Friday Offcuts 27 July 2018
Click to Subscribe - It's FREE!Wood products announcements and stories dominate this week’s bumper issue. Yesterday, AKD announced that they’re building on their recent acquisitions of the Yarram sawmill (processing 150,000 m3 saw logs per annum) in Victoria and the Caboolture sawmill in Queensland (215,000 m3 logs per annum) from Carter Holt Harvey. An agreement has just been signed with CHH to acquire the company’s New South Wales sawmilling business. This includes the Tumut sawmill (565,000 m3 logs per annum), the Gilmore treatment facility in Tumut, a 50% interest in the Highland Pine Products joint venture in Oberon (600,000 m3 of logs per annum) and a distribution centre in Berkeley Vale. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2018.
This week Sydney-based Linx Cargo Care Group also announced that they plan on buying the Pedersen Group for an undisclosed amount. Linx operates across Australia and New Zealand with its C3 business working in 13 New Zealand ports. The Rotorua-based company, the Pedersen Group, services the Kinleith and Kawerau mills in New Zealand, Norske Skog's pulp mill in New South Wales, the Maryvale paper mill in Melbourne and the Vanua Levu chip plant in Fiji. This deal is expected to be completed in mid-August.
For another Rotorua based mill, Red Stag Timber (1 million logs per annum), they're undertaking a multi-million-dollar energy management project at their Waipa site. You’ll remember that the sawmill recently underwent a major upgrade as part of the company’s NZ$140 million redevelopment. Rather than trucking wood waste offsite to landfill, the company with support from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority has embarked on a project that will enable them to better utilise the 100,000 tonnes of wood residues including bark, sawdust and shavings that are being produced on site.
For local wood producers, the latest issue of WoodTECH.News was also sent out this week. For those that missed this week’s issue covering the very latest news on sawmilling, saw-doctoring and wood manufacturing, you can click on this link which will take you through to the recent issue. If you’d like to subscribe directly to the monthly newsletter (well over 1,000 wood producers around the region are already on the list – and it’s free), you can click on the link supplied.
Finally, this week we’re also covering a story of a young forestry contractor in Australia. He’s taken the rare stand of posting his own heart-felt video on social media. The topic’s one that’s not easy to broach or address, violence against women. The hope was that the posting and subsequent media exposure would help all of us to take notice and perhaps, make change. It appears to certainly have struck a chord. Sexist language and inappropriate comments often being made out in the workplace he says is contributing to an unsafe culture – both in society and in our own workplaces. A respectful culture he argues is a safe culture. In recognition of his positive stand, FWPA has just offered him a spot in their next regional leadership programme. Take a look at the video – and if it does strike a chord, pass it on. That’s it for this week. Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
AKD to acquire CHH NSW sawmilling businessIntegrated Australian forestry and timber processing company, Associated Kiln Driers (AKD) is pleased to confirm that it has signed an agreement with Carter Holt Harvey (CHH) to acquire all of the shares of Carter Holt Harvey Timber Pty Ltd (CHHT). CHHT owns CHH’s New South Wales sawmilling business.
The major assets of the business comprise the Tumut sawmill and Gilmore treatment facility in Tumut, a 50% interest in the Highland Pine Products (HPP) joint venture in Oberon and a distribution centre in Berkeley Vale.
The Tumut sawmill processes approximately 565,000 m3 of sawlogs and produces a range of predominantly structural products primarily for supply in NSW. The Gilmore treatment facility is a value adding site located in close proximity to the Tumut sawmill. HPP processes approximately 600,000 m3 of sawlog, producing a range of timber products.
AKD currently processes over 1,000,000 m3 of sawlog across its Colac, Caboolture and Yarram sawmills and has over 600 employees. Commenting on the proposed acquisition, AKD’s Chief Executive Officer, Shane Vicary said, “the acquisition represents an excellent fit with AKD’s existing operations in Victoria and Queensland and is consistent with AKD’s strategy of operating high quality, well-located sawmills”.
“We are very enthusiastic about the acquisition and look forward to working with the existing CHHT employees and providing all AKD employees with enhanced opportunities across the wider AKD group as a result of this transaction”. Completion of the transaction is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Source: AKD Softwoods
Linx Cargo Care to buy Pedersen GroupSydney-based Linx Cargo Care Group is planning to buy wood processor Pedersen Group for an undisclosed amount. The two have entered into a conditional purchase agreement and expect the deal to be completed in mid-August, Linx said in a statement.
Rotorua-based Pedersen, owned by private equity firm Maui Capital, services the Kinleith and Kawerau mills in New Zealand, Norske Skog's pulp mill in New South Wales, the Maryvale paper mill in Melbourne and the Vanua Levu chip plant in Fiji.
The companies wouldn't comment on the purchase price but in the year ended March 31, 2017, a Maui company valued its 64 percent stake in Pedersen at $23.6 million, accounts filed to the Companies Office show. That implies a value of $36.9 million for the whole company at the time.
Linx operates across Australia and New Zealand. Its C3 business specialises in forestry logistics and operates in 13 ports in New Zealand and has an existing joint venture with Pedersen for wood yard management. Pedersen Group will continue to operate independently under the Pedersen brand following the completion of the acquisition, and all 140 Pedersen employees will be retained by the new owner, the companies said.
"The acquisition of Pedersen Group by Linx Cargo Care Group will provide long-term stability for our employees and customers, and the operational and financial capacity to allow our business to pursue its growth aspirations," Pedersen Group chief executive Gavin Hudson said.
Anthony Jones, group chief executive for Linx and chair of C3, said the acquisition would help Linx improve its services to forest owners and wood processing businesses and extend its global reach.
Upgrading your Wood Manufacturing plantThe focus for the September WoodTECH 2018 series is on new technology – new and innovative tools, technologies and practices that can be used by local wood manufacturing and dry-mill operations to improve their operating efficiencies. A raft of new innovations will be presented by leading tech providers from around Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, Slovakia, Sweden, Italy and Germany as part of the upcoming series.
A key part of the series is also on practical applications that can be adopted by companies without major capital investment in new plant. “These discussions are aimed principally at production and operational staff” says Brent Apthorp, FIEA Director. “It worked really well last year with sawmilling companies where production teams were able to come through to the event, participate and learn from the gathered expertise – and from each other”.
This year we have a one-hour workshop which will be part of the programme in both New Zealand and Australia titled "Breathing new Life into your Old Planer". It’s being run by Doug Knous, Upgrades and Conversions Manager with USNR.
The newly developed Upgrades Group is providing the company’s customers with equipment upgrade solutions for their sawmill, planer mill, EWP and kiln drying operations. Doug himself has had over 30 years in the wood products industry, including 10 years in mill operations, 5 years in electrical systems and 15 years in controls engineering, project design, management and implementation.
In addition to timber machining, European and North American experts have been brought in to provide local mills with advice around finger-jointing, timber gluing, kiln drying and material handling operations. Full details on the event can be found on the website.
Foresters are friendly and responsible“That’s good news – and I need some good news,” laughed Tumut, NSW, nature photographer Robyn MacRae who heard she had won the Responsible Wood photo contest just days after she fell from her snow board at the Mount Selwyn ski resort. Recovering from her knee injury, Robyn says it won’t be long before she is back taking photographs of her favourite subjects of inspiration – trees.
“Most of my work is in the wonderful forests around Tumut, especially the inspiring stands of alpine ash which set the tone for my images.” Robyn MacRae’s entry – Early Morning in the Bago Forest – gave her a second win in the contest, which includes a $500 gift voucher. “Early mornings are the best time to take my photographs – and there’s no better time to be among the silent giants that grow there in the winter mist,” she said.
Responsible Wood’s nation-wide photo contest, part of a PEFC worldwide initiative, was aimed at further raising awareness of the importance of sustainable forest management and certiﬁcation. The competition, which ran from Earth Day April 22 to World Environment Day June 5, attracted many entries from across Australia.
Using her favourite Cannon 5D (“I’m camera shy and prefer to work behind the camera”) Robyn has an assignment to take photos of harvesting, planting and nursery operations for the NSW Forestry Corporation to build on the corporation’s photo library and information resource. “This is a wonderful opportunity to see the diverse range of roles people play in growing and harvesting sustainable forests,” Robyn said.
A teacher in design and technology at the Riverina Institute TAFE and married to forest radio manager at the Forestry Corporation Peter MacRea, Robyn says forestry ﬁeld workers are among the friendliest and most responsible people she has met. The Bago state forest is incredibly diverse covering the native alpine ash forests of the Bago Plateau, through historic plantation stands dating back to the 1920s and a large area of commercial radiata plantations.
Photo: Responsible Wood photo contest winner Robyn MacRea
Source: Responsible Wood
Mill turning $1m loss into $500,000 profitThe Red Stag Timber Company, which annually processes more than one million tonnes of logs at its Waipa mill, is using its waste wood as renewable fuel rather than trucking it to landfill and paying for its disposal – avoiding an annual power bill of up to NZ$1 million in the process.
Although the mill, considered one of the largest of its kind in the world, uses the power for its own purposes, the 7.5 megawatts of electricity produced is equivalent to the amount needed to power 7000 households, according to the company’s operations manager of energy and site services Shane Batchelor.
With the average New Zealand home containing 2.7 people this would be enough for a town of about 19,000 like Whakatane. At the same time by using its waste wood as fuel instead of purchasing electricity, Red Stag is expecting to reduce carbon emissions by 6100 tonnes every year, an amount equivalent to taking more than 2200 cars off the road.
Mr Batchelor says the multi-million dollar “carbon neutral” energy management project – made possible by the site’s biomass-powered turbines – will lead to an annual NZ$1m of power savings for the company. Because the new process is generating more electricity than the plant needs at some off-peak times and on weekends, it is selling its surplus back to the national grid.
“We should be able to turn that NZ$1m loss into income of about $500,000 per year,” Mr Batchelor said. The bio-fuel project, which supplies the electricity and thermal energy to kiln dry timber, has been supported by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). The authority, which funded a feasibility study into the opportunity, says Red Stag’s second biomass-powered turbine could really close the loop on their waste-to-energy program and define their independent status as an energy efficient and low carbon business.
Mr Batchelor says the plant annually produces around 100,000 tonnes of wood residue including bark, sawdust and shavings from the mill’s planers. Previously this waste was transported at both environmental and financial cost to landfill although some was also used at the Tasman Pulp and Paper Mill and by farmers for animal bedding.
The project has gathered momentum following the June commissioning of the mill’s new turbine and comes little more than a year since Red Stag completed a NZ$60 million upgrade to a new sawmilling line, part of a $140 m upgrade program.
This turned the mill into the southern hemisphere’s first “super mill” – a term the industry uses in recognition of a plant processing more than one million tonnes of logs a year. While there are a number of similar mills in North America and Europe, the Red Stag operation – which employs over 300 people and annually produces more than 500,000 cubic metres of timber – is the first in this part of the world.
Mr Batchelor says the bio-fuel project is consistent with Red Stag’s philosophy of not only seeking energy efficiencies but creating a better environment and product. “It is the result of the company dreaming about what is possible,” he said.
Source: NZ Herald
Forestry contractor speaks out against current behaviourJakson Elfring, from Hazelwood, south-east of Melbourne, has posted a Video on social media telling men to have more respect for women, after he and his partner noticed a string of sexual assaults being reported on the news.
"I thought about it for a couple of hours," Mr Elfring said. "This is something I should actually talk about to try and make a change." A diesel mechanic in the forestry industry, Mr Elfring said he often pulled up his colleagues and mates for using sexist language or for making inappropriate comments.
"It's not just about having a laugh. There are a lot of people that probably are affected by it that don't feel they have a voice and can't say something," he said. In his Facebook video, which has been shared thousands of times, Mr Elfring draws the link between language used in society and the culture that contributes to violence against women.
"The rape culture here in Australia is shocking," he says. "It starts with a joke at work or it could be a text message, or something you tag your mate in on Facebook." Becoming emotional in the video, Mr Elfring said he believes respect for women starts at home. "Have respect for your mum, that's a good start," he said.
"If you have respect for your mum, you are guaranteed a lifetime of constant support and unconditional love, you really are." He goes on to bluntly say men need to understand sexual consent. "Three of the easiest words you can live by: No means no. That's not hard to understand,"
Mr Elfring said. "If you can't live by that, there's something wrong with you." Mr Elfring has received a huge outpouring of support on Facebook. "It's been good, but I think a lot of people appreciate it too," he said. "I've had a lot of messages from people, women in particular, just to say thanks."
He told ABC Radio while he was surprised the video had gained such huge traction, he hoped it would help to make change, and he would now focus on raising his two young sons to be respectful.
"If me and my partner set our boys up properly, growing up to have the life skills and the respect to be able to conduct themselves, if we can teach our boys that then we've done a pretty good job," Mr Elfring said.
"All I can say to young blokes like myself — and this probably sounds a little bit silly — at home we have a lot of Dr Seuss books and one of the Dr Seuss quotes is 'So open your mouth lad, for every voice counts'."
Source: ABC News
Nominations sought for Richard Stanton Memorial AwardThis is the fourth year of the award which pays tribute to a man who devoted his life to sustainable forest management in Australia and internationally.
Richard Stanton was CEO and national secretary of Australian Forestry Standard Ltd (now Responsible Wood) and had a number of key roles with the Australian Plantation Products and Paper Industry Council, the Australian Paper Industry Council, Plantation Timber Association of Australia, National Association of Forest Industries, and State Forests NSW.
Nominations for the award are open to individuals who have contributed significantly to either forest management or chain-of-custody certification under the Responsible Wood certification program. The award nominees will be those who have contributed to sustainable forest management under AS4708 or chain of custody under AS4707.
The award is open to, but not restricted to, forest owners and managers; chain-of-custody certificate holders; staff of certification bodies; forest scientists and researchers; and designers of products manufactured from sustainable timber. The award also carries a $2000 bursary prize.
Applicants for the award will have demonstrated excellence in the following areas:
- A significant and valuable contribution to sustainability.
- Innovation, improvement or excellence in forest management or chain of custody certification.
- A strong commitment to the Responsible Wood certification scheme and sustainable forest management.
- Innovation and improvement in the promotion and marketing of Responsible Wood certified products
The selection of the successful applicant will be made by the Responsible Wood marketing committee and announced at the annual general meeting in Brisbane on October 23. Nominations for the award close on October 5, 2018.
Nominations can be forwarded to: Responsible Wood, PO Box 786, New Farm, Q 4005. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Responsible Wood
Replanting on steep land being questionedThe NZ forestry industry has been told to rely on growing trees to capture carbon dioxide, rather than cutting them for timber, to earn money from forests on steep hillsides. But the industry says it's uneconomic, as profits will drop.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has made the recommendation following controversy over the dangers of harvesting timber on steep slopes.
Four people have been killed so far this year in forestry accidents, the latest in hill country near Nelson. WorkSafe said New Zealand needed to start thinking about leaving steep hillsides bare after harvesting, to avoid a new set of safety problems when the next crop was cut down in future.
However, Forest Owners Association president Peter Weir said some East Coast forest schemes had a legal requirement to re-plant pine trees after harvest. Foresters could also incur a huge financial penalty under climate change legislation if they did not replant.
"The landowner faces a hefty deforestation liability - typically 800 tonnes [of carbon dioxide] per hectare," Mr Weir said. "And at the prevailing price of $20 a tonne, that is $16,000 per hectare."
Mr Weir wrote to MPI asking for an exemption to deforestation penalties when trees were not replanted on steep slopes. But in response, the ministry said it didn't think a blanket exemption was the solution.
Instead, MPI recommended planting different species of trees and using carbon sequestration - a process involving capturing and storing carbon - for commercial benefit. This would mean forestry companies would profit from the tree growing and absorbing carbon dioxide, rather than from selling timber.
However, the forestry industry said current prices were too low, so growing trees for carbon sequestration was completely uneconomic.
In a radio interview this week Forest Owners Association President Peter Weir says landowners are worried that any decision not to replant trees in dangerous terrain will see them penalised for not meeting environmental regulations. The interview can be heard by clicking here
Ngai Tahu planting million native treesNgai Tahu is planting a million native trees in New Zealand and converting some of its farms to horticulture as part of its strategy to deal with climate change. And it’s also publicly throwing its weight behind a group of businesses pledging to cut emissions.
Ngai Tahu Holdings, which manages the iwi’s NZ$1.8 billion worth of assets, is one of 60 companies in the Climate Leaders’ Coalition unveiled last week. Chief executive Mike Sang says that while the organisation doesn’t usually like taking public stands, climate change is too big not to. “We don’t normally like being in the public space at all,” he told Carbon News. “We really like doing our own business and talking about what we’re doing with the iwi rather than more publicly or broadly.
“But this has just become so important and the timing has become so critical. We are connected to Business New Zealand, we are connected to a lot of these guys in a lot of different ways, so when they’re saying we want to do this collaboratively and collectively work together, then I think it’s important that we support what they’re trying to achieve, especially when you bear in mind what we’re trying to achieve.”
What Ngai Tahu Holdings is trying to achieve is sustainable businesses, in areas it loves, that will last for centuries, Sang says. Ngai Tahu is working to future-proof its businesses – especially its farms. The iwi owns 100,000 hectares of land. Half is in forestry, just over 30,000ha is high-country farmland and the rest is North Canterbury farmland.
Sang says the iwi is constantly looking for better ways to use the land, and climate change plays a big part in influencing its decisions. “Sustainability and climate change are central to our focus at the moment, and we see it as the key issue for the country,” he said. The iwi is planting orchards on some of its farmlands and is experimenting with blueberries. It is also planting a million native trees, which will help to sequester carbon and provide habitat for native birds.
Source: Carbon News 2018
Pros and cons for forestry investment changesChanges coming through from the NZ Government on overseas investment in forestry have pros and cons, says Christina Lefever, a special council with law firm Duncan Cotterill.
Forestry cutting rights are being brought under the overseas investment regime but they are making processes more straightforward, Lefever told Rural News. Currently overseas investors wanting to acquire freehold or leasehold interest in forestry land are screened but overseas investment in forestry rights is not.
Some changes to simplify forestry investment were made by ministerial directive to the Overseas Invest Office (OIO) in December but most of the changes will be made through the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, she says.
The Government has brought forestry rights under the overseas investment regime whereas previously they were excluded, Lefever says. “Forestry rights will be brought under the OIO regime but they are introducing more streamlined tests to make overseas investment more straightforward for overseas buyers,” Lefever says. One of those is the counter-factual test – where the investment is compared with a hypothetical New Zealand purchaser that may or may not exist.
“They have eased up the counter-factual test for overseas buyers buying up bare land to plant new forest. Their investment will be compared with the current land use. There will be no requirement to essentially compare their investment against some possibly hypothetical NZ purchaser who might also plant a forest.
“For an overseas buyer who is looking to purchase an existing forest that will look at the current rules on that forestry investment, whether there are supply arrangements in place with New Zealander’s whether there are environmental protections currently in place on specific areas of the land, and whether the overseas investor is willing to commit to retaining all those arrangements; then in itself that will be enough.
“There will probably be a requirement to commit to replanting on harvest as well. But over and above that they don’t need to show some benefit above what any other forestry owner might actually do. That can be difficult to demonstrate when you are buying existing trees that will keep on growing regardless of who owns them.” Lefever says the Government’s announcement that the Overseas Investment Act would be amended to cut out red tape is a positive signal to potential investors.
Forestry Owners Association president Peter Weir says though he still can’t see the point of including cutting rights in the scope of the OIO, the deepest objection to the working of the OIO seems to have been removed. “We will welcome a more efficient OIO processing system,” Weir says.
“Forest Owners said when the Billion Trees in Ten Years Government target was formulated during the coalition negotiations that it would be very difficult to achieve that many trees planted if there were onerous obstacles to overseas investment imposed at the same time.
“Our industry as it is will be planting half of the total but to get to the billion trees New Zealand will need a lot of additional land, labour and investment. Investors are very sensitive to market signals, and quite frankly the Government signals have been mixed over the past few months.”
Code changes leading to increased timber constructionBy now, the Australian construction industry has recognised that sustainability concerns are here to stay. Below is an excellent summary from Architecture & Design on recent changes to the Australian Building Codes and how this has led the move towards mid-rise timber construction.
In 2016, in response to mounting concerns about the environmental impacts of contemporary construction practices, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) announced a number of landmark changes to the National Construction Code (NCC). Arguably one of the most critical components of the revised NCC is the recognition of timber as a viable, code-compliant construction material for midrise buildings.
Per the revised NCC, buildings in construction classes 2, 3, and 5 and up to 25 metres – effectively, 8 storeys – high can now be constructed from lightweight and massive (i.e. CLT) timber. The code changes directly impact apartments, hotels, and offices, and are a major step towards more sustainable building forms and practices.
The changes came as the result of a two-year consultation process spearheaded by Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA), and opened up new possibilities for meeting growing demands for urban density while minimising negative environmental impacts.
Timber’s strong sustainability credentials and unique ability to sequester carbon have facilitated new scope for Australian designers to construct mid-rise buildings using an environmentally responsible material and are paired with notable cost efficiency. WoodSolutions estimates that savings of up to 25% can be achieved for timber constructions, provided the appropriate building design principles are followed.
The move towards mid-rise timber construction reflects the ongoing issues of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, both of which remain topical in Australian construction. The code changes are a timely response to growing industry demand for construction materials and methodologies that reduce carbon footprints without sacrificing performance or compliance with national codes and regulations.
Timber construction excels in this regard: an average 50% of the weight of any timber member is comprised of stored carbon, and timber is renowned for its strength, durability, and longevity. Following the 2016 amendments to the NCC, it is also now recognised as a realistic solution for meeting the environmental demands of contemporary construction.
Beyond this, the green light for timber construction on mid-rise projects is a leap toward a more economically sustainable, cost efficient construction culture. According to research conducted by WoodSolutions, timber construction can reduce the total cost of residential construction projects by up to 15%. Other sources echo this sentiment, noting that CLT in particular can offer savings of up to 10 to 12% in comparison with traditional construction materials.
The effects of the code changes have been far-reaching. Primarily, the changes have sparked a much-needed nationwide discussion about the role of timber in the construction industry and have legitimised timber solutions on a large scale. Across the country, novel solutions such as Wood Encouragement Policies are gaining ground as the industry attempts to entice governing bodies to increase their forestry production and funnel the yield of this into new construction.
The first Wood Encouragement Policy (WEP) was passed in December 2014 by La Trobe City Council in Melbourne. At present, 2 Local Government Authorities, 15 Local Councils and 1 state (Tasmania) have adopted WEPs. The policy encouraged local design and construction professionals to recognise the potential of timber construction to deliver faster, cheaper, and more efficient buildings and pledged to commit more resources to ensuring a lively local forestry industry. It is hoped that similar policies will become commonplace across Australia in the near future.
To learn more about the code changes and for more information about their practical implications, explore the extensive WoodSolutions library of technical resources and guides.
VAFI Annual Dinner - Tickets on Sale Now!Tickets are now on sale for the VAFI Annual Industry Dinner 2018. This year the dinner is being held on Friday, 19 October at the RACV City Club Melbourne. The 2018 VAFI Annual Industry Dinner is the key event for the timber and forestry industry in Victoria. The dinner brings together some 250 key stakeholders in the timber community for a night of networking.
This year the dinner is an ‘Election Special’, where you will hear from the decision makers themselves and get the opportunity to ask them the questions you want to ask. This is your chance to have your say before the election. The VAFI Annual Industry Dinner is a true celebration of this industry and its people. It is a chance to get together and have a night of fun, and our chance to acknowledge the hard work of our members, and the wider industry.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.vafi.org.au. Please contact the VAFI office on 03 9611 9000 or email@example.com for any assistance. (Please note you will not receive physical tickets for the event, once tickets are booked all you have to do is turn up on the night).
Source: VAFI The News Mill
Buy and Sell
.... and one to end the week on .... Irish Confession
I went into the confessional box after many years of being away from the Catholic Church.
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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