British Columbia to allocate $69 million to support provincial forest workers impacted by mill closures
British Columbia government has announced $69 million to fund a new series of measures aimed at supporting provincial forest workers impacted by mill closures and shift reductions in several B.C. Interior communities. The Interior forest industry has been reducing production in an effort to adjust to the end of the mountain pine beetle harvest and the devastating 2017 and 2018 fire seasons.
“The previous government knew that the end of mountain pine beetle harvest would disrupt the lives of forest workers, contractors and communities, but they did little to prepare for this inevitable transition,” said Premier John Horgan. “While the forest sector must reduce surplus milling capacity to remain competitive, it cannot do so at the expense of the workers, contractors and communities who built the industry. Our government will ensure that forest workers impacted by mill closures are supported.”
Premier Horgan and Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, met with the chief executive officers of the major Interior forest companies to set out measures to support forest workers in the months and years ahead. Those measures include:
$40 million to establish a new cost-shared, early-retirement bridging program for older forest workers;
$15 million to establish a new short-term forest employment program, focused on fire prevention and community resiliency projects;
$12 million for workers to access skills training, and for employer and community grants for training;
$2 million to establish a new job placement co-ordination office that will track the transition and employment of impacted forest workers on an individual basis; and
Community support grants aimed at providing short-term assistance to communities more profoundly impacted by the closure of a major forest employer.
“The Province is committed to supporting the people impacted by this change, but we need the forest industry and the federal government to step up and do their part as well,” Donaldson said. “I’m hopeful that the Interior forest sector recognizes that the new industry that will arise from this transition will need skilled, experienced workers to produce new forest products that can compete in global markets.”
Donaldson called on the forest industry to increase supports for impacted workers, ensure key corporate leaders are working on the industry transition and ensure that it does a better job of communicating effectively with affected workers and communities.
“The forest industry and its workers have built the success of the industry and bolstered B.C.’s economy for decades,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “I am pleased that my ministry can help deliver solutions that provide direct and tangible support to workers impacted by current challenges in the forest industry and that will help sustain family-supporting jobs in communities that are home to the industry and its workers.”
“Over the summer, I met with workers, industry and elected officials in many of the Interior communities impacted by permanent and indefinite mill closures. The $69 million our government is providing to support impacted workers and families and enable resilient forest communities is a direct result of my discussions with the people who live and work in these Interior communities,” said Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
“We’re ensuring that impacted forestry workers and their communities have access to retraining and supports they need to assist them with this transition. We’re providing funding for skills training programs and employer and community grants that will give people the new skills they need to prepare for sustainable employment and good family-supporting jobs,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.
“We appreciate the Province recognizing these supportive measures needed for impacted workers as industry adapts to declining timber supply. This funding for workers’ support aligns with our efforts at West Fraser to ensure continuing employment and opportunity for our hard-working employees and their families as industry works together with government on longer-term solutions to our current challenges,” said Ray Ferris, CEO, West Fraser.
“The Public and Private Workers of Canada stands with the provincial government today. In doing so, we recognize the value of what is being offered to the people of rural British Columbia. It was through communication, co-operation and compassion with and for the affected forestry workers and the communities they call home that relief will be forthcoming. We will continue to work to save jobs, but have to be realistic with the situation at hand and help people transition in a changed landscape. This funding announced today is just a start in the effort needed to accomplish this transition,” said Gary Fiege, president, Public and Private Workers of Canada.
“Taking this step to support workers and their families is the right thing for the B.C. government to do. Forestry workers are facing enormous challenges across the Interior right now and we know that with the right supports for these workers and with the right investments by corporations, the forestry sector can rise to meet these challenges and be a vital part of our sustainable future,” Gavin McGarrigle, western regional director, Unifor.
Photo: Honourable Doug Donaldson
Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Softwood lumber trade was up 5% in the first half of 2019 on a worldwide basis, with China reaching record-high imports in the 2Q, reports Wood Resources International in its Wood Resource Quarterly.
Global Softwood Lumber Trade
Demand for lumber in China, the United Kingdom, Egypt and the Netherlands increased this year despite a slowdown in the global economy. Global softwood lumber trade was up just over five percent year-over-year during the first half of 2019.. Of the major importing countries in the world, only Japan and Germany have experienced major declines in imports so far this year. Germany’s lumber imports have fallen 6.1%, while exports have gone up 9.2%. German net exports have increased from approximately 1.5 million m3 the first six months of 2018 to two million m3 during the same period in 2019.
Lumber markets – North America
Lumber demand in the US has not recovered as fast as many market observers predicted in 2018. Housing starts, which are the major lumber end-use sector, were hovering between 1.2 and 1.3 million starts annualized during the first half of 2019. This was slightly lower than during the same period in 2018. Lumber production in Canada from January to May 2019 was nine percent lower than it was in same period in 2018. Most of the decline came from British Columbia, where production was down 16.5%.
Lumber markets – China
China imported almost eight million m3 of softwood lumber in the 2Q 2019, a new quarterly high. Russian deliveries reached almost five million m3, a 39% increase from the 1Q 2019 and 15% higher than in the 2Q 2018. The Nordic countries have steadily expanded their shipments to China over the past year and were the third largest suppliers behind Russia and Canada in the 2Q 2019.
Import prices have trended downward for the past 18 months and in June hit their lowest levels since early 2016 (read more about lumber prices in the latest issue of the WRQ).
Lumber markets – MENA
Softwood lumber imports to the Middle East and Northern Africa (the MENA region) were up three percent year-over-year in 2018. This increase came after import volumes in 2017 reached their lowest level in ten years. Decreased activity in the housing sector, political instability and financial turmoil reduced the demand for wood products in 2016 and 2017. However, with economic growth rebounding in 2018 and the outlook being for continued expansion in the region over the next few years, consumption of softwood lumber is on the upswing. The increased import demand continued in the 1Q 2019 when the two major markets, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, increased their importation by over 50% from the 1Q 2018
Bruks Siwertell has supplied various truck dumpers as well as chippers and other equipment to Douglas Pellets’ network of pellet plants and sawmills in Georgia.
“The contract demonstrates the strength of Bruks Siwertell’s business relationship with Douglas Pellets as a preferred supplier and the trust that it has in our equipment and services,” says Bruks Siwertell Americas Area Sales Manager, Christopher Duffy. “We are delighted that Douglas Pellets has opted to continue this partnership and we hope to support its continued growth in the coming years.”
The new contract calls for Bruks Siwertell to supply a back-on truck dumper with a receiving hopper and dust collector. The system comprises a platform and a set of hydraulic cylinders used to lift the entire truck and allow the free-flowing cargo to dump out of the back of its trailer and into the receiving hopper. The new truck dumper will have the capacity to unload dry peanut hulls at a rate up to 85t/h. Once they have been unloaded the peanut hulls will later be compressed into pellet form.
Controlling dust emissions from handling dry materials is an important concern at such facilities. “Our truck dumper systems are designed to minimize dust emissions by utilizing a covered receiving hopper and dust collection system,” he notes. “The complete system helps Douglas Pellets to protect the environment.”
In addition to the back-on type of truck dumper ordered by Douglas Pellets, Bruks Siwertell’s unique truck unloading portfolio also includes a drive-over version.
“Chip trucks are used throughout North America as an efficient and flexible way to transport pellets, hogged fuel, wood chips and other cargoes,” Mr Duffy explains. “Our truck dumper systems are by far the most effective method for receiving materials and are relied upon throughout the North American wood products industry.”
Bruks Siwertell design, produce and deliver systems for loading, unloading, conveying, storing, and stacking and reclaiming dry bulk materials, alongside equipment for chipping, screening, milling and processing wood for the biofuel, board, saw mill, pulp and paper industries. All equipment is designed to ensure environmentally-friendly and efficient cargo operations.
Siwertell is part of Bruks Siwertell Group.
Ken Upchurch, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Bruks Siwertell Americas tel. +1 770 905 6023 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sales Manager / Engineer – BRUKS Siwertell
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Georgia-Pacific has announced two major investments that will contribute significantly to its facility community in Gurdon, Arkansas, and the region.
Georgia-Pacific is investing $70 million for upgrades to its plywood and lumber operations in the community. The company is also making its largest contribution ever to Gurdon and Clark County schools, committing $100,000 over five years to help install a multi-use playing field that will be used by the three schools and the city for community events. The pair of investments are a great example of GP’s belief that strong communities are good for business and strong businesses reinvest into the community.
What Impact Will $70 Million Make?
In addition to extending the ability to meet the growing needs of customers for lumber and plywood, this investment will increase the mill’s efficiency and capacity, sustaining the more than 700 jobs at the two facilities.
“We are making state of the art improvements that will transform our Gurdon facilities, greatly improving the utilization of raw materials and overall operating efficiencies, making jobs more meaningful, and turning us into an even stronger competitor,” said Mike White, Western Regional Operations Manager.
“This investment is validation of the work, commitment, and loyalty of our employees and the support Gurdon and Clark County have demonstrated for years,” said White, who started as an electrician at the plant when it was built in 1979. “And as any facilities manager will tell you, the quality of the workforce is the critical factor for success. All the latest technology isn’t nearly as important as having the calibre of competent, responsible, conscientious employees we have.”
GP’s investment will have a ripple economic effect in the southern Arkansas region, generating $169 million in overall impact, according to Dr. Gauri Guha, Associate Professor of Economics at Arkansas State University.
Georgia-Pacific is investing $70 million into its Gurdon lumber and plywood operations that will greatly improving utilization of raw materials and overall operating efficiencies.
“Any large investment in an economic sector is amplified by regional economic multipliers due to direct, indirect and induced effects of the expenditures,” Dr. Guha said. “This means a direct investment of $70 million ends up generating an economic value of $169 million within the year.”
In addition to meeting the growing needs of lumber and plywood customers, the investment will increase efficiency and capacity, sustaining the more than 700 jobs across the two Gurdon plants.
Some of the improvements include the install of an advanced merchandiser that determines best end-product use, new panel assembly stations with state-of-the-art scanning systems, an upgraded power plant and software and security enhancements. Work on the projects began earlier this summer and will be completed by 2020.
The Work Doesn’t Stop at the Mills
Georgia-Pacific’s contribution for a $100,000 multi-use playing field provides a setting for students to participate in extra-curricular activities, helping them to expand their social skills– a benefit for finding career opportunities after graduation. This contribution along with the investment into the mill provides a foundation for a solid community that will be ready for the generations to come.
“The Gurdon schools have been such a cooperative, helpful and successful partner in ensuring we have the talented people we need,” said Carrie Wilkins, Regional Human Resources for GP’s Plywood and Lumber divisions. “We want and need them to continue to be successful, so our aim is to contribute meaningfully to our schools every year.”
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Pölky’s Sales Director Mikko Luikku is leaving the company. Pölkky Oy has nominated Ville Liimola as the new Sales Director. Mr. Liimola will start in his new position on 7.1.2020.
Pölkky Oy is the largest private wood processing company in northern Finland. Pölkky Oy uses 1.4 million cubic metres of raw timber annually, across its four sawmills in Finland.
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Derome, Sweden’s largest family-owned timber company, has acquired wood trading company Woody Anderstorp, Derome has announced.
“Anderstorp and its environs is a viable and expansive market which is interesting to us. We are already a major supplier of roof trusses in the region and buy forest raw material from here to our sawmill in Kinnared,” said Johan Winroth, CEO of Derome.
Per Enocson and Victor Svensson, who have been developing and operating Woody Anderstorp since 2012, look forward to running the business under Derome’s management.
“This is positive for our employees and customers. Victor Svensson and me look forward to becoming part of Derome. They have the industry’s best customer concept and logistics, which now benefits the customers,” said Per Enocson.
Photo: Johan Winroth, CEO of Derome.
Building upon the positive momentum of the original launch of TimberMatic™ Maps and TimberManager™, John Deere has announced the expansion of the technology offerings to full-tree equipment, including feller bunchers and skidders. These streamlined software solutions offer loggers enhanced machine visibility and communication for a productive work day.
“The addition of full-tree machines to the TimberMatic Maps and TimberManager offering is an example of how John Deere continues to lead the way in innovation and arm our customers with smart, streamlined solutions to optimize their efforts and ultimately increase productivity,” said Matt Flood ForestSight product manager, John Deere.
TimberMatic Maps and TimberManager provide loggers with the ability to plan work that needs to get done in a day. The map provides the precise location, estimated volume or mass, and up to two species of timber. As timber is moved, operators can update the map for improved team visibility. Loggers can also add items of interest to the digital maps such as points, areas, and lines. These features are shared in real time with all crew members for a better understanding and opportunity to optimize jobsite awareness and production as a system of machines.
One of the biggest feature improvements over the former TimberNavi™ system is the accommodation of all map formats, ranging from a simple map drawn in by hand to an elaborate shape file or PDF file. The design of TimberMatic Maps also allows for standard satellite imagery or topography to be loaded directly through the JDLink™ cellular connection. In addition to a simplified map creation tool, TimberMatic Maps now provides tools for estimated production awareness. With TimberManager, the online, cloud-based solution optimized for mobile devices, owners can create or alter map features and share updates to all machines in real time without the need to visit each machine and operator. Managers can also view jobsite summary data and production efficiencies through TimberManager.
“I’ve seen a big increase in production from basically out of the gate with TimberMatic Maps and TimberManager,” said Thomas Johnson, owner of Thomas Johnson Logging. “It lets me map out, in the machine, the area that I’m working, my job sites, and it counts the stems that the tracked buncher is cutting … It also lets the skidder know where the wood is at on the ground … I don’t have to guess anymore or ask an operator how much wood’s left on the ground — being able to see everything in realtime is a big help.”
The technology system is now available in skidders, wheeled and tracked feller bunchers, wheeled and tracked harvesters, forwarders, and swing machines. Data is collected by the sensors on the equipment, while the location of the production is gathered through the GPS technology. Information is then transmitted to the TimberMatic Maps and TimberManager systems. “[With TimberMatic Maps and TimberManager], the skidder and the feller buncher are working together instead of guessing where each other are at. In a way it adds a safety aspect to it. You can see a lot more [of the job site] without having to walk ahead,” Johnson said.
From the office, managers can access the data from the machines using a PC, tablet or mobile phone and follow the progress of the work site. This solution offers ultimate insight into the operation from land harvested to the machines at work, streamlining communication and increasing efficiency when shift planning. “I can be in a meeting or off-site somewhere and pull up TimberManager on my [cell phone], and see my skidders are here, my buncher is here, and there’s been this much wood dropped off in the landing already today … I know what I have by looking at TimberManager on my phone … It makes my life a lot easier,” said Johnson.
New Forestry Minister Zac Goldsmith MP has a track record of environmental activism and Confor hopes that he will push for rapid increases in tree planting to help tackle the climate emergency.
His new boss, Secretary of State for the Environment, Theresa Villiers MP, has also shown support for tree planting. In a Westminster Hall debate on Forestry in England in January 2018, she said: “A key goal for all of us who recognise the benefits of woods and forests is not just protecting what we have, but planting more trees.”
She went on to express the wish that the private sector should do more to help achieve the long term goal of 12 per cent afforestation in England by 2060.
Confor Chief Executive Stuart Goodall said he hoped for early meetings with both the Secretary of State and the Forestry Minister.
He added: “We very much look forward to working with Theresa Villiers and Zac Goldsmith to continue pushing forestry and wood products up the political agenda. The imperative to plant many more trees – especially productive forestry at scale – is greater than ever. Successive reports from the Committee on Climate Change have identified a vital role for large-scale tree planting in removing atmospheric carbon and mitigating the damaging effects of climate change, while using wood locks up that carbon.”
The letter to Theresa Villiers says: “Confor and its members look forward to working with you to drive up tree planting in England. A significant increase is necessary to meet national targets and make a critical contribution to alleviating the global climate emergency – but it is very achievable through constructive partnership working.”
Mr Goodall said he was especially keen to discuss positive progress made in areas like Northumberland. “There are a number of initiatives coming together which make me confident that with political support, we can really see a step change in planting and woodland management – which would be a positive investment in a cleaner, greener future for the UK,” he said.
“It is also crucial in these meetings to gain further clarity on how funding for forestry will work after Brexit.”
As well as his appointment as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Defra
(Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Mr Goldsmith is a Minister of State at the Department for International Development.
Mr Goodall added: “This is a very interesting combination of portfolios and I hope to raise the issue with Zac Goldsmith of how planting more trees at home can reduce the long-term need for imported timber. We need to do everything we can to stop exporting our forest and carbon footprint.”
Mr Goodall also paid tribute to Michael Gove MP and David Rutley MP.
“Michael Gove really pushed the climate change and environment brief up the political agenda and David Rutley developed a real understanding of the benefits of more tree planting and the greater use of home-grown wood. We worked very closely with him and one of his final ministerial visits was to see forestry and wood processing in Northumberland. We are very keen to work with Defra officials to get Zac Goldsmith on a similar visit soon to start delivering on the real potential of the forestry and timber sector.”
Confor has extended a similar invitation to Theresa Villers.
Photo: New Forestry Minister Zac Goldsmith MP
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This satellite image provided by NASA on Aug. 13, 2019 shows several fires burning in the Brazilian Amazon forest. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, a federal agency monitoring deforestation and wildfires, said the country has seen a record number of wildfires this year, counting 74,155 as of Tuesday, Aug. 20, an 84 percent increase compared to the same period last year. (NASA via AP)
Huge tracts of the Amazon, which serves as the lungs of the planet by taking in carbon dioxide, storing it in soils and producing oxygen, are ablaze. Smoke from the widespread fires has turned day into night in Sao Paulo, and intensified a controversy over the Brazilian government’s land use policies.
The Brazilian Amazon has experienced 74,155 fires since January, according to data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, known by the acronym INPE. That’s an 85 percent increase from last year and significantly higher than the 67,790 blazes since by this point in the year during 2016, when there were severe drought conditions in the region associated with a strong El Niño event.
“There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average,” INPE researcher Alberto Setzer told Reuters. Speaking of the fires, he said, “The dry season creates the favourable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident.”
The fires have covered Sao Paulo in dark smoke, and they are raising concerns that the rainforest, which is one of the most biologically diverse regions on Earth, may be suffering from land-clearing operations and other activities intended to transform the land for agricultural use.
New Zealand’s wood processors say the international log price war and protected overseas economies are crippling the New Zealand trade. The Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association told a meeting in Nelson that distortions in international trade were starting to make it difficult for local processors to be competitive globally.
The industry worked to add value to New Zealand’s raw timber and supported 25,000 jobs nationwide, but it was fighting to survive. The association’s chief executive, Jon Tanner, said the global playing field was tilting less in New Zealand’s favour.
That was because international competitors were playing by a different set of rules. “And all this, we believe, is being caused primarily by subsidies that are being paid out across the world, and that are supporting the industries we are competing with,” Mr Tanner said.
“MFAT (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) likes to call them non-tariff barriers – let’s just call them the covert world of subsidies because they’re really, really, really hard to see.” They were focused on finding ways to tackle the problem, but the elephant in the room was log supply and prices, he said. The global manipulation of pricing was hurting New Zealand processors and timber growers.
The government recently commissioned an inquiry into the log market, which was looking into barriers to fairer international competition. Mr Tanner said it was a good start.
“We’ve certainly made the case for the issue. What officials are doing now is drilling into what we can understand about the sector and what’s supporting it around the world because we really don’t – as a global industry, understand that.”
The government was also working on securing a range of trade agreements, but warned it would not be a quick-fix. The Minister for Trade and for Export Growth, Damien O’Connor said agreements in principle with ASEAN member countries – from South East Asia – were expected to be in place by the end of the year.
“We won’t get all the things we want but if we can get in place rules of trade that all those countries have to adhere to, around e-commerce, around investment and around goods, then we’ll be in a safer space,” Mr O’Connor said.
It’s become a situation that all too many mills are familiar with. Filers are getting older and starting to make retirement plans. Apprentices take time to train and gain experience and, due to a gap in the B.C. filing school program a few years ago, an entire age group of young filers is largely missing. At the same time, tighter margins within the forest industry means efficiency is more important than it has ever been.
So, what is a company to do when skilled sawfilers are hard to come by, but the demand for them has increased? I recently had the pleasure of touring Western Forest Products’ (WFP) central filing room at their Saltair division in Ladysmith, B.C., to see for myself how well their homegrown solution is working for them.
The idea of a centralized filing room servicing several mills is not a new one. It has been a topic of discussion around sawmill lunchrooms for quite a while and, like any unfamiliar concept, there is a lot of scepticism. “Are we going to go from being filers to saw packagers? How can it be cost effective to send saws all over the countryside? What happens when changes in the mill require adjustments to the saws?” These questions and many more are asked, but seldom is there any consensus as to the viability of the idea, so it remains primarily a hypothetical exercise. Until now, that is.
WFP was no stranger to the difficulties in recruiting new filing room staff. When the idea of a new centralized filing room was proposed, Derek Haupt, general manager of manufacturing, was charged with the task of investigating the possibilities. Derek found that WFP had several unique advantages that made the idea of a central filing room not only possible, but preferable to the current system of processing round-saws independently in each division. The fact that their six sawmills and one reman plant are all within 45 minutes of the Saltair mill site is certainly a large key to the viability of a central filing room.
The full article can be read on the latest posting on the WoodTECH.News site.
Robotics, automation and advances being made in saw shop technologies and operating practices designed to improve efficiencies are central to the two-yearly sawmilling event, WoodTECH 2019 that will run in both New Zealand and Australia in just over two weeks’ time. Involved in presenting in these particular sawshop sessions are: Precision Machinery, Canada, Thode Knife & Saw, Canada, Simonds International, USA and Winsaw Mill Services, New Zealand. A large number of exhibitions in each country are planned for each event.
August 2019 saw Port of Tauranga and Tainui Group Holdings (TGH) subsidiary Port Ruakura LP announce a long- term partnership to support the development of the planned Ruakura Inland Port at Hamilton.
The agreement allows Port of Tauranga’s cargo trains running between MetroPort Auckland and Tauranga to service Ruakura Inland Port, giving Waikato-based importers and exporters direct access to fast international shipping services calling at Tauranga. Tauranga is the only port call for the biggest container ships visiting New Zealand.
Port of Tauranga Chief Executive, Mark Cairns, says the planned Ruakura Inland Port offers significant cargo handling capacity and scope to meet future needs. The 480 hectare Ruakura estate has 192 hectares earmarked for logistics and industrial uses including the planned 30 hectare inland port.
“The Ruakura development will provide a highly efficient rail hub in the Waikato by utilising our existing train services linking our MetroPort Auckland inland freight hub with Port of Tauranga, which is New Zealand’s international hub port and the main cargo gateway for the upper North Island,” he says.
“It’s an excellent example of Port of Tauranga’s partnership approach to providing supply chain infrastructure beyond our Bay of Plenty hinterland.”
Tainui Group Holdings Chief Executive Chris Joblin welcomed the long-term partnership on behalf of Port Ruakura LP.
“The agreement will see Port of Tauranga trains initially call at Ruakura four times daily and this is likely to grow. This service will underpin the significant supply chain savings we have been modelling with prospective customers and tenants of Ruakura,” he says.
About Ruakura – Ruakura is a visionary logistics hub designed to help importers and exporters unlock the golden triangle. Offering genuine scale, the core of the development is a 30ha inland port which will offer direct access to major seaports via main trunk rail services and the Waikato Expressway.
Complementing the inland port is a 192ha logistics and industrial precinct offering room to grow for businesses seeking a substantial footprint, and adjoining precincts for commercial, residential and retail use.
Ruakura is long-term project by Tainui Group Holdings (TGH) and its business partners. TGH’s track record includes quality developments at The Base, one of New Zealand’s largest shopping centres, and hotels at Auckland Airport and Hamilton as part of the $950m diversified portfolio it manages on behalf of 76,000 Waikato-Tainui iwi members.
Photo: Port of Tauranga Chief Executive, Mark Cairns (left) and Tainui Group Holdings Chief Executive, Chris Joblin (right).
RDO Equipment is the world’s largest Vermeer and John Deere dealer, and in Australia RDO have an investment and strong partnership with the Vermeer brand which Julie will oversee.
Julie has a strong track record in operations and management, having spent the last nine years working for oil and gas company Senex Energy Limited, firstly as their CFO, then managing their strategic planning portfolio and most recently, running coal seam gas projects, from exploration right through to start up.
In her new role, Julie will continue to establish the RDO Equipment business in Australia and set the strategy and goals to cement our place in this market, ensuring resources are in position to meet the needs of our new customer base.
“I have big goals for RDO to become the best dealership business in Australia and am excited to support the growth of the John Deere Construction and Forestry range throughout our RDO dealerships,” Julie says.
For Vermeer, her goal is to continue to grow the brand across the country and ensure their existing customers are well looked after from sales to service and parts support.
“Vermeer is already a well-established brand in Australia, and I’m looking forward to working with a team that I’ve seen is motivated and engaged with the products to help support their growth.
“Both RDO and Vermeer are two incredible companies with the raw potential to become market leaders. I’m excited to start just as RDO comes into the Australian market, provide focus and be the glue to get everyone firing in the same direction and get the business to be what it can be,” she says.
Julie’s first few weeks have seen her visiting the eight RDO and Vermeer dealerships across Australia to meet the teams behind the great brands. Her focus will be to work with the wider leadership teams and forge plans for the next 12 months for both businesses.
Photo: Julie Whitcombe has joined RDO Equipment and Vermeer as their new Chief Operating Officer across both companies.
Carbon dioxide-capturing pine forests could be nurseries for native trees in New Zealand – Parliament’s environment select committee has heard the case for using quick-growing exotic trees, such as pines and eucalyptus, to capture carbon dioxide is compelling.
Fast and slow-growing exotic and native trees could be grown together to help New Zealand capture carbon dioxide and protect biodiversity, a Parliamentary select committee has been told.
At the third day of the environment committee’s Christchurch hearings into the Climate Change Amendment (Zero Carbon) Bill, University of Canterbury forestry professor Euan Mason said the case for using exotic trees, such as pines and eucalypts, to capture carbon dioxide was compelling.
Unfortunately, indigenous vegetation grew too slowly and could not sequester carbon dioxide fast enough to allow the country to meet its emissions targets.
On warm and damp sites, radiata stands could be a nurse crop for native forest. As long as seed sources were available, the carbon dioxide reservoirs would ultimately change to become native forest, Mason said. He recommended radiata pine and other exotics be established as permanent carbon forests with the proviso that, for every 10ha of exotics, 1ha of local native stands “are either identified or established to act as seed sources for the gradual succession to native forest as carbon reservoirs”.
Photo: Volunteers planting native trees at Rai Valley. About 700 rimu, totara, lowland ribbonwood, matai and other native trees were planted. Native forest may eventually take over as the country’s carbon dioxide reservoirs.
Pölkky Oy has announced the construction of a new planing mill in Taivalkoski, Finland. The value of the investment is 10 million euros and is part of the company’s new investment program.
The new planing mill will produce a variety of processed wood products for both exports and the domestic market. The facility is expected to be up and running in the fall of 2020, and will directly employ 10 people. The new facility will have an annual capacity of over 100 000 m3.
“Investing in the construction of the new planing mill in Taivalkoski is part of our new strategy which aims to increase our ratio of further processed wood products and to improve our profitability. The new planing mill also enables us to react even faster to our customers’ needs. Collaboration with the Taivalkoski municipality has been very good”, says Petteri Virranniemi, CEO at Pölkky Oy.
“The new plant will have a high degree of automation and will use cutting edge technology. In particular we are investing in the possibility to make fast cutting pattern changes”, comments Pekka Tuovinen, Technical Director at Pölkky Oy
Earlier in 2019 Pölkky Oy announced its first stage in the investment program with the modernization of the sawmill in Kajaani, which will also be incrementally implemented starting H2 2020.
Pölkky Oy uses 1 400 000 m3 of raw timber annually, across its four sawmills in Finland. The company’s turnover is 180 million euros. Pölkky has 420 employees in wood procurement, sawing and processing. Pölkky is a family company, now in the third generation.
Pölkky Oy is the largest private wood processing company in northern Finland. The sawmills and further processing facilities run by Pölkky Oy are located in the heart of Finland’s best raw timber region, in Kuusamo, Taivalkoski and Kajaani. Pine represents 75% and spruce 25% of their production. Pölkky also has a pressure treatment facility in Oulu
Petteri Virranniemi, Chief Executive Officer, Pölkky Oy
Tel. +358 40 522 4390
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A big deficit in the supply of hardwood woodchips is expected in the Asia-Pacific in the next three-to-five years, with demand in China, already the world’s biggest importer, expected to continue growing, according to Australian forestry giant Midway Group. Source: Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz
Midway’s managing director, Tony Price, told the recent DANA conference in Brisbane that Japan’ demand for hardwood chips was still strong, while Vietnam remained the region’s biggest supplier, followed by Australia.
Mr Price said China had been a strong and consistent importer of hardwood chips since 2007, with imports now more than 12 million bone-dry million tonnes. Capacity had expanded, with big growth in areas such as tissue production.
“There is an increased appreciation of higher quality eucalyptus woodchips. Customers are moving to longer term contracts and six-monthly pricing. The prices are equivalent to, or better than Japan,” he said.
Japanese imports had increased since 2013 despite predictions of a contraction, but long-term demand was expected to decline.
“With increasing competition from China, Japan has diversified its supply sources,” he said. However, biomass demand was set to take-off, with a number of dedicated biomass power stations active.
Mr Price said demand in Taiwan and South Korea remained stable, focussed on cheaper, lower quality fibre, but biomass demand could grow in Korea.
“Indonesia is now an importer. It has rapidly moved from an exporter to an importer due to increases in consumption and reduced availability of domestic fibre,” he said.
Imports had grown significantly this year and were on track to exceed one million BDT. In contrast, India was not yet a significant player.
“The market is yet to develop,” he said.
Mr Price said Vietnam’s hardwood woodchip supply had been predicted to tighten, but it continued to grow.
“They have very short rotations so have the ability to quickly respond to demand. There are good margins along the entire supply chain from grower to exporter,” he said. “The Government would prefer longer rotations and domestic value-adding.”
Vietnamese supply continued to grow to fill reductions from other countries.
“Other suppliers are expected to reduce due to a combination of domestic demand and limited plantation availability,” he said. These countries included Chile, Thailand, South Africa, Malaysia and Ecuador.
Mr Price said Australian plantation supply had doubled since 2013 due to the maturing of the hardwood plantation resource. However, further rises in plantation supply were limited and would drop from 2023 for at least five years, he said.
Demand for hardwood logs had affected the woodchip supply.
“There is potential to increase supply from managed regrowth forests,” he said.
NSW, Tasmania and Western Australia had certified, well-managed forests. In the longer term, additional supply required reinvestment and expansion of the plantation base, he said.
Mr Price said potential competitors to Australia in the Asia-Pacific were South America – Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. However, prices would have to cover the high shipping costs. “It is difficult to see where further additional supplies will come from,” he said.
One possible source was Mozambique, or possibly Cambodia or another new South-East Asian supplier.
Midway’s managing director, Tony Price
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In response to the heavily growing demand, Clark Tracks is pleased to announce it is expanding the production facilities in Dumfries, Scotland. The new 4100 m2 production space is adjacent to the existing one, increasing the total space to 7500 m2, which is more than twice than before.
“In the new factory we are investing in automation and streamlining the production process whilst maintaining the flexibility for bespoke products” says Stewart Kelly, director, Clark Tracks.
The new space and additional capacity is taken into use in Q4-2019. During the next two years Clark Tracks will be able to double its production capacity. Total investment is approximately £2.5M.
Clark Tracks Ltd, part of Nordic Traction Group, specialise in developing and manufacturing forest machine tracks to suit almost all Cut-to-Length machines and Skidders. The company has manufactured forest machine tracks for over 30 years.
Stewart Kelly, email@example.com
Director, Clark Tracks
Tero Järvinen, firstname.lastname@example.org
CEO, Nordic Traction Group
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Non-conventional advanced water treatment solutions are considered essential to coping with increased water scarcity. The IDA Water Security Handbook, released in January 2019, provides the latest market overview for the global desalination and water reuse markets.
In 2019, the seawater desalination market is set to experience its most dynamic year since the late 2000s, according to the new IDA Water Security Handbook, published by the International Desalination Association (IDA) and Global Water Intelligence (GWI) in January 2019.
In the past 3 years, the overall desalination market has remained steady; however, several factors are driving the surge in desalination projects. These include rising demand for clean water, decreasing capital and operational costs of desalination, and the need to replace older facilities with energy-efficient processes, among others. At the same time, water reuse has become an increasingly important part of water resources management around the world. The global contracted reuse capacity has almost doubled since 2010, with cumulative contracted capacity increasing from 59.7 million m3/d in 2009to 118 million m3/d in 2017.
According to the 31st desalination inventory, which covers July 2017–June 2018, the total global installed desalination capacity stands at 97.4 million cubic meters per day (m3/d) while the total global cumulative contracted capacity is 104.7 million m3/d. As of June 30, 2018, more than 20,000 desalination plants had been contracted around the world.
IDA Secretary General Shannon McCarthy relates this industry growth to global trends. “As climate change continues to impact our world, along with industrial and population growth, the demand for clean water increases. Desalination and water reuse: non-conventional, environmentally sound water supply solutions are in keeping with the circular water economy and offer solutions to water scarcity. The trends we are seeing point to a broad recognition that these advanced water treatment solutions are essential to the health and well-being of people and economies around the world, both now and in the future.”Desalination costs down
“The big breakthrough in the past year has been on the cost of desalination,” says GWI Publisher Christopher Gasson. “Recent project tenders in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi have seen the price fall below $0.50/m3 for the first time. After a decade in which price drifted upwards as a result of high materials costs and higher energy costs, this is very good news. Indeed, we expect 2019 to be the best year ever in the desalination market. In terms of water reuse, prices for indirect potable standard water are in the $0.30-$0.40 range, but the market is still held back by public perceptions.”
Significant price reductions in desalinated water pro-diction costs are related to several factors not only specifically linked to technological progress, says Carlos Cosín, IDA officer and CEO of Almar Water Solutions. “From my perspective, the contractors’ experience after years of building large-scale projects in the region has led to a cost-efficient optimization of the construction process. New contractual and financial models have contributed to the creation of strong, solid consortiums, which have the knowledge to accommodate risk in a more efficient manner. Together with lower interest rates in the financial sector, these are all important factors that are helping to push tariffs down.”
Material and design changes have also contributed to price reductions, Cosín explains. Lower petroleum prices have reduced the cost of desalination plant components, many of which are manufactured from oil-derived materials, such as membranes and plastic pipes. Additionally, energy savings has been realized through advances in membranes that require less inlet pressure, energy-efficient recovery devices, and larger reverse osmosis trains with larger pumps and motors capable of higher efficiencies.
Construction activity gains momentum
The expected surge in desalination is largely a result of gathering momentum in construction plans in the Middle East, especially for the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. According to the 2018-2019 IDA Water Security Handbook, 1.9 million m3/d of seawater capacity was contracted in the first half of 2018, up 26 percent over the same period in 2017. Since that time, preferred bidders have emerged on projects totalling well over 1 million m3/d in additional new capacity in the region.
No single factor is catalysing the boom of desalination projects in GCC countries, says IDA President Miguel Angel Sanz, who is also the director of strategic development for treatment infrastructure at Suez International. Instead, he explains that several elements are driving the momentum in a region with limited natural water resources that are decreasing each year. These include high population growth, the need to update old desalination facilities, and the crude oil crisis.
Sanz also notes that the boom of renewable energies producing electricity at a cost as low as US$20 per megawatt hour (MWh) has finally put into the market a trend to reduce drastically the production cost of desalinated water, where the energy is half of the tariff. In the case of the UAE, another special catalyzer is the next commissioning of nuclear power reactors that will force the end of coupling conventional power plants to thermal desalination.
“All these factors have shifted the balance toward building new mega plants in the area, producing water more efficiently and drastically reducing the cost by economy of scale, ‘aligning the planets’ in a very short period and causing this desalination boom,” Sanz adds.
Global construction trends
Not all of the contracted large seawater plants are located in the Middle East. The largest seawater desalination award listed in the 31st desalination inventory is the 378,000-m3/d seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) project in Rosarito, Mexico. This was followed by projects at Hamriyah (Sharjah, UAE, 272,760 m3/d), Shoaiba 3 expansion 2 IWP (Saudi Arabia, 250,000 m3/d) and Al Khobar (Saudi Arabia, 210,000 m3/d).
Globally, contracted capacity for brackish water desalination declined by 19 percent over the prior year, but in the United States (US), contracted brackish water desalination rose significantly, totalling 205,600 m3/d, the highest level since 2012 and a 26-percent increase over 2016, with a fairly even split between municipal and industrial plants.
Desalination of lower concentration feedwater, such as waste-water and low-concentration surface water, also increased, comprising almost 25 percent of total capacity in 2017 compared to approximately 15 percent in 2016. The majority of this capacity is made up of large wastewater treatment plants in China and India.
From a geographic perspective, contracted capacity in the Middle East – the largest market for desalination – fell from 2016 to 2017, but this decline was offset in 2018 by the awarding of several large projects in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain as well as expansion projects in both Dubai and Sharjah. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) awarded contracts for a 181,840-m3/d SWRO expansion at its Jebel Ali power and desalination complex as well as a 272,360-m3/d SWRO expansion of Federal Electricity and Water Authority’s (FEWA) Hamriyah desalination plant in Sharjah.
The Asia-Pacific desalination market grew in 2017, primarily due to the Chinese desalination market where contracted capacity reached its highest level since 2010. In the Americas, 2018 was the most active year for desalination since 2013. In sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya’s Mombasa County awarded two projects of 100,000 m3/d and 30,000 m3/d while three smaller projects were awarded in Cape Town to help avert its looming “Day Zero” water crisis.
In terms of technologies, mem-brane technologies continue to dominate the desalination market. Ninety percent of desalination capacity contracted since 2010 employs membrane technologies, with the use of thermal technologies for large-scale projects remaining concentrated in the Middle East.
Industrial desalination grows 21 percent
The industrial desalination market grew by 21 percent in contracted capacity between 2016-2017, according to the IDA Water Security Handbook. Increased activity in upstream and downstream oil and gas accounted for more than one third of contracted industrial capacity in 2017 while rising commodity prices have revived desalination activity in the mining industry, with 201,000 m3/d of new capacity contracted in the first half of 2018 alone. Rapid growth in the microelectronics industry is also creating opportunities for desalination technologies, with contracted capacity in this sector more than doubling from 2016-2017.
IDA Director and Managing Director of Aquatech Devesh Sharma sums up the principal reasons for the recent 21-percent rise in the industrial desalination market: “The intersection of water scarcity and corporate water risk is driving growth in the use of desalination and other forms of advanced water technology in industry. Concerns about operational risks, corporate social responsibility,
sustainability, and water’s direct impact on P&L [profit and loss] have made this a boardroom issue for a majority of large companies.”
The most significant driver of expenditure on advanced water technology is water scarcity, he explains. “Most industrial development occurs either in highly water scarce regions or densely populated regions where there is an emerging and extreme competition for fresh water resources. Water scarcity has driven more stringent environ-mental regulation demanding lower volumes of discharge as well as higher purity of wastewater, thus driving the need for water reuse, particularly in industry.
“All of this, coupled with industry’s demand for higher purity, is creating an interesting and emerging market need for better advanced water technology. Water is a widely used raw material in industry, and the way in which it is treated can have a significant impact on process efficiency. In certain cases, it takes more water to mine the same element than it did in the past, and end-users are also finding opportunities where higher purity of water in the process results in better production yields. This is also being seen in the oil and gas industry with the advent of smart water processes that adjust the water quality to the geology in the well to minimize issues such as biological fouling or precipitation, all with the objective to maximize yield.
“Removing dissolved salts from water and other technologies, which turns low-quality wastewater and raw water sources into high-quality process water, will be an important driver of industrial efficiency moving forward.”
Global water reuse market strengthens
The importance of water reuse as a solution to the world’s growing water issues has escalated significantly in the past few years. Increasingly, many regions are looking to wastewater reuse over large-scale desalination as a solution to drought-induced water scarcity. For example, both Cape Town and California are pursuing potable water reuse of wastewater, and reuse of wastewater in industry plays a vital part of policy responses to degradation of water resources in China and India.
As contracted capacity continues to rise, the epicentre of the global wastewater reuse market has shifted from North America to Asia, with China accounting for 49 percent of capacity contracted between 2010 and 2017. However, new capacity in India and Taiwan is also significant. India is now the fastest growing market in the region, with new environmental legislation as one of the drivers.
The Americas is the second largest region according to installed capacity, with the majority of water reuse focused on the agricultural and industrial sectors in the US, which remains the world’s second largest market by contracted capacity at 10 percent of the total. However, the awarding of three projects in Latin America accounts for the majority of the region’s increase in contracted capacity.
Water reuse is gaining traction in the Middle East as well although desalination remains the primary unconventional water source for arid countries in the region. Large-scale upgrades of sewage treatment plants in the Gulf and Egypt have driven strong growth in reuse.
Spain has led the European wastewater reuse market since 2010, with large projects aimed at agricultural users in that country. However, a proposed EU directive that would require treatment of microbiological pathogens to facilitate water reuse for agricultural irrigation has the potential to increase water reuse in the EU from 3 million m3/d to 18 million m3/d.
Industrial water demand is a key driver of the wastewater reuse market. This trend is especially apparent in water-intensive manufacturing and extraction industries as well as in regions where population growth has created a conflict between industrial and municipal water users, driving the industry to seek alternative water sources, as municipal users are typically prioritized, especially in times of drought.
The 2019 IDA World Congress will be held on October 20-24 in Dubai, UAE. For more information, visit www.wc.idadesal.org
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