as soon as possible. Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
Forestry acquisitions announced this weekThe takeover of US-based forest products industry consulting firm RISI by Euromoney Institutional Investor has been completed. The B2B information group agreed to acquire 100% of RISI for US$125 million. RISI’s product suite comprises pricing data, mill intelligence and analytics as well as news, research and conferences covering the pulp, packaging, wood products, wood fibre and saw logs markets. Last year, it reported sales of US$29.6 million, with EBITDA of US$7.7 million.
Trimble has also announced this week that it has acquired Canadian-based BOS Forestry, a provider of collaboration, harvesting, production and lumber sale solutions for small- and medium-sized forestry companies. BOS Forestry's suite of applications provide simplified processes for scale site, log load, yard inventory, contractor settlement, finished goods sales and distribution.
In addition, BOS offers a trade portal that facilitates the collaboration of wood supply stakeholders and brings together an innovative network for buyers and sellers to make more informed decisions and improve fiber productivity by leveraging all aggregated log load data transactions. The integration of BOS Trade into Trimble's Connected Forest portfolio provides a key component to enable transparency and visibility across the fiber business.
"BOS Forestry streamlines wood supply management, settlement and reconciliation processes with powerful analytical tools and collaborative web services," said Grant Sutherland, CEO, BOS Forestry. "The web portal provides a clearinghouse for all wood supply stakeholders and forest industry partners to manage scale tickets, analyze load information and monitor transport. We are delighted to be part of Trimble and look forward to contributing strategically to the Connected Forest and strengthening its forest lifecycle capabilities."
Source: www.trimble.com/forestry, www.opi.net/news
New UK Tricoya consortium namedAccsys, the chemical technology group, focused on the acetylation of wood, has announced that BP Ventures (BPV) will participate in a proposed consortium to fund, build and operate the world’s first Tricoya® wood elements acetylation plant. Tricoya® Wood Elements (www.tricoya.com) are produced using Accsys’s proprietary technology for the acetylation of wood chips, and particles for use in the fabrication of panel products such as medium density fibreboard and particle-board.
BPV’s investment follows €1.3m already contributed by it and other Consortium partners since Accsys announced new arrangements for its Tricoya business in April 2015. TTL has now completed the front-end engineering and design and detailed planning is continuing for the plant, which is expected to be located at the Saltend Chemicals Park in Hull, UK, adjacent to BP’s existing acetyls facility.
BP’s involvement in the Consortium results from a historical interest in acetylation with some of the initial research and development into wood acetylation having been carried out at its Hull site in the past. BP Chemicals has also been a key partner of Accsys, supplying acetic anhydride for its Accoya plant in Arnhem since agreeing a collaborative strategic relationship in 2012.
The Tricoya plant is expected to have an initial capacity of 30,000 metric tonnes of acetylated Tricoya chips per annum, equivalent to approximately 40,000 cubic metres of panel products. The acetylated chips will be used as feedstock for the production of high performance MDF or particle board panels in a market estimated to be approximately 200 million cubic metres annually. The Consortium envisages constructing the plant in Hull in such a way that further capacity can be added to the site as demand grows.
The Consortium is also expected to include Medite, part of the Coillte group and Accsys’s historic joint development partner. Medite has received board approval in principle to invest in the Consortium and to enter a long-term offtake commitment for up to 60% of the Tricoya plant’s initial annual capacity, subject to finalisation of contracts acceptable to all parties and receipt of approval from Coillte’s shareholder. Read more
International architects deliver news to 1.8+ million Australians!From a South Australian audience that included the Premier, Jay Weatherill, through to seminars in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne to articles in national media and radio appearances, the UK’s Andrew Waugh and Canada’s Russell Acton delivered inspirational messages about the benefits of the surging popularity of timber construction systems to a potential audience of 1.8+ million people.
The increasing globalisation of information can create the impression that everything can be found on the web, but experience shows that traditional media and face-to-face seminars and presentations still pack a punch when it comes to informing and inspiring an audience.
This was certainly the case with two international architects brought to Australia by FWPA, the UK’s Andrew Waugh of Waugh Thistleton Architects, and Canada’s Russell Acton of Acton Ostry Architects. Each a thought-leader in the use of timber building systems in their markets, they presented detailed case studies and inspiring projections for the use of wood and wood products in the built environment.
“With Russell and Andrew, we have two of the world’s highest profile architects who are focussing their practices on designing and building with traditional and new emerging timber technologies,” said Eileen Newbury, National Marketing and Communications Manager at Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA), the timber industry’s services company.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for local property developers and design and construction professionals to see how and why the use of wood is growing so rapidly in international markets.
Andrew Waugh’s presentation included details about Dalston Lane in the UK, a 121-unit development which is currently the world’s largest cross laminated timber (CLT) building. Russell Acton spoke about the recently completed Brock Commons, a student accommodation facility at the University of British Columbia. At 18 storeys, this hybrid mass timber (glulam and CLT) building is currently the world’s tallest wooden building.
“Both architects spoke about the time and cost savings of using more timber, which were well-received by our seminar audiences,” explained Ms Newbury, “while highlighting the environmental benefits which included carbon sequestration and lower embodied energy compared to traditional building systems.”
These were messages that resonated with the Australian media too. Articles in publications ranging from the Australian Financial Review, The Age Commercial Property Section, to the popular online property news sites, The Domain and The Fifth Estate and radio coverage with the ABC’s Radio National, Green Magazine, and others, reached an audience estimated at more than 1.8+ million people.
“If Australia follows international trends, this is just the beginning of the resurgence of the use of wood in our built environment,” Ms Newbury concluded, “and with its increasing adoption in Australian mid-rise multi-residential construction, I’m looking forward to our architects traveling overseas to share their knowledge too!”
Name change for Future Forests ResearchForest Growers Research Ltd (FGR) will now be the entity for managing all collaborative forest growing research activities on behalf of New Zealand forest growers. Whilst the Forest Growers Levy Trust is the dominant industry investor in the research programmes, the government and individual companies remain as significant investors in the various research programmes managed by FGR.
Research funding agreements between FFR and service providers will not change as there is no change to the underlying legal entity. The intention is that research funding agreements between Forest Owners Association and research providers will be assigned to FGR and they will be contacting research partners directly seeking their consent to the assignment of these agreements.
First WA harvesting business to adopt FOLS ProgramWilson’s Harvesting & Haulage is the first Western Australian business to adopt the FOLS Skills Verification Program. Based in Yornup, Western Australia, Wilson’s is a large harvesting and haulage, infield chipping and biomass company, with 110 employees.
Wilson’s Director, Ian Wilson said the decision to adopt FOLS came at a time when the business was looking for a way to verify and demonstrate the skills of their operators.
“We see the benefits of FOLS as two-fold – we see it as a tool to verify operators’ skills, which will be useful when tendering for contracts; it is also valuable for identifying any skills gaps in the business and helping us to forward plan.”
“With FOLS we can now easily demonstrate our capabilities to Forest Managers when tendering for work. Although FOLS is not widely used in Western Australia yet, there are many Forest Managers that are familiar with the program as they operate in other states. These Forest Managers understand FOLS to be a credible system for demonstrating the skills and capabilities of a workforce,” said Ian.
Wilson’s is also a member of the Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA). AFCA became advocates of the FOLS Skills Verification Program in July last year, after signing an agreement with ForestWorks to provide AFCA members and their operators with discounted FOLS fees. Stacey Gardiner, AFCA General Manager, said FOLS provides organisations with the opportunity to demonstrate their professionalism.
FOLS is a national industry-led program, managed by ForestWorks. For more information about the FOLS Skills Verification Program, visit www.fols.forestworks.com.au .
Photo: Ian Wilson, Director of Wilson’s Harvesting & Haulage, shaking hands with Eric Kowald, Truck Driver for Wilson’s Harvesting & Haulage, who just received his FOLS.
Inaugural Southern NI Wood Council Awards DinnerThis year the Southern North Island Wood Council is running their inaugural Industry Awards evening and dinner. It follows on from the very successful awards evenings (turnouts on the night are usually between 250-500 forestry, wood processing and transport managers and contractors) now being run by three other New Zealand regions, Otago/Southland, East Coast and Northland.
Launched to celebrate and recognise the unsung heroes within our industry, the Awards Dinner is an opportunity to take time away from our busy lives to acknowledge the special achievements of those in our sector who have achieved excellence in certain fields, as well as those who have gained National Certificates and other training milestones during the year. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate in our own way the good work that we all do.
The Awards Dinner is taking place on Friday 26 May 2017 at the Awapuni Function Centre, Palmerston North, starting at 6 pm. For the evening itself, the Council has a fantastic line-up with local businessman and outdoors guru Davey Hughes as guest speaker and Jamie McKay from The Country, as MC.
For more information on the Awards or the planned dinner, please visit www.sniwoodcouncil.co.nz
Japan economy, housing & lumber updateJapan Economic Update
Japan’s economy grew by 1% in 2016, posting 4 straight quarters of positive gains. This compares with a 1.2% GDP rise in 2015. The gain was primarily as a result of increased external demand for exports. Aided by a weakening yen, exports in 2016 increased by 2.6% thanks to recovering conditions in China and the United States. Despite efforts to re-start Japan’s domestic economy, overall consumer spending, which represents 60% of the overall economy, remained sluggish. December Housing Starts Summary
December housing starts increased 3.9% to 78,406 units. For the first time in several months owner occupied single family housing led the gains with a 6.5% increase compared a 2.2% rise in rental units. The mansion condominium market gained 10.7%.
December total wooden starts improved 6.6% to 45,974 units. Post and beam housing increased 4.9% to 34,572 units. Pre-fab wooden starts fell 4.5% to 1,109 units and total pre-fab fell 4.1% to 12,179 units. Platform frame construction gained 13.9% to 10,293 units. Two by four starts broke down as follows: custom ordered single family units rose 11.9% to 2,716 units; rentals gained 16.8% to 6,422 units and built for sale speculative housing increased 1.6% to 1,122 units. Read more.
3D HoloLens for fire-fighting?Those attending the MobileTECH 2017 event a couple of weeks ago were introduced – and were able to put on to test out – the very latest HoloLens, Microsoft's augmented reality (AR) viewer. The opportunities for our own land-based industries for AR were (excuse the pun), eye-opening.
For the first time, unmanned aerial systems and holograms are helping fight wildfires. Flight operators manipulate holographic tactical maps of ScanEagles, helicopters and firefighters to direct resources to where they’re most needed. With Inexa Control software, the engineers hope to use mixed reality technology to one day control an entire fleet of UAVs for commercial use.
You can check out the clip below.
New Forests expands its Tropical Asia Forest Fund portfolioNew Forests, on behalf of its Tropical Asia Forest Fund (TAFF), has announced that they have completed the acquisition of a majority shareholding in one of the largest hardwood plantation estates in Laos. TAFF’s portfolio now comprises investments with diversified timber species and market exposures across plantation companies in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Laos. TAFF includes capital commitments from nine investors and is the only institutional forestry fund dedicated to investing in sustainably managed timber plantations in Southeast Asia.
TAFF’s latest acquisition is an 85% interest in a mature plantation estate that will be known as Mekong Timber Plantations. New Forests intends to develop the plantation as a high-quality timber asset serving regional markets for certified plantation hardwood. The purchase further supports TAFF’s investment thesis of acquiring significant interests in plantation timber companies and investing to transition these assets toward higher value end markets and to service the growing demand for certified, sustainable timber in Asian markets. The fund’s investments include eucalyptus and acacia plantations as well as a rubber plantation that will produce both latex and timber products.
Mekong Timber Plantations will manage 22,000 hectares of leased area mainly in Bolikhamxay and Khammouane provinces of Laos. TAFF also has equity interests in Acacia Forest Industries Sdn Bhd of Sabah, Malaysia and PT Hutan Ketapang Industri of West Kalimantan, Indonesia. In total, the fund has invested in more than 150,000 hectares of concessions, leases, and gazetted land, currently including around 45,000 net planted hectares.
“New Forests has steadily expanded the portfolio of investments we manage across Southeast Asia through the activities of the TAFF,” said CEO David Brand. “The fund has proven that there is an opportunity for institutional investors to contribute to the shift of Asia’s forest sector to long-term, sustainable management. With a patient and disciplined approach to acquisitions, good forestry investments are available throughout the region. We also believe there is great opportunity to improve silviculture, increase growth rates, and develop markets linked with the growing demand for wood products in Asia.”
Source: New Forests Pty Ltd
Sustainable Forestry Award nominations now openNominations for The Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Forestry are now open and must be submitted by 1 May 2017. The Award is to recognise the achievements of outstanding young forest professionals and is to encourage dedication to the principles of sustainable forest management including policy, planning and practice, and sound science-based land stewardship.
One award is available in Australia and one award is available in New Zealand. CEO of the Institute of Foresters Australia. Bob Gordon said, ‘Eligible recipients must either be a student or recent graduate, up to 30 years of age, from a forestry, natural resources or environmental science university or college programme.
‘Importantly, recipients must be members of the Institute of Foresters of Australia or the NZ Institute of Forestry, thus demonstrating their personal commitment to lifelong professional development and their support of forest professionalism. Full eligibility criteria and nomination details are available from the IFA website www.forestry.org.au.
China economy, construction & lumber update- China’s economy situation was generally positive in 2016 thanks to a growth in consumers spending and a property market rebound.
- GDP grew 6.8% year-on-year during Q42016, which is slightly more than the grow forecast of 6.7% as indicated in a Reuters poll of 42 economists.
- China’s economy managed to expand the fastest rate in Q4 in 2016 despite that the property market was tightened with less decisive policy support. Experts believe that increasing retail sales and manufacturing activities are the main source of growth.
- China’s wood imports in 2016 reached 80.24 million m3 – setting a new record -and increased 13.2% compared to last year.
China’s GDP growth rate in Q42016 reached 6.8% with 6.7% growth in the full year, which fit the estimation from head of China’s state planning agency; consumption constitutes for 64.6% GDP in 2016 while annual per capital consumption was up 8.9% year-on-year to RMB 17,111 (USD 2,490). Read more.
Concrete wood fence panels offered in USSuperior Concrete Products is offering reliable and cost-effective wood fence panels now in Texas.
The wood fence panels have the classic look of wood, and superior durability of concrete, and feature wood texture on both sides. They’re available in multiple colours and are provided in horizontal or vertical alignments.
Speaking more about their wood fence panels, a representative of the company stated, "Superior Wood Plus™ has visual details of wood grain – but with precast concrete's exceptional reliability and cost-effectiveness, those intricate details remain the same for decades. Over that same period, you could install wood several times over, only to watch it corrode, decompose, crack, burn, or get eaten by termites."
Entries open for the 2017 Northland Forestry AwardsLast year’s inaugural event in Northland was a huge success and the Northland Forestry Health and Safety Group are confident that the industry will again step up and take the awards to new heights in 2017.
There are a number of exciting initiatives for this year’s awards, including two new awards – the tree faller excellence award and the breaker out excellence award. Also, introduced for the 2017 awards is a mentor programme to support people through the nomination process.
Health and Safety Forestry Group spokesperson Andrew Widdowson said the key objective of the annual awards is to celebrate and recognise the high level of skill and professionalism within Northland’s forestry industry.
“Many don’t appreciate the huge value forestry is to the region,” said Mr Widdowson. Northland has nearly 170,000 hectares planted in plantation radiata pine, with forestry directly employing around 850 people – that accounts for 10.2% of the region’s primary industry workforce.
With a current harvest level of 4.2 million tonnes annually, accounting for 13% of New Zealand’s total annual log harvest. Forestry accounts for 4.3% of Northland’s GDP, contributing $218 million to the local economy each year.
“We want to attract skilled employees to Northland, up-skill and lift the standard of the skill base in the workforce, unit industry players, create healthy and challenging competition within the industry and provide an opportunity for everyone to celebrate our skilled professionals,” said Mr Widdowson.
There are awards up for grabs across the industry, including forestry, road, harvesting, distribution and wood processing excellence, with someone walking away with the ultimate crown – the Northland Forestry Awards Skilled Professional of the Year. Industry excellence is also recognised, with awards for the forestry family of the year, contractor of the year, and health and safety and environment management awards.
Nominations open on 3 April and close on 1 June. For further information on the awards, head to www.northlandwoodcouncil.co.nz
FWPA encourages industry engagementForest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) is restructuring its industry engagement, with greater opportunities to participate, both for members and for non-member stakeholders such as researchers and suppliers. The Chairman of FWPA, John Simon, said the two new types of group being introduced – Industry Advisory Groups and Interest Groups – were inclusive, and designed to provide opportunities to all interested people in the industry.
“We encourage you to contribute to the future of our industry by joining these groups which hopefully will help improve communication, identify valuable investment opportunities and identify issues or gaps we could help address with funding, contacts or other assistance,” he said.
“FWPA values the input of people ‘on the ground’, who have valuable experience and expertise when it comes to how we can best grow the market, innovate through research and promote the unique attractions of forest and wood products.”
Industry Advisory Groups will be open to directors and employees of any FWPA voting members, with a group to support each of FWPA’s outcome-driven programs, namely:
- Promoting the advantages of wood products
- Aligning products to market needs
- Assisting value chain optimisation
- Increasing resource availability and reducing risk
- Impacting decision making and industry capability
Each new Industry Advisory Group will be chaired by an FWPA board member and meet at least once a year to help rank and prioritise activities, offer direction regarding investments and provide member input. The first Industry Advisory Group meetings will be held in Melbourne on 16 June.
However, both members and non-member industry stakeholders who identify a common issue – whether region, species or product-specific – will be entitled to join new Interest Groups, with secretariat support provided by FWPA. The Interest Groups will be encouraged to develop investment proposals to help advance industry, whether by expanding markets, doing new research or other promotional activity.
To start an Interest Group, all you need to do is:
- Identify an issue of concern that is consistent with FWPA’s vision and mission
- Have at least five FWPA voting member companies participating and
- Be willing to open the group to all members and other stakeholders, including non-members.
As part of the transition to this new structure, FWPA’s current Industry Advisory Groups and Reference Groups will transition to the new Interest Groups effective from 31st March, 2017.
To find out more on how Industry Advisory Groups and/or Interest Groups can help your business and the working arrangements, please contact FWPA Managing Director Ric Sinclair on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is your trucking business ready for 2018?“There are changes coming to chain of responsibility in 2018, and we need to make sure that everyone is prepared for these changes,” General Manager, TruckSafe, Justin Fleming recently said at the NatRoad regional trucking summit in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.
Mr Fleming spoke at the conference about the importance of being aware and prepared for upcoming changes in chain of responsibility (CoR) laws in 2018. “There will be a new general safety duty that will include maintenance; the duty qualifier will change to ‘so far as reasonably practicable’; there will be a massive increase in maximum penalties and a new due diligence obligation on executives including directors”, Mr Fleming said.
“It is crucial that you are aware of your obligations and your requirements under due diligence, otherwise you and your business could suffer under the CoR changes. These changes in CoR include areas that we have never experienced in CoR laws, such as their extension to maintenance. As a basic starting point, businesses need to undertake daily checks of their trucks.”
“These daily checks are very important, and everyone needs to make sure that whoever is doing those daily checks any faults are performing them correctly and recording them accurately. You must have processes to verify that these are actually being done. There must be a system to record any changes to your maintenance system, and there must be a process to change your system as needed,” Mr Fleming said.
The NatRoad regional trucking summit brought together regulatory representatives, industry leaders as well as trucking operators in remote and rural Australia. For more information about TruckSafe can help your business, visit www.trucksafe.com.au.
Buy and Sell
...and one to end the week on...chicken surprise
Since it's Easter, let's go with a chicken theme this week. A husband and wife head for a meal at a Chinese restaurant and order the Chicken Surprise.
OK, I can hear the groans from here. That's the best of
the chicken jokes we have at hand. On that note, enjoy your
Easter break. Cheers.
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