Friday Offcuts 7 October 2016
Andrew Morgan, Hydrowood co-founder spoke a couple of weeks ago at the recent FIEA Wood Flow Optimisation 2016 event in Melbourne and outlined to wood transport and logistics delegates the amazing story of this innovative Tasmanian company. Regardless of your own take on the show, it was a great coup for Tasmania and the Tasmanian timbers that were featured. The expectation of course is that as a consequence of this week’s screening, architects, designers and others in the industry will be now flocking to get hold of these Tasmanian specialty timbers to use for their own building or furniture projects.
On the technology front this week, hot on the heels of presentations made at the recent Wood Flow Optimisation series on autonomous vehicles and the trials being done around the world on truck platooning, this week HMI Technologies and Christchurch International Airport have announced the first New Zealand based and funded trial of a fully autonomous electric vehicle. With the assistance of University of Canterbury researchers and developers, it’s expected to start early next year.
For a little bit of fun at the end of the week, all you gamer’s out there should check out this week’s chainsaw story and video clip. It’s the first virtual reality chainsaw game launched by Husqvarna. Not only can you pick up a saw and test your skills on “limbing” logs but you can also compete on-line with others from around the world. The winner each month is going to be invited to the world championships final in Sweden that is being planned for August 2017.
Finally, a note for all those forest resource managers, planners and inventory foresters contemplating registering for this year’s ForestTECH 2016 series, remember today is the LAST DAY for early-bird registrations. If wishing to take advantage of the discounted registration rate you should be looking at registering you or your staff by the end of the day. Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
$20 carbon price before the end of the yearSpot NZUs are currently $18.80 per tonne. The market continues to consolidate at present levels and sits near its 5 year high. “It’s only a matter of time in our view that $19 will trade as large sellers remain absent and demand is expected to increase over the next two quarters as buyers finalise their 2016 requirements and annual demand increases from Q1 as the one for two unwinds from January next year” says Nigel Brunel, OM Financial Limited.
“To put this in some perspective – the gradual unwind of the one for two setting starting in January 2017 will see demand increase by approximately 600,000 tonnes per month. The market has been averaging 1.25 million per month at OMF for the last 15 months and whilst we are not the entire market – it’s a significant increase in demand that has to be met. Therefore – we expect prices to continue to rise”.
We remind customers and readers – the ETS is a politically created market where buyers have to buy but sellers don’t have to sell. The major owners and sellers of carbon are seeing very good prices for logs and that is their day to day business – not carbon. Our view remains that we will see the $20 level trade before year end.
In other news - New Zealand has ratified the Paris Accord. It comes into force when 55 countries representing 55% of emission ratify. At present 63 countries representing 52% of global emissions have ratified.
New Zealand was very keen to be in the first 55%. It wants to be seen to be leading and not following. This is because the design and implementation of international markets are crucial to New Zealand meetings its 2030 target. Being part of the group that ratified prior to the ratification target being met means we can be part of those discussions on international markets.
Hydrowood features on this week’s Reality TV ProgramTasmanian specialty timber – which has been submerged for more than 25 years – is now the star of a unique challenge that was given to contestants on national renovation reality program The Block.
In a top secret visit, Channel Nine bought all five contestant couples on its top rating reality program over on the Spirit of Tasmania in August after selecting timber salvaged by Tasmanian company Hydrowood as the source of the challenge.
The program, up until it went to air on Wednesday in prime time at 7.30pm, had remained under wraps. It involved four iconic Tasmanian specialty timbers – Western Beech, Sassafras, Celery Top Pine and Blackwood, preserved deep underwater in Lake Pieman on the State’s West Coast until being sustainably salvaged under a new operation conducted by Hydrowood.
“It was great coup for Tasmania and Tasmanian timbers to feature on a primetime national show like The Block. There was a lot of focus on the spectacular scenery of the West and North West coast and I hope that this national exposure will aid in driving regional tourism as well as renewed interest in Tasmanian timbers” said Hydrowood co-founder Andrew Morgan.
“In terms of Hydrowood it’s publicity that money simply can’t buy. We are confident it will lead to great interest from viewers as well as architects, designers and others in the industry seeking highly sought Tasmanian timbers to use in their construction or furniture projects.
The entourage, which consisted of 15 vehicles and 32 people created quite an impression on the North West and West Coasts for their lightning fast visit, before returning to Melbourne to continue filming the challenge in their Port Melbourne venue.
The Block visited Lake Pieman to see first-hand the unique barge based harvesting operation, then visited a sawmill that mills the timber in Wynyard. The five couples then had to select from the four specialty Tasmanian timbers to create something in a challenge that will net the winner an additional $10,000 in their renovation budget.
The couples on The Block are renovating the derelict headquarters of a historic Australian soap and candle factory in Port Melbourne, but at various times throughout the series, they are given a Challenge. Hydrowood was the next challenge that aired on Wednesday evening.
NZ’s first trial of autonomous vehicle announcedChristchurch will host New Zealand’s first trial of a fully autonomous electric vehicle next year. HMI Technologies and Christchurch International Airport have agreed on the New Zealand based and funded trial, which is focussed on finding answers to key questions about how these vehicles could operate in this country.
The trials will largely be conducted on the Christchurch Airport campus, starting on private roads with no public present, with the long-term aim of moving to public roads once the safety case has been made and all regulatory approvals are in place.
HMI Technologies has bought a French Navya 15-person shuttle for the trial. The vehicle is fully autonomous, has no steering wheel and is electric powered. The vehicle is expected to arrive in Christchurch before Christmas, with the trial scheduled to begin early in 2017.
Christchurch Airport GM Corporate Affairs, Michael Singleton, says the airport’s interest in this trial centres on future plans for linking key areas around the airport campus.
“We hope to eventually see autonomous vehicles operating in and around the airport. Before that could happen, we want to understand the infrastructure and operating requirements for these vehicles, to understand the human/technology interface and to build the safety case for autonomous vehicles on our campus. The trial vehicle being electric also fits well with the airport’s sustainability objectives,” says Mr Singleton.
Managing Director of HMI Technologies, Mohammed Hikmet, says his company and the airport share an interest in New Zealand being an early adopter of these vehicles.
“Both companies are keen to exploit the opportunities autonomous vehicles present New Zealand. I am proud our New Zealand company is taking a lead in initiating the first trials of this vehicle in this country. We see huge possibilities for companies like ours to develop solutions and applications for use with autonomous vehicles.” Former Secretary for Transport, Martin Matthews, is overseeing the trial and describes it as very significant. “Autonomous vehicles are coming, whether we are ready or not, so we are taking the initiative to be ready. Many people believe we are years away from seeing these vehicles on our roads, but I disagree. I believe they will be with us very soon, so it’s important we understand what is required for them to operate safely here.”
The trial partners will work with University of Canterbury researchers and developers, who will help design and undertake the trials. Christchurch City Council will also use the trials to raise awareness of how these vehicles and other technological developments may alter the way cities work in the future. The Ministry of Transport and New Zealand Transport Agency will also be involved in the trials.
Link to video http://navya.tech/?lang=en
Reconciling actual and predicted forest yieldsAt recent ForestTECH events, presentations have been given on the plot imputation method for forest yield analysis that uses a combination of field inventory plots and LiDAR metrics to predict recoverable volume by log grade. ForestTECH 2016 in mid-November will be showcasing a number of major forestry companies that have trialled and rolled out this inventory system and have been reconciling actual and predicted yields through harvester and weighbridge data.
In New Zealand, Juken New Zealand Ltd (JNL) contracted Interpine in 2015 to undertake an inventory of a 3,000 ha forest in the Wairarapa using the plot imputation method. Several stands in this forest had already had a traditional Pre-Harvest Inventory as well.
Clearfell harvesting in this forest has now commenced and Sean McBride from JNL will be presenting in Rotorua some early results on post-harvest reconciliations between actual and predicted yields from both the traditional PHI and plot imputation methods. The presentation will focus on the practical implementation of plot imputation including economic analysis and will also outline JNL’s future plans for LiDAR within their estate.
Operational results from Forestry Corporation NSW, OneFortyOne Plantations, Timberlands Pacific as well as recent research results from the University of Tasmania will also be integrated into this year’s technology event being run for the region’s resource managers and forest inventory and GIS specialists. Full details on the programmes for both venues can be found on the event website, www.foresttech.events.
NZ ratifies Paris global climate change pactNew Zealand has become one of the first batch of countries to ratify the new global climate change pact hammered out in Paris last December, heralding the country's return to global carbon markets four years after abandoning them. Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett announced the ratification on Wednesday ahead of attending next month's annual global climate change summit, to be held in Marrakech, Morocco.
New Zealand effectively walked away from global markets in 2012 when the country decided against adopting carbon emissions reductions targets through to 2020 using the rules adopted under the Kyoto Protocol, the now-defunct agreement that governed emissions reductions by a limited number of developed economies up until 2012.
That prevented major emitters from accessing very low-cost, low-quality international carbon credits that flooded out of the former Soviet bloc and saw carbon prices under New Zealand's emissions trading scheme fall to 50 cents a tonne and lower at times. Since agreeing to the new Paris pact and announcing an end to subsidies for major emitters, NZ Units in the ETS have risen to about NZ$18.80 a tonne.
New Zealand attracted international criticism for failing to adopt new Kyoto-based targets, preferring instead to push for a new global pact, the bones of which emerged at Paris last year and commit the country to cutting its carbon emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
However, the detailed rules of the new pact have yet to be negotiated. New Zealand had not initially intended to ratify the Paris agreement so quickly, but momentum among major signatories including the United States and China forced the government's hand, since failure to ratify early could have locked the country out of the rule-making negotiations.
Rules on the treatment of a range of important carbon offsets, such as the use of plantation forests as carbon 'sinks', are vital to New Zealand's efforts to meet its 2030 commitments.
"A significant benefit of the government ratifying early is that it guarantees New Zealand a seat at the decision-making table on matters that affect the Paris agreement at the next United Nations climate change meeting in Marrakech in November," said Bennett.
GeoMaster’s growth continues in Southern hemisphereAtlas GeoMaster has been used extensively in the industry for forest management for over fifteen years. As outlined recently to those involved in harvest planning, wood transport and logistics at the recent Wood Flow Optimisation technology series, new developments and features that have been added to the forward planning functions of the tool have resulted in significant time savings for forest managers.
The planned events component of GeoMaster can also be carried onto mobile devices, so managers in the field have instant access to all completed and planned activity for any stand while they are out and about.
“GeoMaster has been gaining increased traction internationally with recent implementations in Fiji, Malaysia, and through their partnership with Interpine, in Chile and Uruguay” says Andrew Taylor, Integral’s CEO. Domestic demand has also remained strong with well-established companies including Juken NZ and Wenita Forest Products having recently adopted GeoMaster. James McEwan of Wenita Forest Products said that they’d recently chosen GeoMaster to better align their business systems with industry standards, and give them more security into the future.
“Further implementations are also currently under way in New Zealand and Indonesia” said Mr Taylor.
Photo: James McEwan,Wenita Forest Products & Christian Pilaar, Atlas at the recent Wood Flow Optimisation event
Over 90% of NZ small forests expect to be harvestedMost of New Zealand’s small forests were planted in the 1990s, and now that they are coming to maturity they have the potential to supply most of the large increase in wood availability over the next decade.
However, some small forests have been poorly managed and, when this is combined with a poor location, it can be uneconomic to harvest the trees. Financial losses and factors such as road damage and concerns about road safety due to logging trucks has contributed to an anti-forestry sentiment in some districts.
This needs to be rectified because small forest growers have a strong influence on the public perception of forestry as an investment and thus on whether reforestation and new forest planting occurs.
Enlarging New Zealand’s planted forest area to secure long-term log supply, support regional economies and help New Zealand achieve its goals for climate change and fresh water quality is therefore dependent to a good degree on how small forest owners fare over the next decade.
A report on future wood availability compiled recently for the Ministry for Primary Industries has shed light on the number of small forest blocks (in this study those up to 40 hectares) expected to be harvested, and the probability these blocks will be replanted.
The study indicated that more than 91% of these small forests will be harvested. As expected, the terrain of the forest block, access to roading and distance to a port or mill had a strong influence on forest profitability.
The report’s authors, Barbara Hock, Duncan Harrison and Richard Yao, used large national datasets that map existing forests, and their location, size and age, to determine the forests that are most likely going to be harvested and estimate the probably that they will be replanted. By applying these data to Scion’s Forest Investment Finder (FIF) economic model, the research team was able to establish the costs associated with planting, silviculture, roading, felling and terrain, transport and log yields, and a log price for individual small forest blocks.
Small forests do not have the economies of scale available to them that large forests have so it was encouraging that the modelling indicated only about 6-9% of small forest blocks would be uneconomic to harvest. These blocks are spread around the country and, mostly due to remoteness, may not be harvested at all. Pruning regime had little effect on intention to harvest. A 5% or 10% increase in log price increased the percentage of forests that becomes economic to harvest by 2.1% and 3.4% respectively.
Working with nearby forest owners to coordinate harvesting and share some costs can help too. The effect of improved carbon prices is complex and forest specific. While a higher carbon price can improve cashflow for an ETS-qualifying forest during the growing phase, the carbon liability associated with harvesting needs to be repaid. In some circumstances, a high carbon price could make retaining the forest more economical than harvesting it.
Based on trends over the past 20 years, and taking into consideration data such as location, slope, catchment, proximity to other land uses and industry, and people density, lead author Barbara Hock says there are no real surprises. “The small blocks of forest least likely to be replanted are those near larger urban areas, situated on lower slopes and where there is strong competition with other land uses such as in the Waikato and Canterbury”.
For further information on Scion’s work with small forest growers contact Professor Alison Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Scion Research
Queensland explores US interest in AU$1B biofutures industryThe Queensland Government will test the US, Asian and Australian markets appetite to be part of the state’s potential AU$1 billion biofutures industry with a Request for Information (RFI) advertising campaign to be followed by an Expression of Interest (EOI) process in the coming weeks. Speaking from San Francisco, Queensland’s State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said his trade mission to North America had been rewarding after meeting with a number of biofuels sector companies.
And now we need to take the next step and identify serious proposals, to continue the investment and growth in our biofutures industry and deliver more jobs for Queenslanders, he said. We want to hear from companies all along the supply chain from potential suppliers of feedstock, technology providers, commercial operators, investors and users of bioproducts.
This awareness raising campaign, which will run in the US, Asia and Australia will strengthen the governments understanding of the market and ultimately determine the most effective form of support it can offer. Dr Lynham said the RFI will run from early-October and the EOI process is set for mid-November.
The Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has a clear vision to grow jobs and diversify our economy, and a AU$1 billion industrial biotechnology and bioproducts sector is front and centre of that vision, he said. This two stage process will provide important intelligence on how the State will progress its efforts to convert this vision into a reality.
The RFI will target companies within the entire biomass to bio-product supply chain, while the EOI will focus on qualified and experienced proponents capable of submitting project proposals. Dr Lynham said Queenslands business foundations of a highly skilled workforce, abundant raw materials, integrated transport systems and proximity to the growing Asian markets made it the ideal location for potential investors.
Virtual reality chainsaw game and championship launchedFor all chainsaw fans around the world, Husqvarna has released the first Virtual Reality (VR) chainsaw game - Husqvarna Limberjack. The game is now available to download world-wide for anyone that wants to test their limbing skills and compete for the new world championship title.
"VR limbing combines two extremes, one of the oldest professions in the world together with the newest technology available," says Lars Strandell, multiple medallist from the bi-annual World Logging Championship.
The Husqvarna VR experience brings the player to a beautiful mountainside with a lake where the player has to use a Husqvarna 359 chainsaw to remove 24 branches from a 2.7metre long log. The player needs to pick up the chainsaw and remove the branches as accurately and quickly. Just like a professional logger, the player needs to limb fast, and with precision. If branches are not removed properly, the player will need to go back and re-do, losing time.
The game includes a local as well as a global high score list, making it fun to compete both in groups at home and online against other VR limberjacks around the world. At the end of each month, Husqvarna will announce the best Limberjack player in the world for the month, and in August 2017, the twelve best Limberjack players will be invited to the world championships final in Sweden.
Exciting discovery of Spot-tailed Quolls in VictoriaTwo rare and threatened Spot-tailed Quolls have been discovered in the Bendoc region in East Gippsland in Australia. Spot-tailed Quolls are the largest carnivorous marsupial on mainland Australia, they are easily identified by their brown coats, with conspicuous white spots over their body and tail. The species is currently classified as endangered on mainland Australia.
The detections are only the second time the species has been found in over five years of VicForests pre-harvest surveys. Dr Chela Powell, Manager, Biodiversity Research & Development for VicForests said this discovery is very significant as detections of these animals have been quite rare in recent years across East Gippsland.
“This is an exciting find. We captured images of what appears to be two different Spot-tailed Quolls on remote, infra-red cameras during one of our targeted pre-harvest fauna surveys. “Before this discovery there had only been one sighting in over five years of pre-harvest surveys by across the East Gippsland region,” Dr Powell said.
VicForests ensures that important biodiversity values, including threatened species such as Spot-tailed Quolls, are identified and appropriately protected from timber harvesting operations. This includes engaging independent ecologists to conduct targeted surveys in areas planned for harvest on sites which are most likely to contain threatened species.
“When a Spot-tailed Quoll is detected in an area planned for harvest, VicForests works with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to create a Special Management Plan to protect the animal from any harvesting operations. The area that contains the most ideal habitat for the species is reserved and excluded from harvesting operations,” Dr Powell said.
Tracking technology for machine safetyIn the future big New Zealand construction companies will require GPS tracking of all contractors and sub-contractors on a site. It may be a bold call, but that is the way the industry is moving.
The mining and oil & gas industries in Australia already require GPS tracking of all vehicles, and adhere to the Land Transportation Safety Recommended Practice (OGP Report 365). These guidelines provide advice on ways to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, the number of serious road traffic incidents and fatalities through the implementation of land transport safety elements within a management system. The guidelines require IVMS (in vehicle monitoring systems) to be used at all times.
Safety as a key driver - In 2012 the Australian health and safety legislation was strengthened, and as a result there is a significant duty of care placed on employers, with huge penalties when things go wrong. New Zealand is also moving in this direction with the Health and Safety Reform Bill currently before Parliament, and expected to be passed into law in the second half of 2015.
In both Australia and New Zealand a significant percentage of workplace deaths involve vehicles or machines. In addition, plant and vehicles represent the third highest cost behind salaries and rent/power. Given that combination it makes sense to focus on minimising risk and ensuring worker safety.
Employers should be thinking about:
There will also be a move towards compulsory GPS tracking of all people on a site, not just all machines. On big worksites, there may be many occasions where a worker may be working alone and out of sight of others, so technology that can alert site managers in the event of a 'man down' incident is very important.
Better business practices - The heavy construction industry faces multiple business challenges, such as achieving accurate estimating and bidding, reducing profit erosion, increasing labour productivity and efficiency, increasing asset utilisation, and ensuring the right equipment is in the right place at the right time. Moving to GPS tracking of every machine on site can go a long way toward alleviating these challenges.
With GPS fleet tracking you can trend productivity across the whole site, and extract data that allows you to reduce downtime, reduce cycle times, and distribute equipment between job sites more efficiently.
The data extracted from a GPS tracking system provides proof of hours worked and machines used, and this provides a safeguard for both the employer and contractors. It can provide proof of the hours worked and machines used.
Universal tracking of vehicles, machines and people on heavy construction sites is the way of the future. Safety of workers will be the main driving force to this change, particularly with the upcoming change to health & safety legislation in New Zealand. Improving business practice and efficiency will also be a key consideration in the competitive heavy construction market.
FIEA's Forest Industry Safety Summit, running in March 2017, will feature a range of technology developments bringing enhanced operator productivity and safety solutions to our forest industries in both Australia and New Zealand. Check out our website for details at www.forestsafety.events and sign up to receive timely updates on this exciting new conference series planned for Rotorua and Melbourne.
Two log truckers among Hall of Fame inducteesOver 570 guests from around New Zealand and Australia gathered at Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill, New Zealand to honour the six latest inductees to the NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame.
Associate Minister of Transport Craig Foss was present to award the inductees in the fifth year of the awards, but the first since the Bill Richardson Transport World facility was fully completed and opened to the public in December 2015.
The full list of 2016 inductees included well known log truck veterans:
Stan Williamson – Taranaki/Bay Of Plenty
Semi-retired at the age of 90, Stan formed Maketu Contractors Ltd in 1953. The company prospered until illness of one partner meant the breakup of the business, with Stan taking on the burgeoning logging sector. His company expanded within the usual ups and downs of the transport industry and he built a successful business before selling the last of his fleet to Rotorua Forest Haulage Ltd.
During all of this he was heavily involved with the Road Transport Association and in 1983, he was made a Life Member of No. 2 Central Executive, a Life Member of RTA Region 2 in 1983, and a Life Member of the NZRTA in 1993.
Bert Watchorn – Taranaki/Waikato
At the age of 17, Bert started driving a GMC logger for his older brother, hauling logs. After time in Australia he and his family arrived back in NZ, settling near Paeroa where he got a job with a transport operator named Gilbert Sarjant.
In 1953, he bought a small rundown transport company just out of Te Puke and in 1963 he and 5 other operators formed Te Puke Transport. He eventually took over the total shareholding of Te Puke Transport and about 5 years later sold the Te Puke end of that company.
In the early 1980s he bought 2 logging trucks with contracts, this was to change his direction again. The stock cartage was sold on and the logging side of the business grew with still a fair amount of general freight until he sold the business. The Road Transport Association recently honoured Bert, after 63 years, with a Life Membership.
The other four inductees were:
Paul Balneaves – Southland
Mervyn Solly – Collingwood, Nelson
Don Wright – Northland/Auckland
Mate Franicevich - Auckland
Derek Dumbar – Southland/Otago/Bay Of Plenty
Full biographies are attached and images can be obtained by visiting www.roadtransporthalloffame.co.nz
South Island sawmill closingSelwyn Sawmills near Hororata in New Zealand is closing due to log shortages, health and safety requirements, and future plans of its owners. Timber Industry Federation Director Kevin Hing said about 28 mills had closed for various reasons over the past seven years, reducing members of the association to 70.
Selwyn Sawmills has operated for 78 years under the ownership of the Halliday family with the shareholding currently held by Mike and Anna Halliday and daughter Janet. Mike Halliday said the business was closing because the 2013 wind storms created a shortage of logs, compounded by Work Safe requirements, and his pending retirement from the business.
“We got in a consultant and the cost to upgrade safety systems would have been too high, but it wouldn’t be fair to say they forced us to close,” he said. The Canterbury wind storms of 2013 were affecting all sawmills and the volume of logs available was roughly one third of local sawmillers’ requirements.
This was exacerbated by sawmills from Southland also competing for logs, as well as more logs being exported, Halliday said. “If we had a guaranteed supply of logs we might have been able to sell it as a going concern.”
There had been about 16 staff at the mill but numbers had been reduced over the year and most had gone to other jobs after the official closure marked by a farewell function a few weeks ago. A small number had been retained on cutting work ahead of plans to sell the machinery and property.
Timber Design Award entries now openEntries are now being accepted for the renowned 2017 NZ Wood-Resene Timber Design Awards, and Stage One entries will close on Friday, 28 October. With a record number of entries received in 2015 and enquiries already coming in, NZ Wood’s Promotion Manager Debbie Fergie is anticipating another record-breaking event.
These awards are the premier space for architects, engineers and others to profile their recent work with locally sourced timber and wood-based products, manufactured in New Zealand. Continued advances in wood processing and engineered wood products to improve timber’s properties, mean this medium is proving to be a sustainable and cost effective alternative to other construction systems.
“Entries must be for projects completed between 1 January 2015 and 28 February 2016, and of course projects must have significant timber content,” says Debbie Fergie. “Our new ‘Innovation in Student Design’ category this year will expand the range of entries even more. Top students from Auckland, Victoria and Canterbury Universities who work with wood have the chance to compete in a prestigious competition that’s been held for over 40 years now – and hopefully to impress potential employers as well!”
Winners will be announced at a gala awards dinner at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland on 9 March 2017. For a full list of entry criteria, and a timeline of entry submissions and judging announcements visit www.nzwood.co.nz.
Buy and Sell
... and one to end the week on....fixing the slice
And on that note, have a great weekend. Cheers.
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