Friday Offcuts – 1 March 2024

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Welcome to this week's edition of Friday Offcuts, delivering the latest updates and insights from across the forestry and wood processing sectors.

First up, the New Zealand government, under Minister Todd McClay, has initiated an independent review of the forestry segment within the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The aim? To ensure fairness and efficiency in cost allocation among the 4,000+ forestry participants. McClay emphasises the need to rebuild sector confidence by curbing excessive costs and enhancing operational transparency.

In South Australia, NeXTimber's inaugural mass timber facility has opened its doors, marking a significant milestone for the Australian industry. Nathan Paine highlights its potential to revolutionise the industry by offering eco- friendly alternatives to traditional building materials. Building with mass timber is a global phenomenon and having local manufacturing capacity will support its growth in this part of the world. 

Shifting gears, the spotlight shines on SCA's electric log trucks, which have logged over 4,600 kilometres in operations between Gimonäs timber terminal and the Obbola paper mill. These trucks, with an 80-ton capacity, contribute to substantial carbon dioxide reductions annually. SCA's extensive testing, including winter conditions and hilly terrains, underscores the viability of electric propulsion in heavy transport, paving the way for sustainable logistics solutions.

We cover these and more in another packed edition of Friday Offcuts. Enjoy the read.

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NZ Government announces review of forestry ETS costs

New Zealand Forestry Minister Todd McClay has announced an independent review into the forestry component of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Register to ensure it is efficient and cost-effective.

“Up and down the country forestry owners have been raising concerns about the excessive costs that have been imposed upon them by the previous government,” Mr McClay says.

“We have identified 22 fixed service fees including a $30 per hectare annual fee for participants into the forestry ETS register that forest owners are expected to pay.

Mr McClay says the review will inform future decisions on funding the ETS regime forestry services, including the current revenue model. 

“We are looking for assurance that the scheme’s operational costs are appropriate,” Mr McClay says.

“There are more than 560,000 hectares of post-1989 forest land in the ETS and over 4,000 forestry participants. They deserve to have confidence in the system the government has set up to manage their ETS obligations.”

Mr McClay says this is part of a pre-election commitment to rebuild confidence in the forestry sector. 

The review starts next month and is expected to report back by the end of April. 

“Forestry plays an important role in helping New Zealand meet its emissions reductions obligations. This review is the government’s first step on halting Labour’s attack on forestry through excessive costs and regulations,” Mr McClay says. 

The Terms of Reference for the review is available here

In response to the announcement, the New Zealand Forest Owners Association says the review of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) fees is a relief for foresters facing excessive costs and loss of climate change action. Read more >>

Source:, Forest Owners Association

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SA's first mass timber manufacturing facility opens

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas has officially opened NeXTimber's Australia’s first Radiata Pine Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glue-Laminated Timber (GLT) manufacturing facility in Tarpeena, South Australia.  

“It is official – South Australia is home to the most sought- after building product, Mass Engineered Timber, with thanks to Timberlink who invested $70 million into expanding their manufacturing facility to produce mass timber products for residential and commercial construction”, said Mr Nathan Paine, Chief Executive Officer of the South Australian Forest Products Association.  

“And, better yet, timber is the Ultimate Renewable and NeXTimber products like mass engineered timber will provide carbon negative building material to an industry that is reliant on fossil-fuelled materials such as steel and concrete, and will decarbonise the construction industry in Australia”, continued Mr Paine.  

“Innovative technologies like engineered wood products are a clear example of how timber is influencing the future of the construction industry whilst contributing to a net-zero economy”, said Mr Paine.  

South Australia’s forest products industries are already building the nation through growing and processing 35% of the nation’s locally produced house framing timbers, 25% of the nation’s particle board and now this new facility will deliver CLT and GLT products that offer a greener, more sustainable alternative to steel and concrete in mid and high-rise construction projects,” Mr Paine said. 

“Each year, the South Australian plantation estate sequesters 4.64 million tonnes of CO2e from the atmosphere, making timber the Ultimate Renewable. The CLT and GLT timber products that will be processed by NeXTimber will provide carbon-negative mass timber products for use in mid and high-rise constructions helping create a cleaner, greener future. 

It is investments like this which generate economic, environmental and social opportunities for the South East, further empowering the forest and timber industries in South Australia”, concluded Mr Paine.  

Image Credit: Timberlink / NeXTimber

Source: South Australian Forest Products Association

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Beyond 2050: Challenges with pine forests

Relying heavily on pine forests to meet New Zealand's 2050 "net zero" carbon goal could impose a significant burden on future generations, warns Climate Change Commission chairperson Rod Carr.

While acknowledging trees' benefits, Carr expressed concerns about sustaining mono-culture pine plantations post-2050, especially regarding disease and environmental challenges. He emphasised the potential burden on future generations and the need for balanced land use.

Carr urged the government to set limits on forestry conversions for emissions reduction targets, cautioning against overreliance on pine plantations. He stressed the need for ongoing emissions reductions beyond 2050 and suggested reevaluating the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to ensure effectiveness.

More >>

Source: The Post

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FIEA wood residues conference - Call for speakers

Following on from last year's record turnout, planning for Residues2Revenues 2024 is now well underway. The NZ forest industry is looking to capitalise on the growth and demand in biofuels, bioenergy and a range of renewable bioproducts. This event helps forest owners, contractors and processors better understand the real value of wood residues and the opportunities in supplying this market.

FIEA would like to invite those keen on being a presenter at our 3rd annual event, please submit your interest as soon as possible. For prospective speakers, please email John Stulen with the following:
  1. A presentation title for a case study, innovation or other practical topics of interest for the industry.
  2. A short abstract (approx 100 words) to help us to learn more about your work and compare it with others to allow us to choose which presentations to accept. 
While this event has a NZ focus, last year a good contingent from Australia attended in person and many other internationals followed the live event online. 

The Residues2Revenues 2024 conference runs on 30-31 July 2024 at the Distinction Hotel in Rotorua, New Zealand. Further details can be found on the event's website,

Residues2Revenues 2024
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NZ log exports to China - February 2024 update

New Zealand was, once again, the top supplier of logs to China in 2023 accounting for 47% of the national total, up 6 percentage points from 2022. China’s log imports from New Zealand reached almost 18 million cubic metres valued at US$2.209 billion, up 2% in volume but down 18% in value, year on year. The average price for imported logs from New Zealand was US$123 (CIF) per cubic metre, down 19% on 2022 levels.

In addition, the Japan Lumber Importers Association released their projection of imported wood products for the first half of 2024. The total volume of logs and timber will be 10% more than in the first half of 2023, with 97% coming from North America and New Zealand. However, Japanese timber companies are shifting to cedar logs instead of New Zealand logs. This is because the price of NZ logs for China had increased, resulting in higher prices for Japan.

More >>

Source: International Tropical Timber Organization

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Hey Google, name the most innovative & iconic building

Scion’s Rotorua headquarters have gone head-to-head with the Silicon Valley campus of top tech company Google — and come out on top.

But there are no hard feelings between the architects behind the two incredible buildings.

The Dubai International Best Practices Award for Sustainable Development was presented on 13 February 2024 and Scion’s Innovation hub Te Whare Nui o Tuteata won ‘The Most Beautiful, Innovative and Iconic Building’ award.

Designed by RTA Studios and Irving Smith Architects, it was a finalist alongside Google Bay View in the United States designed by Danish studio Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and London-based Heatherwick Studio.

This week, Jeremy Smith of Irving Smith gave BIG partner Kai-Uwe Bergmann the grand tour of the Rotorua building while Bergmann was visiting New Zealand for an architecture conference.

Walking through the doors of Te Whare Nui o Tuteata for the first time, Bergmann says he was struck by the timber building’s warmth.

“Being a finalist in the same category is a great honour. The Dubai award celebrates work that innovates the building industry and Te Whare Nui o Tuteata and Google’s building both achieve that.”

The awards were held for the first time since 2019 in Dubai at the World Governments Summit. They featured five categories and attracted almost 3000 entries from around the globe.

The Most Beautiful, Innovative and Iconic Building category recognises iconic, smart, innovative, human-centric sustainable projects that innovatively combine green design and construction practices with modern architectural excellence.

The win adds to the list of more than 20 national and international awards Te Whare Nui o Tuteata has taken home since opening in 2021.

The building’s name, meaning the great house of Tuteata, acknowledges Tuteata who is the ancestor of the three hapū who are the tangata whenua here: Ngāti Hurungaterangi, Ngāti Taeotu and Ngāti Te Kahu. The name was gifted to Scion by those three hapū.

The three-storey 2000 sq m building was built using a diagrid timber structure using less material than traditional structures. Scion tested the strength of the diagrid components. The building has also been designed to be carbon-zero meaning it stores as much carbon as was emitted during its construction.

More >>

Source and image credit: Scion

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Port of Tauranga reports NZ$47.2 million profit

The Port of Tauranga's latest financial report shows a profit of NZ$47.2 million, down from NZ$56.3 million in the same period last year. They highlighted challenging trading conditions, including global supply chain issues, lower demand from customers and increased operating costs.

Log exports increased by 19.2% to 3.6 million tonnes in the first half of 2023, driven by the early harvesting of cyclone- damaged trees in the Central North Island forests. 

The port invested in new equipment, including four hybrid straddle carriers and a new ship-to-shore crane. These investments will help the port to improve its efficiency and productivity in handling logs in the future.

PoT chair Julia Hoare said the first half of the financial year had seen a return to more normal operating conditions following a period of extreme supply chain congestion since late 2020.

“I’m pleased to report that since March 2023 we have managed to eliminate delays at the Tauranga Container Terminal with the gradual return to shipping schedule adherence after a long period of unreliability,” she said.

Overall, the Port of Tauranga's performance in the first half of 2023 was mixed for the forestry industry. While log exports increased, the overall trade volume decreased. However, the port's investments in new equipment are a positive sign for the future of the industry.

More >>

The full report can be read via this link.

Source and image credit: Port of Tauranga

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46,000 kilometres for SCA's electric log truck

SCA's electric log truck continues to transport timber between Gimonäs timber terminal and Obbola paper mill outside Umeå. It has now been in operation for over 1.5 years. Everything is working as intended, and they are receiving inquiries from haulage companies and others who want to learn more about heavy electric vehicle transport, says Mikael Sundelin, Head of Business Development at Industrial Supply.

Since SCA's unique electric log truck was put into operation in June 2022, it has covered a distance of 46,000 kilometres, equivalent to more than one lap around the globe. Over a year of operation, the electric log truck contributes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 55,000 kg per year.

With a capacity to carry 80 tons, the electric log truck's daily task is to transport logs between Gimonäs timber terminal and Obbola paper mill outside Umeå. The round trip covers a distance of 30 km, and it completes approximately six rounds per day. The truck needs to be charged about two times during a working day.

Different tests

The significant interest in the electric log truck has led it to undertake some other tasks. In 2023, SCA drove it on a forest road with winter conditions outside Umeå to assess its ability to transport wood directly from the forest to Obbola paper mill. It also faced a more challenging environment during a few March days in Näsåker, together with Själander Åkeri AB, a partner of SCA Skog.

"It has been fun and rewarding to be able to test the vehicle with both longer and heavier transports in proper winter conditions and in a more hilly landscape than we have around Umeå. All tests have gone very well", says Mikael. SCA receives data, including electric consumption primarily, from Scania.

"It is evident that consumption has decreased as our drivers become more experienced and learn to drive it in an optimal way. During winter, especially on extremely cold days, it consumes more electricity, but we already know that – it's the same for electric cars", says Mikael.

Drive sustainability development

All driving and various tests provide SCA with valuable insights into electric propulsion for heavy transport. "This is, as mentioned, a first step towards electric propulsion in heavy road transport, which is incredibly significant. It's exciting that SCA, together with innovative partners, can drive sustainable development, says Mikael. We also receive enquiries from haulage companies and others who want to learn more about electric propulsion for heavy transport for goods other than logs."

To explore the large and significant shifts that have occurred and operational results from larger transport fleets, including log transport operations and Australasia’s electric log truck operating in the Green Triangle region of Australia, over the past 12 months, this region’s major Wood Transport & Logistics 2024 event has been set up for the forestry, log haulage and contracting companies in Rotorua, New Zealand on 22-23 May 2024. Last year was a sell-out. Programme details can be found on the event website.

Source: Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA)

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Toroawhi initiative comes to an end

The Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) is announcing today that our Toroawhi / Worker Champion initiative is coming to an end. The Toroawhi initiative started in February 2020 as a pilot sponsored by WorkSafe. But the funding and initiative will finish at the end of March 2024.

"We make this announcement with sadness, but also with pride for the work our Toroawhi, Richard Stringfellow and Wade Brunt, have done over the last four years," said Safetree CEO, Joe Akari.

"They have visited many forestry businesses across the Motu, talking with hundreds of forestry people. They have worked hard to improve worker engagement and wellbeing, and to support crews and workers to achieve Safetree Certification," he said.

The initiative helped manage emerging risks. This included following the cyclones last year, where they helped crews deal with the additional risks of harvesting windthrown trees.

FISC acknowledges the great work done by Richard and Wade. They have had a lasting influence on FISC’s work, and on many of the crews and individuals they interacted with.

Safetree has several videos and stories about the initiative which are well worth viewing. 

Source: Safetree

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Audit finds 'major non-conformities' in forest certification (updated)

(Friday Offcuts editor update - Contrary to RNZ reporting below, PF Olsen has not had its certificate suspended)
In last week’s issue, we built in several stories relating to east coast forest companies, local Councils and other landowners who were working hard to rectify the impacts of downstream debris damage to communities, farms and infrastructure one year on from the devastation wrought by Cyclone Gabrielle.

RNZ this week followed this up with an article on a “damning report” that has found "major non-conformities" in the way East Coast forests were granted a stamp of environmental stewardship, despite "compelling evidence" of problems.

An audit of the auditors who gave Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification to forests owned by Malaysian company Ernslaw One has found serious shortcomings in the checks carried out over multiple years.

Intense storms in 2017, 2018 and 2023 caused massive landslides from logging sites in FSC-certified forests, devastating properties, roads and bridges. The FSC badge is supposed to prove a forest is under responsible management, so some green advocates were surprised when Ernslaw One kept its FSC label, after being fined in court for breaking environmental law.

Late last year, an independent assessor from overseas auditors ASI visited Gisborne to check on the forests on behalf of FSC and speak to people in the area, after locals and green groups complained. The findings were released on Tuesday, after FSC earlier confirmed Ernslaw's FSC certificate was suspended, along with that of another forestry owner in the area, PF Olsen. (Editor update - PF Olsen has not had its certificate suspended).

The audit found serious shortcomings in the way the New Zealand office of auditors SGS carried out checks on Ernslaw's compliance. FSC says the problems concern SGS, not Ernslaw itself, and SGS needs to show how it will improve. SGS hasn't lost its ability to certify forests. A second certifier, Preferred by Nature (formerly Nepcon), was also audited, after it signed off on PF Olsen's FSC certificates.

More >>

Source: RNZ

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Results from 2023 The Ultimate Renewable™ campaign

We reported earlier on last year's launch of the 2023 campaign. The goal for the 2023 The Ultimate Renewable™ campaign was to push the boundaries of what could be achieved for the Australian forest and wood products industry by being bold in the mission to improve perceptions and transparent in promoting the environmental benefits of what we do. Forest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA) is excited to share the results of the 2023 campaign with the wider industry.

Check out this quick video that FWPA put together demonstrating the incredible impact of their 2023 The Ultimate Renewable™ campaign.

Source: FWPA

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€150 m LVL and I-beam plant underway

Construction, the first sustainable construction factory of its kind in the Baltics and only the third in Europe, has begun operations with plans to produce €150 million of products a year for Scandinavia, North America, Australia, and major European markets.

The €100 million facility for structural engineering timber materials is located in the Akmenė Free Economic Zone. VMG Group, one of the largest wood processing and furniture manufacturing groups in Central and Eastern Europe, opened the site together with Hanner, the leader in real estate development in Lithuania, and the Baltic Industrial Fund II, which is managed by BRAITIN.

The VMG Lignum Construction factory has the annual capacity to produce 120,000 cubic metres of laminated veneer lumber (LVL), 15 million metres of I-joists and 200,000 cubic metres of structural particle board.

Sigitas Paulauskas, VMG Group's sole shareholder and investor, says the factory will supply local and global markets with engineered timber products and building solutions. In a later phase of development, the range of products on offer will be enlarged to include other sustainable building structures, such as prefabricated wall and ceiling panels, glued LVL columns, and wall chipboard with decorative sheeting.

According to Global Wood Markets Info (GWMI), the European market for mass timber-based multi-storey buildings is growing at a pace of roughly 8% a year.

About VMG Group

VMG Group unites 20 companies with more than 3,000 employees and exports to more than 30 countries. The group is currently developing large-scale projects within one of Lithuania's free economic zones involving €500 million of total investments.

The €100 million construction materials factory is the VMG Group's third industrial project in the Akmene FEZ. In 2020, it opened one of the largest chipboard factories in Europe, investing €150 million in the site. In August 2023, it launched a new cabinet furniture factory. Investments in that project exceeded €80 million.

Source: VMG Group

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Why no ultra large container vessels sailing to the US?

The video below gives an in-depth discussion on shipping trends and why ultra-large container ships, capable of carrying more than 16,000 TEUs, are sailing to the United States. Sal Mercogliano, a maritime historian at Campbell University and former merchant mariner breaks down the reasons.

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... the worst zoo in the world

"Did you hear about the worst zoo in the world; it only had one dog in it.
It was a Shitzu."

"What's the difference between a hippo and a zippo?
One weighs a ton, and the other is a little lighter."

Before you criticise someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you do criticise them, you're a mile away, and you have their shoes.

My wife and I laugh about how competitive we are. But I laugh more.

Two whales walk into a pub. They take a seat at the bar and the first one turns to the bartender and says: "Whhhhhoooooaaaaaeeeeeyyyyiiiiiaaaalllllllooooaaaaauuu?” The second one turns to the first and says, “Shut up Fred, you’re drunk."

And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Ken Wilson
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Mob: +61 452 262 337 Web page:

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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