Friday Offcuts – 23 September 2022

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We’ve got more on electric log trucks this week. We covered the initial announcement a couple of weeks ago but we’ve included further details on the conversion being planned by the Australian log harvest and haulage company, Fennell Forestry. They’re switching one of their diesel-powered prime movers to run with a fully electric battery operating system. The Mount Gambier based company has commissioned the electric log truck, the first of its type for Australia and only the second conversion in the world.

What’s expected? Well, when fully operational in October 2022 they’re looking at 4 hours for full battery recharge using the newly established on-site charging station or if using the swap-and-go” battery system, it will require the truck to be stationary for less than five minutes (as much time as it would take to fill the truck with diesel). A 400-500km indicative battery range is expected, depending on the type of operation and it will have 720 horsepower, rated to meet the GCM requirements of Fennell Forestry B-Doubles. This move to fossil- free transport is also reinforced by another announcement by Volvo Trucks this week where they’re predicting that by 2030, at least 50% of the trucks they’ll be selling globally are going to be electric. Further information on these announcements can be read below.

Biofuels have also made the headlines again. In Europe, despite growing public opposition, the European Parliament voted last week not to declassify woody biomass as renewable energy. The EU likely renewed its commitment to burning wood as a source of energy largely to help meet its target of cutting EU carbon emissions by 55% by 2030, something it probably wouldn’t have been able to achieve without woody biomass. The Ukraine conflict and Russian threats to cut off natural gas supplies this winter most likely also had a major bearing on the decision. There are restrictions on the source of biomass being drawn from natural forests and subsidies being paid, based on wood source, for pellet production. In NZ, a new interest group Don’t Burn Our Future has been set up with a stated aim of stopping the country’s biofuel mandate for land transport expected to be introduced from April 2023. Details on both stories are contained in this week’s issue.

For those of you in mass timber construction, a reminder that the annual WoodWorks 2022 conference and site tours will be running in Rotorua, New Zealand on 8-9 November. Already we are seeing very strong interest from leading architectural, design, specification and construction management companies who’ve been registering groups of their managers to attend.

Our final event for the year is the ForestTECH 2022 series. For younger foresters looking to attend the NZ event, a number of complimentary registrations ("first in-first served") are now available. This special arrangement has been set up between the Forest Industry Engineering Association and the WIDE Trust and it’s designed to enable students or recent graduates with an interest in forest inventory of tree establishment to attend. Details are contained in the story below. And that’s all for this week.

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Committee recommends plantation expansion

An Upper House committee recommended that the NSW government immediately act on expanding both hardwood and softwood timber plantations across the state. The Long Term Sustainability and Future of the Timber and Forest Products Industry inquiry also recommended the state government publicly release and respond to the findings of a leaked Natural Resources Commission's report that demanded a halt to native forestry by the end of 2022.

Other recommendations include providing long-term support to forestry workers during the transition away from native forestry. The inquiry held sessions at Moruya, Coffs Harbour, and Tumut, and received 234 submissions from a wide range of industry experts, academics, and community members.

In its findings, the inquiry committee found the demand for timber and forest products could not "be met with existing supply". Builders have been crying out about supply shortages for more than a year and now a NSW parliamentary committee has spelled it out in black and white. "The demand for timber and forest products is growing and cannot be met with existing supply," committee chair Mark Banasiak said in the committee's report.

The committee heard mixed opinions during public hearings, but Mr Banasiak said it was clear the state was heading towards a timber supply crisis. The Black Summer bushfires wiped out native hardwood plantations and the pandemic also impacted supply, but he said these were not the main contributors to the crisis.

"The timber and forest product industry has suffered from a lack of longer-term vision over successive governments to address supply issues, industry needs and community expectations. The impact of this cannot be overstated."

Mr Banasiak said urgent action was desperately needed and encouraged the government to read the report's 24 recommendations. The report found the demand for forestry products was growing and could not be met with existing supply. It also found there had been no increase in additional plantations over the past decade.

The Nature Conservation Council supported a recommendation to expand timber plantations as long as they did not encroach on native forests or productive farms. Chief executive Jacqui Mumford said transitioning from native forestry to plantation logging would be a win for nature and industry.

Australian Forest Products Association NSW chief executive Victor Violante said the state couldn't afford to lose any more hardwood timber. "It would result in significant cost and supply chain impacts for the housing construction sector and a range of other industries that rely on hardwood timber products," he said. Imported products would also be sourced from places where environmental standards were lower and deforestation and illegal logging posed greater threats, he added.

The government has three months to respond to the report.

For further coverage of The Long-Term Sustainability and Future of the Timber and Forest Products Industry inquiry, click here

Source: AAP, ABC

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World’s 2nd electric log truck for Fennell Forestry

As a follow up to the local electric log truck story that we ran in the 9 September issue, we've built in more information this week on Fennell Forestry who're taking the crucial first step towards decarbonising Australia’s heavy vehicle transport industry.

The Mount Gambier based harvest and haulage company has commissioned the world’s second ever electric log truck, in the hope of providing a realistic carbon-zero solution for the industry.

Transport is Australia’s second highest contributor to carbon emissions. A single diesel-powered log truck produces in excess of 500 tonnes of carbon every year. Converting to an electric engine and battery system will slash this number to zero. And when recharging using renewable energy, the environmental dividends will be even greater.

Fennell Forestry Managing Director Wendy Fennell said the truck – the first of its kind in the country - was the cornerstone of a research and findings trial in the lead-up to Federal Government’s 2030 emissions reduction targets.

“We’re taking the pivotal first steps in trialling this carbon reducing technology on behalf of the Australian heavy vehicle transport industry,” she said. “Decarbonising our industry won’t happen overnight. We need to start trialling this technology now so we have time to consider the best options for each application”.

“From here, we can properly asses what is a realistic solution and provide some answers to help the industry meet emission targets.” Ms Fennell said work was currently underway to convert the once diesel-powered prime mover to a fully electric battery operating system, using Australian technology, innovation and workmanship.

It expected to be operational in October 2022. “The truck is currently with Janus Electric, an Australian company that understands our heavy vehicle transport requirements and gross combination mass (GCM) that is higher than our American and European counterparts,” she said.

About Australia’s first electric log truck:

- 100% carbon zero when recharged using renewable energy.

- Existing vehicle conversion. Battery charging technology and operating system installed on an existing truck, allowing reuse of the Kenworth prime mover chassis, axles and suspensions required for Fennell Forestry transport operations.

- 4 hours for full battery recharge, using the newly established on-site charging station.

- Swap-and-go” battery system, which requires the truck to be stationary for less than five minutes.

- 400-500km indicative battery range, dependent on operation type.

- Low engine running temperature 40 degrees less than regular diesel engines.

- 720 horsepower and rated to meet the GCM requirements of Fennell Forestry B-Doubles.

Photo: Concept image: How Australia’s first electric log truck is expected to look, complete with battery pack below the cab. Image supplied courtesy of Fennell Forestry

Source: Fennell Forestry

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Another unique opportunity for young foresters

This new opportunity comes with a free conference registration – up to about eight of them in fact for – for this year’s ForestTECH 2022 event running in Rotorua, New Zealand on 15-16 November 2022. The Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) has teamed up with the WIDE Trust, a charitable Trust formed in 2018 that supports the development and education in New Zealand’s forestry and wood industry sectors.

What’s being offered? To help out younger employees, recent graduates and new entrants into the industry, this new arrangement will enable up to eight young employees, recent graduates or students to attend the upcoming ForestTECH 2022 event in New Zealand with all major conference expenses being paid.

The event is the eagerly awaited tech update set up for resource managers, remote sensing and data capture specialists, foresters involved in GIS & mapping and all those involved in forest inventory, tree crop, silvicultural operations and forest establishment.

So, as well as the opportunity of learning about new technology, staying abreast with the very latest in research and operating practices, learning about emerging technologies (within and outside our own industry), you’ll be able to network with senior management, tech providers and your counterparts from across the country. Now that’s an offer just too good not to look at further.

Previous offers for tech events earlier in 2022 have been snapped up. Details for the event can be found on the event website,

Conditions: Applicants for the complimentary places for the NZ leg of the ForestTECH 2022 series have to be actively employed within the forestry or wood products industries or in a recognised training scheme, apprenticeship or course. The places are available only to those that haven't yet registered to attend the conference. And, to ensure the package is targeting the right person, the applicants should also be 35 years or younger.

What do I do if interested? Places will be filled on a first in-first served basis, provided the eligibility criteria have been met. So, if keen on picking up one of these complimentary available spaces for the upcoming ForestTECH 2022 event, please make contact with

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Europeans back 45% renewable energy goal

The European Parliament voted on Wednesday (14 September) in favour of a 45% target for renewable energy in the EU’s energy mix by 2030, paving the way for negotiations with the 27 member states to finalise the text before the end of the year.

Russia’s war in Ukraine is “a war on our energy, a war on our economy, a war on our values and a war on our future”. Those words were those of Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission President who was addressing Parliament on Wednesday in her annual State of the Union speech.

And MEPs apparently took note. With 418 votes in favour, 109 against and 111 abstentions, the Parliament adopted a new revision of the 2018 directive on renewable energies, part of EU plans presented last year aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% before the end of the decade.

If this new objective is confirmed by EU member states in upcoming talks with Parliament later this year, the EU will have to achieve a 45% share of renewables in its overall energy mix by 2030 – more than double the current rate of 22%.

The Greens and The Left tried pushing for an even higher renewable target of 55-56% by 2030 in order to reach 100% renewables by 2040. But the alliance between the EPP, the centrist Renew Europe and the left-wing S&D ended up prevailing over the reservations of Green MEPs, who nonetheless overwhelmingly voted in favour of the text, unlike the members of The Left.

The radical left was also against maintaining biomass in the definition of renewable energy. MEPs finally supported the inclusion of biomass in the EU’s renewable energy mix but at a level that should not exceed the average recorded in 2017-2022, bearing in mind that bioenergy represents almost 60% of the EU’s renewable energy sources.

And while the Parliament text introduces a progressive phase down of biomass, it does not indicate an end date, which did not satisfy environmentalists and the left, who called for a complete phase out by 2030.

“What many of you are proposing is to continue to burn forests for the sake of the climate,” Marie Toussaint, a French Green/EFA MEP, told the Parliament. Still, the text supports an end to subsidies for biomass used in power plants, as well as the exclusion of palm oil and soya from transport biofuels.

The three largest political groups in the European Parliament have backed proposals to end subsidies for biomass used in power plants and exclude primary wood burning from the EU’s renewable energy targets.

More >>

For further coverage on the the European Parliament vote not to declassify woody biomass as renewable energy, click here

Source: euractiv

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New petition launched for WA native forestry

A new petition WA Parliament E-Petition 22-0024 – Sustainable forest management has been launched asking for a review of the science behind the State Governments claims on native forestry, to understand the costs and benefits of their policy, to examine alternative policy options that could keep the native forest industry alive, and to examine why timber harvesting is treated differently from mining in forests, and land clearing for roads and residential development.

For those in WA a visit to businesses to discuss the WA Governments shut-down of the native forestry and the intent of the petition can be arranged. Timing is short, to coincide with the release of the draft Forest Management Plan in WA under preparation by DBCA. For further details please contact the petitions organiser Gavin Butcher, previous Director or the Forest Products Commission (WA) by email

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Volvo marks series production on heavy-duty EVs

Swedish manufacturer Volvo Trucks is beginning series production of its heavy-duty electric models with global deliveries set to ramp up. And customers in Australia and New Zealand can expect to see the vehicles on local roads in the near future.

Electric versions of the company’s “most important” heavy-duty truck range includes the Volvo FH, FM, and FMX which can operate at a gross combination weight (GCW) of 44 tonnes. The three models represent around two thirds of the company’s sales.

Volvo Trucks is the first global truck manufacturer to begin series production on electric heavy-duty trucks in that weight range. With the new additions, Volvo Trucks has six electric truck models in series production globally which makes it the broadest electric truck line up in the industry.

Volvo Trucks president Roger Alm says the company is “leading the transformation of the industry” through the production milestone. “It’s less than two years ago since we showcased our heavy electric trucks for the very first time. Now we are ramping up volumes and will deliver these trucks to customers all over Europe and later on also to customers in Asia, Australia and Latin America,” Alm says.

Volvo says demand for electric trucks is “rapidly increasing” in many markets, with one driving force being the need for transport buyers to shift to fossil-free transports in order to meet their sustainability goals. Based on Eurostat statistics, Volvo Trucks’ electric portfolio could cover around 45% of all goods transported in Europe today, it says.

The company has sold around 1000 units of its heavy electric trucks and more than 2600 of its electric trucks in total. “We expect volumes to increase significantly in the next few years. By 2030, at least 50% of the trucks we sell globally should be electric,” Alm adds.

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WoodWorks attracts wood construction professionals

Running in early November, the 7th annual WoodWorks mass timber conference is bringing together leaders in engineered wood design and construction from across New Zealand. Mass timber technology developments, including LVL and CLT, prefabrication and connection systems are set to transform commercial buildings.

Strong interest with leading companies from architecture, design, specification and construction management registering groups of their managers to attend. As part of the event, Red Stag Timberlab will be hosting site tours at their cross laminated timber plant on the edge of Whakarewarewa Forest before the conference.

Early adopters to mass timber for commercial and multi-residential buildings have seen advantages including carbon sequestration, build accuracy, early contractor engagement and speed of construction. Now wood’s advantages in creating biophilic environments and long-term sustainability are also helping drive demand.

The WoodWorks 2022 Conference will continue to showcase the practical experiences of a range of building professionals and focuses on completed New Zealand and Australian projects. Each year the event showcases an inspirational wood expert from leading tall timber exemplar building projects overseas.

Registrations for the event can be made on the WoodWorks 2022 event website

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Creative resources to share Timber Framing story

Several weeks ago, we covered the story of the Timber Framing Collective in Australia and how they are introducing a suite of easy-to use creative resources to help share the remarkable green story of Timber Framing.

Timber framing is the ultimate building material. It’s natural, strong and the only framing resource that tackles climate change. Research shows that 78% of consumers want to know about the green credentials of their building material options. So, it’s time to share the remarkable story of timber framing.

The resources are now there – and there is a huge array (brochures, fact sheets, posters, videos. Logos ….) to choose from. Download these resources to complement your own marketing and communications and let’s cascade the message far and wide.

Check out what’s on offer to help your business and the wider industry by clicking here.

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Forestry firefighters preparing for fire season

Forty-two Forestry Corporation of NSW firefighters honed their skills recently in a five-day training camp at Mount Seaview Resort near Wauchope in preparation for the fire season ahead.

Staff from the Mid North Coast, Hunter, Far North Coast & North Coast Forest Protection Areas were trained in essential firefighting skills such as fire behaviour, tactics and strategy, leadership, command, control and communications, and how to operate the range of appliances and equipment used at fires.

The five-day intensive training program is designed to get new recruits nationally qualified as forest firefighters. Other more experienced firefighting staff upgraded their qualifications in Advanced Firefighter and Crew Leader roles. The camp was a mixture of theory and practical exercises to get staff fire-ready for the season ahead, said Forestry Corporation’s Fire Training & Operations Officer, Adrien Thompson. "The camps are essential for developing a skilled and capable workforce for the fire season ahead," Mr Thompson said.

“Our training program is comprehensive and recruits also get the opportunity to learn other skills like using chainsaws, first aid, chemical use and driving 4WD vehicles and tankers when they return to their depots. Safety is always at the top of this list though – our firefighters’ wellbeing is our biggest concern and it all comes back to correct training and procedures.

“We take our firefighting responsibilities incredibly seriously – our training ensures everyone from our most experienced firefighter through to our newest recruits are fit and ready to be deployed to the fire front.

“We also send crews to assist on large bushfires across all tenures within their local areas, interstate and even internationally, so we need to ensure we are at the top of our game. Forestry Corporation is responsible for preventing and managing fires in two million hectares of State forests across NSW.

To find out more about Forestry Corporation’s fire training, view the video here

Source: FCNSW

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New methanol-capable vessel announced

MOVE Logistics Group (MOVE) is going full steam ahead on green coastal shipping solutions for New Zealand with procurement approved and underway for a new methanol-capable vessel. Earlier this year, MOVE successfully secured NZ$10 million in co-investment funds from transport agency Waka Kotahi to support coastal shipping initiatives that improve the competitiveness of domestic coastal shipping, reduce freight sector greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience.

Waka Kotahi has endorsed the proposal by MOVE for its roll-on, roll-off (RORO) vessel design that includes a methanol tank and pipework installation during construction. This ensures the new vessel is ready for the swap-in of carbon- friendly methanol powered engines as they become available.

Executive Director of MOVE, Chris Dunphy says: “MOVE is committed to decarbonisation of freight and logistics activities. Our decision to invest alongside Waka Kotahi demonstrates the very real nature of how a former trucking company can become truly multi-modal and offer resilience to our clients via coastal shipping.”

The new, fit-for-purpose RORO vessel will be able to berth wheeled cargo into at least 13 New Zealand ports, without the need for any new port infrastructure to be built. The vessel will initially operate three sailings a week between Nelson and New Plymouth and provide an additional sea bridge between the North and South Islands.

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Zero-emission seaglider set to transform travel

US aerospace manufacturer Regent has successfully flown its prototype seaglider.

A far cry from all things forestry but for the technology folk out there, thought you’d enjoy this story.

A prototype of the zero-emission “seaglider” touted as having the potential to transform travel around New Zealand has completed its first maiden flight. Part plane, part ferry and part hydrofoil, the fully electric seagliders travel at high speed just above the water’s surface.

Ocean Flyer, a business founded by former banker and Air Napier owner Shah Aslam and former New Zealand Air Force chief John Hamilton, signed a NZ$700 milion deal in April to bring 25 seagliders to New Zealand.

Designed to carry up to 100 passengers at speeds of up to 540km an hour, they will be used to fly people between cities and towns for a fraction of the cost of a typical airline ticket. It is estimated fares between Whangārei and Auckland could be as little as NZ$30 or Christchurch and Wellington from NZ$60.

Aslam said the seagliders could help the Government reach its otherwise “hard to achieve” goal of ensuring New Zealand is carbon-neutral by 2050.

More >>

Source: Stuff

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Opposition to NZ’s transport biofuel mandate

Biofuels – and a broader bioeconomy – are key parts of New Zealand’s recently released first emissions reduction plan, particularly for transport, forestry and a transition to a more circular use of resources.

Work is moving fast, with a biofuel mandate for land transport to be introduced from April 2023 and a plan to transform the forestry industry currently under consultation. A bioeconomy is heralded as an opportunity to replace imported fossil fuels with carbon-neutral domestic biofuels and to create higher-value products from plantation forestry (much of which is currently exported as unprocessed logs) while supporting carbon sequestration at the same time.

New Zealand is not the only country thinking along these lines. Biofuels are part of a widespread strategy to address emissions from existing fossil-fuelled vehicles, tens of millions of which are still being produced annually. They are also promoted for planes, ships and heavy trucks, often with few alternatives.

Both the Inflation Reduction Act, a landmark US law which aims to curb inflation by investing in domestic clean energy production, and the EU’s Fit for 55 package, expand support for biofuels through a combination of subsidies and mandates. In the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s Net Zero scenario, global biofuel production quadruples by 2050, to supply 14% of transport energy.

Unfortunately, a string of government reports, combined with experience of the real-world impacts of biofuels thus far, point to several downsides and challenges, both economic and environmental.

More >>

Source: miragenews

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Pacifica Shipping’s second freight service launched

Pacifica Shipping earlier confirmed the launch date of its second New Zealand coastal freight service beginning this month. The 1300 TEU container vessel MV Takutai Chief began operations on September 19 on a fixed-day weekly service calling Auckland, Lyttelton, Tauranga, and Timaru or Marsden Point on alternating weeks.

It complements the existing New Zealand inter-island domestic freight services provided by the company’s MV Moana Chief. With the two vessels deployed in tandem on the coast, Pacifica Shipping will service Auckland, Lyttelton and Tauranga twice a week on a market-leading three and a half-day frequency.

Line manager Jan-Hendrik Hintz says Pacifica Shipping is now better equipped to meet the growing demand for coastal services. They will provide reliable inter-island domestic freight delivery and increased coverage to regional ports, such as the fortnightly fixed-day call to Timaru, Hintz says.

Chief operating officer Ben Pike says aside from the additional capacity offered, “the increased frequency of port calls will help to smooth the flow of cargo volume through the New Zealand domestic supply chain and take pressure off pack and devan sites. In the long run, we believe that this will contribute to a more resilient and sustainable coastal shipping network,” Pike says.

Source: transporttalk

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... who'd believe it

An elderly couple was celebrating their sixtieth anniversary. The couple had married as childhood sweethearts and had moved back to their old neighbourhood after they retired.

Holding hands, they walked back to their old school. It was not locked, so they entered, and found the old desk they’d shared, where Jerry had carved “I love you, Sally.”

On their way back home, a bag of money fell out of an armoured car, practically landing at their feet. Sally quickly picked it up and, not sure what to do with it, they took it home. There, she counted the money - fifty thousand dollars!

Jerry said, “We’ve got to give it back.”
Sally said, “Finders keepers.” She put the money back in the bag and hid it in their attic.

The next day, two police officers were canvassing the neighbourhood looking for the money, and knocked on their door. “Pardon me, did either of you find a bag that fell out of an armoured car yesterday?”
Sally said, “No”.

Jerry said, “She’s lying. She hid it up in the attic.

Sally said, “Don’t believe him, he’s getting senile” The agents turned to Jerry and began to question him. One said: “Tell us the story from the beginning.”

Jerry said, “Well, when Sally and I were walking home from school yesterday ....” The first police officer turned to his partner and said, “We’re outta here!”

On that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 3 470 1902
Mob: +64 21 227 5177


John Stulen
Editor, WoodWorks
PO Box 1230, Rotorua, 3040
Tel: +64 7 921 1381
Mob: +64 27 275 8011

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

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