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The Coronavirus Has Not Stopped the Global Trade of Forest Products

International Forest Industries - Fri, 29/05/2020 - 14:33

The Coronavirus Epidemic has negatively impacted the supply chains for numerous industry sectors worldwide the past few months.

Many commodity products saw reduced trade during March and April, a result of reduced demand, closures of manufacturing facilities to protect workers, constraint in the handling capacity of goods at many ports, and widespread financial distress. However, one sector that has remained fairly strong during the initial period of the epidemic is the forest products industry.

Demand for toilet paper, face masks, disinfecting wipes, corrugated paper for cardboard boxes, and wood products for home renovations are just a few forest products that have been in unusually high demand in many countries during this spring.

A closer look at the March 2020 trade data, the first “Coronavirus month”, reveals that global trade of lumber, logs, wood chips and pulp increased in March as compared to the previous month.

The following snapshot illustrates a few interesting examples from the WRQ of positive developments in the forest industry sector from February to March this year:

• Softwood Logs – China increased imports by 14% m-o-m, with most of the added logs originating from New Zealand, Germany and Russia. Log imports to South Korea rose 19%, while Australia and Canada shipped about 70% more logs in March than in the previous month.

• Softwood Lumber – Lumber shipments from New Zealand and Canada were up 32% and 25% m-o-m, respectively. Lumber importation was up in most of the major markets in March, including China (+59% m-o-m), the US (+27%), the United Kingdom (+13%), and Japan (+10%).

• Wood Pulp – Three of the four largest pulp-exporting countries, Brazil, the US and Chile, increased their shipments between 12% and 26% in March (m-o-m). The five top importing countries all purchased more pulp in March than in February, with China and South Korea increasing their volumes the most (40% and 29% respectively).

• Hardwood Chips – China, Portugal, and South Korea imported more chips for their pulp industry in March than in the previous month. Most of the major chipexporting countries, including Australia, Thailand, South Africa, and Brazil shipped more chips in March than in February.

In the coming months, numerous countries around the world are planning to ease lockdown policies and loosen the rules that are restricting house constructions, international commerce and consumer shopping. These changes may further benefit many companies in the forest industry sector. However, expect a rough road ahead.

Interested in wood products market information from around the world? Please consider subscribing to the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ), a 56-page report, established in 1988 and with subscribers in over 30 countries. The report tracks prices for sawlog, pulpwood, lumber & pellets worldwide and reports on trade and wood market developments in most key regions around the world. For more insights on the latest international forest product market trends, please go to www.WoodPrices.com

Contact Information
Wood Resources International LLC
Hakan Ekstrom, Seattle, USA

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US – Bilingual Sales Representative wanted

International Forest Industries - Fri, 29/05/2020 - 14:14

Wallingford’s Inc. is seeking a qualified bilingual applicant for a full-time position of Sales Representative based out of their office in Oakland, ME.  The job requires fluency in French and international travel to Canada.  The Sales Representative’s core responsibilities will include having designated accounts where business needs to be maintained in Eastern Canada while continuing to identify sales opportunities to capture new business.  Basic computer and communication skills is a requirement.

College degree not necessarily required.  Inquiries please contact chip@wallingfords.com.

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Economic impact study reveals Maine loggers contributed an estimated $619 million to state economy in 2017

International Forest Industries - Fri, 29/05/2020 - 13:57

Maine Loggers – The Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine released in March results of a comprehensive study of the economic impact of Maine logging, showing the industry contributed an estimated $619 million to the state economy in 2017.

The study, The Economic Contribution of Logging and Trucking in Maine, conducted by the University of Maine and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, revealed that in 2017 logging supported approximately 9,366 Maine jobs either directly or indirectly, generated $342 million in labor income, pumped an estimated $25 million into state and local tax coffers, and remains critical to a range of industries and communities across Maine.

“This study demonstrates the vast impact logging has on the Maine economy and highlights its role as the foundation of the state’s entire $7.7 billion forest products industry,” Dana Doran, Executive Director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, said. “It also shows what Maine stands to lose if the mounting challenges to the logging industry are not overcome.”

To better understand the nature of the harvesting industry in Maine, analysts combined a traditional input-output (IMPLAN) analysis with primary data gathered from member companies of the PLC, the logging trade association representing companies that together harvest more than 75 percent of all timber harvested in Maine. The study calculates the economic impact of logging in the state of Maine for 2017 through both the IMPLAN analysis as well as a survey delivered to members of the PLC in 2018. Where appropriate, results were also compared with findings of a previous, similar study on the 2014 impact of Maine logging to identify industry trends. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and other appropriate sources was incorporated in the analysis to present a complete picture of the industry’s status.

In addition to overall economic impact and jobs, findings of the study and associated research included:

  • According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the real average wage for workers in the logging industry in 2017 was $47,289 (in 2018 dollars). This represents a 3.2 percent increase in wages since 2014.


  • The survey sent to PLC contractors showed mechanization remains dominant in the industry: Fully 56 percent of surveyed firms were identified as whole tree harvesting operations, and another 35 percent as cut-to-length harvesting operations – both of which use combinations of mechanized logging equipment such as feller bunchers, delimbers, grapple skidders, forwarders, and harvesters to cut, yard, and process wood. Only 8 percent were identified as conventional hand crews using chain saws. Respondent companies employed slightly fewer crews on average in 2018 than in 2014. Interestingly, the proportion of cut-to-length crews in mechanized logging (while still a minority) increased in 2018.


  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, Maine’s logging sector is heavily dominated by small businesses, with an average (between 2006 and 2016) of 67% of employing establishments in the industry employing fewer than 5 people. Additionally, 1,719 non-employer entities in the logging and harvest sector were reported in Maine during 2017. These entities are overwhelmingly (94%) sole proprietorships.


  • Survey respondents reported an average of 13 full-time equivalent employees per firm. As in 2014, the majority of respondent employees work in the woods, on average 7 per firm; an additional average of 2 per firm provide office support, 3 trucking and 1 mechanical support. It is notable that the average number of wood-based employees per firm, as calculated from survey responses, is a little more than half of what it was in 2014.


  • On average, survey respondents had 42 operational weeks in 2018 and harvested 1,621 acres per firm.


  • Trucking remains critical to the logging industry. Most survey respondents (26%) trucked either all or the majority (37%) of the material harvested by their firm. Thirteen percent rarely (less than 50% of the time) trucked their own material and 24% contracted with an outside source for all their trucking needs.


  • Logging is a capital-intensive industry. Survey respondents reported $21.1 million in new capital investment – 76% of which was spent on new equipment.


  • For 2018, Maine Forest Service data showed 11,817,367 tons of timber were harvested in Maine including 4,222,170 tons of saw timber, 5,391,052 tons of pulp wood, and 2,204,145 tons of biomass. That was an overall decrease of from 2014, when data showed 14,188,085 tons of timber were harvested in Maine, including 4,004,051 tons of saw timber, 7,289,270 tons of pulp wood, and 2,894,764 tons of biomass.


The economic study released today comes in the wake of a 2019 Maine Logger and Log Trucker Employment Availability and Wage Analysis Report prepared by the Maine Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Southern Maine that found Maine is facing a shortage of loggers and log truckers that will grow and which could hinder the growth of the forest products industry in the state if wage growth does not occur. That study revealed wages for logging equipment operators and log truckers in Maine are lower than those for comparable jobs in competing industries in the state, and this combined with a tight labor market and looming retirement for large numbers of loggers is concerning for Maine’s forest economy.

The heart of the issue identified by the 2019 study is profit margins for logging contractors have dwindled as costs of doing business have risen, limiting the ability of contractors to raise pay for workers. With low unemployment and strong competition for skilled operators of heavy machinery and trucks, logging contractors are struggling simply to keep the workers they have, let alone attract new ones.

“The inevitable conclusion based on a review of the new study and of the wage and employment study released last year is that logging is a critical Maine industry under threat that must be preserved if the state is to avoid a collapse of its forest products industry and the deep and irreversible impacts that would have on Maine’s economy, rural communities, and character,” Doran said. “The challenges facing loggers are not insurmountable, but failure to overcome them would be disastrous for Maine.”

Harvesting is an integral part of Maine’s forest products industry. Wood pulp, wood, and paper and paperboard are Maine’s 5th, 6th and 7th most valuable exports, respectively, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In an increasingly global world, the competitiveness of these exports relies on the economic feasibility and health of the harvesting industry that makes it all possible. The industry today faces many challenges but is meeting them by seeking new and nontraditional markets, increasing the focus on professionalism and safety, utilizing the latest technology, and working to educate a new and highly skilled generation of loggers for the future.

One key to the future of the increasingly complex logging industry is education, and this means the Mechanized Logging Operations Programs (MLOP) created by the PLC in partnership with the Maine Community College System, and with support from the state and industry partners, is critical to training a new generation of loggers ready to enter to the industry as older workers reach retirement age. The program is currently recruiting students for its fourth 12-week class, scheduled to begin June 22 in the Old Town area.

More information is available at http://maineloggers.com/mechanized-logging-operations-program/

Maine’s loggers are a vital part of the state’s forest products sector, which is worth an estimated $7.7 billion annually.

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$15m rail link helps Drax reduce supply chain emissions and biomass costs

International Forest Industries - Fri, 29/05/2020 - 13:11

The rail link has increased capacity to deliver more sustainable biomass from Drax’s LaSalle BioEnergy pellet plant in Louisiana, USA to its UK power station, taking thousands of trucks off local roads.

The $15 million rail link and other initiatives have already contributed to a $5/tonne reduction in Drax’s biomass production costs in 2019.

In its first year of operation, a new $15m rail link has increased the flow of sustainable biomass from one of Drax Group’s US pellet plants to its UK power station, reducing emissions and costs whilst increasing the resilience of the energy company’s supply chain.

The five miles of rail track connects Drax’s LaSalle pellet plant in northern Louisiana to the regional rail network, enabling freight trains to deliver the pellets to the company’s dedicated export facility at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.

From there, the pellets are shipped to Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire, which supplies around 12% of the UK’s renewable electricity.

The new rail link allows Drax to deliver around 7,000 tonnes of sustainable biomass to the Port of Greater Baton Rouge in each train, compared to just 27 tonnes that could be transported by each truck previously.

Drax Biomass Senior Vice President Matt White said:
“The new rail spur has been a great success. Since it was commissioned last May it has significantly increased the amount of sustainable biomass we can deliver. It’s also taken thousands of trucks off local roads, unlocking carbon savings and costs in our supply chain as we build a long-term future for the sustainable biomass that provides millions of UK homes and businesses with renewable power.

“Biomass-generated electricity will be an important part of the global climate change solution. It supports healthy forest growth and biodiversity, while providing reliable, flexible renewable power, and could enable bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, known as BECCS – a vital negative emissions technology that will be crucial to meeting net zero targets.”

A team of up to 40 contractors worked through two of the wettest Louisiana winters in decades to clear the site, excavating around 180,000 cubic yards of dirt to level off the ground and stabilise it before three sets of rail tracks could be laid. The work also included installing conveyors to get the pellets to the new rail loading point.

Rafael Moreno, Drax Biomass associate director of engineering said:
“It was a huge amount of work and the wet winters certainly created some challenges. It’s hard to excavate when everything turns into mud. But the team pulled together and worked through the night to get the track laid and completed so the spur could be commissioned in May last year.”

The rail spur at LaSalle is part of Drax’s wider efforts to cut the costs of its biomass by around a third by 2027. The rail link and other initiatives, including the co-location of a sawmill at the LaSalle site last year, has already contributed to a 3% reduction in biomass production costs to $161/tonne in 2019 compared with $166/tonne in 2018.

Drax acquired the LaSalle BioEnergy plant in Urania in northern Louisiana in 2017. LaSalle BioEnergy is one of three US pellet plants owned by Drax. The three plants produce a total of 1.5 million tonnes of sustainable biomass pellets a year.

Photo: The first train arrives at the LaSalle plant in May 2019. By Rafael Moreno

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New log ship for Swire

International Forest Industries - Wed, 27/05/2020 - 12:37

Swire Bulk, the bulk division of The China Navigation Company, has taken delivery of its new, log ship log-fitted bulk carrier into service. MV Singan is traded worldwide with a strong focus on the logs trade in the Pacific and South Atlantic.

The vessel was named in February 2020 by lady sponsor, Mrs Kaori Imoto, the wife of John Swire & Sons Board Director, Jonathan Swire. The ceremony was held at The Hakodate Dock Co., Ltd.’s shipyard in Hakodate, Japan. MV Singan embarked on her maiden voyage at the end of April for Busan.

The vessel is designed for optimal speed and consumption at 12.5 knots in the laden condition. The eco-efficiency additions of the Rudder Bulb, Wake fin and Pre-swirl will improve vessel hull efficiency, said Rob Aarvold, General Manager, Swire Bulk.

Log carriage requires a high level of structural stability, which MV Singan offers. The vessel is also installed with the latest solid state radar equipment which is integrated with ECDIS. This ensures compliance with the latest and future requirements and for system updates to be managed easily.

MV Singan is the first ship delivered in a wider order book of ten bulk vessels to be built in Japan. The remaining vessels are scheduled for delivery by the end of 2021. “Swire Bulk’s newbuilding programme will enable us to strategically deliver the largest and most eco-friendly fleet trading in the market. We remain committed to delivering market-leading, innovative and sustainable shipping solutions to our customers with our modern eco-designed vessels,” said Mr Aarvold.

MV Sungkiang, MV Singan’s sister vessel, is being built at the same shipyard scheduled for delivery in June 2020. “Having these log-fitted newbuilds on water,” said Mr Aarvold, “would strengthen Swire Bulk’s position in the log market. We are one of the world’s largest handysize logger fleets, and we have the flexibility, supply and consistent technical standards to perform and deliver freight contracts safely, reliably and professionally.”

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NZ – Logging Halt Hits Exports

International Forest Industries - Wed, 27/05/2020 - 12:22

Logging halt undercuts strong export month – Log exports fell sharply in April 2020 after logging operations were suspended during alert level 4, but average prices per cubic metre picked up, Stats NZ said this week.

In contrast, dairy and fruit exports were strong despite fears of port congestion amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Total exports fell $220 million (4 percent) to $5.3 billion in April 2020 compared with the same month last year.

“Total exports would have been worth almost the same as April last year, if they had not been undercut by the big drop in logs,” international statistics manager Darren Allan said.

Exports of logs were worth just $96 million in April 2020, down $211 million from $307 million last April. While the quantity of logs exported fell 69 percent, the biggest-ever monthly percentage fall, the price has risen to $170 a cubic metre this month after falling to $137 in July 2019.

“Log harvesting was a non-essential service under alert level 4 and didn’t restart until alert level 3 at the end of April, so it is understandable that log exports have dropped sharply,” Mr Allan said.

Most New Zealand logs are exported to China.

“However, the increase in unit price may suggest there is still unmet demand as log inventories in China are run down and export values may bounce back quickly as harvesting picks up again.”

The value of sawn timber exports also fell $61 million or 79 percent, reflecting the log shortage.

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New Plant Manager at Komatsu Forest

International Forest Industries - Wed, 27/05/2020 - 11:58

Since mid-January, Anna Fredriksson is the new Plant manager at Komatsu Forest in Umeå. Anna is also the first woman ever to become a Plant manager within the global Komatsu Group.

“It has been my driving force to work with what I think is fun, which is technology, without thinking so much about the expectations on me from the outside world. The fact that the management chose me for this assignment even though I was about to go on parental leave, further reinforced my perception of the company’s good values regarding equality”, Anna says.

Anna has a mechanical engineering degree and joined Komatsu Forest in 2011 when she did her master thesis while working in production. She then joined the quality department, where she over the years has worked with quality investigations and product quality, and then became head of the quality department in 2017. At the same time, she took a place in the factory’s management team where she further strengthened her insights regarding the entire production process.

“With Anna’s commitment, competence in various business issues, collaborative skills and her broad experience of working with quality issues, which is our most important focus area, it was a natural step to the new role as Plant manager,” says Martin Ärlestig, former Plant Manager who now becomes Global Production Manager.

Anna took up the post at a very special time. Despite the current state of the Corona pandemic, the company has been able to keep up a relatively normal business after all. In addition, the major challenge at the moment is to maintain and improve current production while looking ahead and preparing for the move to a new factory and the changes that will entail with a new, more modern production.

“With the new factory, we will take a huge step forward, that will allow us to develop the working environment, the quality and the work processes, which gives us a unique opportunity to improve the entire production”, says Anna.

Footnote: Komatsu Group has 85 factories around the world.

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41 million seedlings to be planted in Finland, Sweden & Russia

International Forest Industries - Tue, 26/05/2020 - 11:33

In 2020, more than 41 million tree seedlings will be planted in the forests of Finland, Sweden and Russia by Stora Enso. In the southern parts of the countries, the planting season started as early as April. In May, tree planting will be in full speed even further north. Source: Timberbiz

In northern forests, the planting season lasts about 150 days, which means an average of more than 270,000 tree seedlings per day will be planted by Stora Enso this summer. In Finland, about 80% of the seedlings are spruce.

Most pines are regenerated by sowing or natural regeneration, some birch is also planted. In Sweden, forest is regenerated mainly by seedlings, half of which are spruce and half pine.

Most of the production at Stora Enso’s mills is based on the wood supplied from the northern forests.

Sustainable forest management ensures that a new generation of trees replace the harvested ones. We ensure that forests are productive and healthy also in the future, says Jari Suominen, EVP, Forest Division, Stora Enso.

In Finland, approximately 150 million tree seedlings are planted in the state forests and private forest owners’ forests every year. In Sweden the number is even higher – more than 380 million seedlings. Some private forest owners prefer to plant the seedlings themselves, but there is a growing demand for silvicultural services carried out by forestry professionals.

In Sweden, Stora Enso owns approximately 1.4 million hectares of forest. Seedlings for regeneration sites are delivered from Stora Enso’s own nurseries in central Sweden.

Stora Enso Plantor follow the Swedish forest breeding program, seeking better volume growth, stem straightness, vigor, resistance and higher survival.

Stora Enso Plantor is the third biggest producer of forest seedlings in Sweden with three nurseries working as one unit with orders and deliveries.

In Stora Enso’s long term harvesting rights’ areas in Russia, 1.2 million seedlings will be planted: In Carelia, 945,000 and in Novgorod 257,000.

“We use mostly seedlings with open root system,” Jaakko Rajamäki, Director, Forest operations, Wood Supply Russia said.

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SFPA Announces 2019 Sawmill Safety Awards

International Forest Industries - Fri, 22/05/2020 - 11:58

Seven Southern Pine sawmills – all members of the Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA) – are recent recipients of the 2019 Sawmill Safety Awards.

SFPA lumber manufacturer members are considered for the award based on information submitted regarding occupational injuries and illnesses. Safety performance is judged by how each mill’s safety record stacks up against facilities with comparable lumber output throughout the year. The results for 2019 included reports from 52 mills that recorded nearly 18 million employee hours.

Division I includes sawmills that produce 50 million board feet or less; Division II covers facilities that produce 51 to 150 million board feet; and Division III includes mills that produce more than 150 million board feet annually.

The seven sawmills being honored for outstanding safety records during 2019 are:

Division 1 – less than 50 mmbf

  • Ray White Lumber Company – Sparkman, Arkansas
  • Weyerhaeuser Company – Zwolle, Louisiana

Division II – 51-150 mmbf

  • West Fraser – Opelika, Alabama
  • West Fraser – Whitehouse, Florida

Division III – greater than 150 mmbf

  • Weyerhaeuser Company – Philadelphia, Mississippi
  • Weyerhaeuser Company – Dodson, Louisiana
  • Weyerhaeuser Company – Millport, Alabama

 “Safety is important in all business, and the sawmill business is no different,” said SFPA Executive Director Tami Kessler. “We are proud that these SFPA member mills had zero recordable incidences in 2019 and commend them for striving to make their workplace a safe environment,” she added.

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End of coal generation at Drax Power Station

International Forest Industries - Thu, 21/05/2020 - 15:11

Following a comprehensive review of operations and discussions with National Grid, Ofgem and the UK Government, the Board of Drax has determined to end commercial coal generation at Drax Power Station in 2021 – ahead of the UK’s 2025 deadline.

Commercial coal generation is expected to end in March 2021, with formal closure of the coal units in September 2022 at the end of existing Capacity Market obligations.

Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, said:
“Ending the use of coal at Drax is a landmark in our continued efforts to transform the business and become a world-leading carbon negative company by 2030. Drax’s move away from coal began some years ago and I’m proud to say we’re going to finish the job well ahead of the Government’s 2025 deadline.

“By using sustainable biomass we have not only continued generating the secure power millions of homes and businesses rely on, we have also played a significant role in enabling the UK’s power system to decarbonise faster than any other in the world.

“Having pioneered ground-breaking biomass technology, we’re now planning to go further by using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) to achieve our ambition of being carbon negative by 2030, making an even greater contribution to global efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

“Stopping using coal is the right decision for our business, our communities and the environment, but it will have an impact on some of our employees, which will be difficult for them and their families.

“In making the decision to stop using coal and to decarbonise the economy, it’s vital that the impact on people across the North is recognised and steps are taken to ensure that people have the skills needed for the new jobs of the future.”

Drax will shortly commence a consultation process with employees and trade unions with a view to ending coal operations. Under these proposals, commercial generation from coal will end in March 2021 but the two coal units will remain available to meet Capacity Market obligations until September 2022.

The closure of the two coal units is expected to involve one-off closure costs in the region of £25-35 million in the period to closure and to result in a reduction in operating costs at Drax Power Station of £25-35 million per year once complete. Drax also expects a reduction in jobs of between 200 and 230 from April 2021.

The carrying value of the fixed assets affected by closure was £240 million, in addition to £103 million of inventory at 31 December 2019, which Drax intends to use in the period up to 31 March 2021. The Group expects to treat all closure costs and any asset obsolescence charges as exceptional items in the Group’s financial statements. A further update on these items will be provided in the Group’s interim financial statements for the first half of 2020.

As part of the proposed coal closure programme the Group is implementing a broader review of operations at Drax Power Station. This review aims to support a safe, efficient and lower cost operating model which, alongside a reduction in biomass cost, positions Drax for long-term biomass generation following the end of the current renewable support mechanisms in March 2027.

While previously being an integral part of the Drax Power Station site and offering flexibility to the Group’s trading and operational performance, the long-term economics of coal generation remain challenging and in 2019 represented only three percent of the Group’s electricity production. In January 2020, Drax did not take a Capacity Market agreement for the period beyond September 2022 given the low clearing price.

Drax Investor Relations:
Mark Strafford
+44 (0) 7730 763 949

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Network Rail, Lynemouth Power, Port of Tyne and GBRF working together to keep 450,000 homes powered

International Forest Industries - Wed, 20/05/2020 - 15:08

Network Rail, Lynemouth Power Limited (LPL), Port of Tyne and GBRF are working together to keep the lights on at 450,000 homes across the United Kingdom.

The railway and its key workers are keeping vital freight services moving during the Covid-19 pandemic. Freight services keep supermarket shelves stocked and key medical equipment moving, as well as transporting biomass to generate energy and keep the nation powered up.

Every week, over 30,000 tonnes of sustainably-sourced wood pellets are transported from the Port of Tyne to Lynemouth Power Station via the railway. The biomass travels a short way up the East Coast Main Line from Newcastle, before using the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne lines and heading onto the facility.

The railway is absolutely vital in getting the biomass to where it needs to be, as freight services are Lynemouth Power’s primary means of bulk supply. Network Rail is working round the clock to make sure that the railway can continue running reliably on this heavily used route, which sees two GBRF sets, each carrying around 1700 tonnes, running six to seven days per week whenever necessary.

Kevin Newman, Senior Freight Manager, for Network Rail, said: “The railway continues to play a key role during the Covid-19 crisis by keeping vital freight services moving, including deliveries of biomass enabling power to be generated for homes and businesses across the country.

“We’ve been able to meet demand thanks to the dedication of Network Rail teams who are working round the clock, as well as the close working partnership we have with Lynemouth Power, Port of Tyne and GBRF.”

Carl Hopper, Managing Director of Lynemouth Power Limited, commented: “Collectively, all of our delivery partners play a significant part in the overall energy production process. Every one of them ensures that Lynemouth Power Station, part of a critical industry, can operate efficiently and with a ‘business as usual’ approach wherever possible despite the challenges the country now faces as a whole.

“Network Rail is a key part of our fuel logistics supply chain and provides an essential service transporting biomass wood pellets from the Port of Tyne up to Lynemouth Power Station. We will continue to work closely and collaboratively with them to ensure that we keep powering the country, and acknowledge the dedication and effort being made by their team at this time.”

Matt Beeton, Port of Tyne Chief Executive, said: “The Port of Tyne plays a crucial role in supporting supply chains across the North East, and Britain as a whole.

“By working in partnership with Network Rail, Lynemouth Power and GBRF, we’re helping to keep Britain going during these unprecedented times.”

John Smith, GB Railfreight Managing Director said: “GB Railfreight is delighted to be playing its part in supporting the UK’s response to the ongoing pandemic by helping to keep essential services running throughout the country. For example, we are transporting and delivering vital supplies of sustainable biomass to and from Lynemouth Power Station to the Port of Tyne, by doing so, we are playing our part to keep the lights on during this crisis.

“We will stop at nothing to ensure our locos continue to ship vital supplies right across the country and will be redoubling our efforts to ensure we keep the country going at this time of emergency.”

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ANDRITZ to supply gasification plant and biomass handling line to Klabin’s Puma II project in Brazil

International Forest Industries - Wed, 20/05/2020 - 14:46

International technology group ANDRITZ has received an order from Klabin for a complete biomass gasification plant and a new biomass handling line for their Ortigueira mill in Brazil.

The scope of supply includes a 51 MW gasification plant, a belt dryer, a multi-fuel lime kiln burner and biomass handling equipment with auxiliaries. By replacing 100% of the heavy fuel oil currently burned in one of the mill’s lime kilns, the ANDRITZ gasification plant will significantly reduce the mill’s carbon footprint. The current lime kiln production will remain at 650 tons of reburnt lime per day.

ANDRITZ was one of the main suppliers of major process technologies and equipment areas to the Puma II project, and also supplied major technologies and equipment to Klabin’s Puma I project, which was started up successfully in 2016.

In the gasification sector, ANDRITZ offers advanced and state-of-the-art technologies, combining high efficiency with quality gas output for the replacement of fossil fuels.

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USIPA: Wood biomass given all clear by Europe’s highest court

International Forest Industries - Wed, 20/05/2020 - 14:20

The U.S. Industrial Pellet Association on May 11 welcomed an order from the European Court of Justice dismissing a case against wood biomass. The court ruled the applicants, a group of six individuals and NGOs, lacked standing to challenge the EU’s inclusion of wood biomass in the bloc’s Renewable Energy Directive.

“We welcome the court’s ruling, which removes unnecessary uncertainty over the future of renewable energy in Europe,” said Seth Ginther, USIPA executive director. “Although this was a procedural ruling this was the right overall result, as the arguments put forward in the case had no value. The European institutions carried out an open consultation to gather scientific and environmental advice and considered these during the legislative process. The result was a revised Renewable Energy Directive that set out rigorous standards for the inclusion of sustainable biomass in the European energy mix.”

Including the UN IPCC’s latest Special Report on Climate Change and Land, the body of academic research, studies and papers documenting the climate and forest benefits of wood biomass continues to grow.

Wood biomass, derived from the forest products industry, is the EU’s largest single source of renewable energy, and is a key technology for achieving the bloc’s climate goals set out in the Green Deal.It enables European power generators to repurpose existing coal-based infrastructure with a renewable alternative that reduces the carbon intensity of electricity generation by up to 85 percent on a life-cycle basis.

Last year the U.S. exported nearly 6 million metric tons of biomass to the EU, primarily from its Southeastern states. This region has been the center of America’s forest products industry since the early 20th century, and is one of the largest and most sustainably-managed wood baskets in the world.

According to the USDA, wood volume in this region has increased by 21 percent since 2000, and southeastern landowners are currently growing 43 percent more wood than they remove every year.  Independent analysis shows this trend is also consistent within the local sourcing areas surrounding multiple biomass production plants.

As noted by forest economists, forest stocks have been increasing in the US Southeast because markets for wood products, like biomass, provide financial incentives for private landowners to keep investing in the continual cycle of thinning, harvesting and replanting trees.

Source –  U.S. Industrial Pellet Association

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Fuel cells: Daimler and Volvo team up

International Forest Industries - Wed, 20/05/2020 - 13:29

Large scale production and commercialisation of hydrogen fuel cells has been given a boost by a joint venture between two of the world’s biggest commercial vehicle manufacturers – Daimler Truck AG and Volvo Group have announced they have signed a preliminary non-binding agreement to establish the new joint venture.

The intention is to develop, produce and commercialise fuel cell systems for heavy-duty vehicle applications and other use cases according to a media release that confirmed Daimler will consolidate all its current fuel cell activities in the joint venture. Volvo Group will acquire 50 per cent in the joint venture for the sum estimated to be worth $1.35 billion on a cash and debt free basis.

As energy is emitted from batteries or by converting hydrogen on board into electricity, CO2- neutral transport can be accomplished through electric drive trains said Chairman of the Board of Management Daimler Truck AG Martin Daum.

“For trucks to cope with heavy loads and long distances, fuel cells are one important answer and a technology where Daimler has built up significant expertise through its Mercedes-Benz fuel cell unit over the last two decades,” he said.

“This joint initiative with the Volvo Group is a milestone in bringing fuel cell powered trucks and buses onto our roads,” said Daum.

Using hydrogen as a carrier of green electricity to power electric trucks in long-haul operations is one important part of the puzzle according to Volvo Group President and CEO Martin Lundstedt. “Combining the Volvo Group and Daimler’s experience in this area to accelerate the rate of development is good both for our customers and for society as a whole,” he said.

“By forming this joint venture, we are clearly showing that we believe in hydrogen fuel cells for commercial vehicles. But for this vision to become reality, other companies and institutions also need to support and contribute to this development, not least in order to establish the fuel infrastructure needed,” said Lundstedt. The joint venture will operate as an independent and autonomous entity, with Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group continuing to be competitors in all other areas of business.

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SFM wins major forest management contract

International Forest Industries - Wed, 20/05/2020 - 12:58

Tasmanian forest leader wins major management contract – Tasmanian- owned and operated company SFM has announced it has been appointed by New Forests to manage the timber plantation assets purchased from Norske Skog after a competitive tender process.

Now to be called Lenah Estate Pty Limited, the Tasmanian plantations were bought by Australian-based international forestry investor New Forests, on behalf of its Australia New Zealand Forest Fund 3 (ANZFF3), from Norske Skog in February this year.

“We are delighted to win this contract to manage such an extensive and quality resource that supports the Boyer mill, the Derwent Valley and wider Southern Tasmanian community and local farmers,” SFM Managing Director Andrew Morgan said today.

“SFM has a strong track record in plantation management, having multiple management contracts interstate, so to be successful in our home state is very gratifying,” Mr Morgan said.

Managing Director Andrew Morgan (left) with SFM Director David Wise .

The Lenah Estate land area under management by SFM is approximately 27,150 hectares across South Central Tasmania, predominantly the Derwent Valley. It includes 50 joint venture plantation projects with private landowners and Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT).18,000 hectares or 97.5% of the 18,500 plantable hectares is radiata pine softwood plantations. Around 350,000-400,000 tonnes will be harvested annually, with the majority going to the Norske Boyer mill. Lenah Estate will replant 500-1000 hectares per year.

SFM will open an office in New Norfolk employing a core team of 8 full-time employees, supported by the broader SFM business with more than 20 FTE employees and over 100 FTE sub-contracted truck drivers, plant operators and support services.

“In a competitive field of property manager proponents, New Forests considered SFM’s proposal attractive for its commitment to local staffing, its technical capacity and its local knowledge”, Matt Crapp, Director Operations, said.

“New Forests looks forward to working with SFM on the long-term management of the Lenah Estate, including its ongoing supply to the Boyer Mill and our shared intentions that the Estate maintains third-party forest management certification,” Mr Crapp said.

“New Forests aspire to build on the positive relationship that Norske Skog has had with its contractors, joint venture landowners and the general community. We see opportunities for continued investment in this significant plantation asset to enhance its long-term value and have asked SFM to consult widely with stakeholders to develop and refine these plans.”

SFM currently manages two plantation projects for New Forests, consisting of both hardwood and softwood species across three States – WA, SA and Victoria.

Lenah Estate will be a significant addition to the SFM portfolio, which includes harvesting, haulage and export of more than 500,000 tonnes of plantation timber per annum. Hydrowood, a world first operation salvaging Tasmanian specialty timbers standing underwater for decades is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SFM.

About SFM – SFM Environmental Solutions Pty Ltd is a professional forestry business that provides forest management and consultancy services to a range of clients in Australia and New Zealand. SFM provides certified forest management solutions under the Forest Stewardship Council and the PEFC/Responsible Wood certification systems so that its clients and the community can be assured that SFM provides a quality management service in line with world’s best practice.

Through its contractor networks and strong relationships with government agencies, forest companies and processors, SFM’s harvesting and marketing service offers an unprecedented level of efficiency resulting in maximum results for the tree grower.

Hydrowood, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SFM, salvages Tasmanian specialty timbers standing underwater for decades in man-made hydro-lakes and creates timber products for bespoke joinery, furniture and high-end architectural applications.

SFM prides itself on employing quality staff and maintaining high standards of operating systems to ensure the viability of the company and the natural resources it manages. SFM is headquartered in Hobart, Tasmania and has regional offices in Launceston (TAS), Mount Gambier (SA) and Tauranga (NZ).

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NZ – New registration system for forestry advisers and log traders

International Forest Industries - Wed, 20/05/2020 - 12:22

A new log registration scheme and practice standards will bring us one step closer to achieving ‘value over volume’ in our forestry sector, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.

New legislation introduced as part of Budget 2020 will require forestry advisers, log traders and exporters to register and work to nationally agreed practice standards that will strengthen the integrity of New Zealand’s forestry supply chain.

The new legislation follows a smaller package of measures announced late last year as part of the Government’s ambition to see a thriving forestry sector that benefits New Zealand and New Zealanders first and foremost.

“The COVID-19 crisis showed us how an overreliance on log exports to a small number of markets makes our forestry industry less resilient and more susceptible to global forces,” Shane Jones says.

“An enhanced domestic wood processing sector will play an important part of the recovery for our regional economies, helping create new export products, new jobs for Kiwis and a renewed sense of ownership of our forests.

“Industry consultation identified that improved professional standards, market assurance measures and better information resources were critical areas to enable a more integrated system. The quality of advice from forestry advisers and interactions with log traders is critical to the financial returns forest growers receive, and to the operation of the broader log market.

“The new regulatory system will provide some critical foundations to help the industry navigate what is anticipated to be a more volatile and uncertain trading environment during the COVID-19 recovery period.

“Having a more transparent market will better connect owners of land and owners of trees, and particularly for first-time entrants to the market to timber processors and marketers of forest resources to domestic and overseas customers.

“New Zealand’s log supply market is in transition, with smaller owners playing an increasingly important role in the annual harvest. Knowing that only registered professionals can provide forestry advice is expected to give growers greater confidence in the recommendations they receive on the management and valuation of their investment, and the financial returns achieved through the sales and purchase process,” Shane Jones says.

Forestry advisers will need to demonstrate they have the relevant skills, experience, and qualifications to advise growers, and undertake training and professional development in their specialist areas.

Log trading entities will need to pass a fit and proper person test, operate in accordance with industry standards, and meet record keeping and reporting requirements.

The Bill also allows for an arbitration and compliance system to support accountability.

“This will help support a continuous, predictable and long-term supply of timber for domestic processing and export and result in greater confidence in business transactions, both in New Zealand and internationally,” Shane Jones says

“These changes are critical for the country’s reputation as a reliable, high quality producer and exporter of wood products, and for the improved economic, employment and environmental outcomes for the industry and community regionally and nationally,” Shane Jones says.

Photo: Forestry Minister Shane Jones

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NZ – Manufacturers: Address unfair China trade

International Forest Industries - Wed, 20/05/2020 - 12:03

Efforts to rebuild a stronger export economy will be short-lived if the country doesn’t start addressing the cost of unfair trade practices by China, wood and steel processors say. A surge in export log prices – driven by demand from China – is part of a recurring issue that successive governments have failed to address, said Jon Tanner, chief executive of the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association.

The group has been promoting greater use of timber construction to underpin renewed investment in domestic processing and create more jobs in the sector. But the high cost of logs here increases the cost of domestic construction products and makes them less competitive with imports. It also makes it virtually impossible to export timber products to China.

Tanner said the issue goes beyond just steel and timber. While agricultural protections are not outlawed by the World Trade Organisation, New Zealand farmers were still facing unfair competition against subsidies in Europe and the US, yet that topic is seldom discussed at a policy level

“All our problems start with trade and unequal competition so therefore we’ve got to get that right first,” Tanner told BusinessDesk.

Chinese trade
New Zealand signed a free trade agreement with China in 2008 and has since seen two-way trade between the countries more than triple. Exports to China were worth $16.8 billion in the 12 months ended March 30, almost twice that of trade with Australia, our second largest market.

But in recent years NZ Steel has lodged three dumping claims related to Chinese steel products, while non-compliant building products imported from China have also attracted more attention from industry and officials.

In 2017, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment funded a study to understand why Chinese importers were paying above international rates for New Zealand logs. The study, by Forest Economic Advisors, noted the “extremely significant” trade imbalance between the countries, with New Zealand’s log exports volumes being 35-times the volume of value-add timber products we shipped to China.

Chinese buyers were effectively setting the domestic log price for New Zealand mills and only the most efficient, modern New Zealand mill could be competitive exporting product to China, the study found.

Source: BusinessDesk
Photo: Jon Tanner, Chief Executive of the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association.

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SPRINGER wins a major high-tech contract in Sweden

International Forest Industries - Wed, 20/05/2020 - 10:51

New generation of dry sorting: SPRINGER and SCA continue successful partnership

With its latest major order, the Swedish SCA Group has again proved that it trusts SPRINGER’s pioneering state-of-the-art technology and innovative product solutions. The Austrian family-owned business is designing and constructing a new, innovative and high-performance dry sorting plant for SCA Bollsta.

Tailor-made automatization and digitalization solutions are implemented, such as the beltless SPRINGER-E-CUT 200 trimmer, the fully automatic SPRINGER-ED 3000 Wrapper, the SPRINGER-Robotic Labeling System (RLS), as well as the SPRINGER IOT and GO-LIVE! system, which creates a complete digital twin of the real plant and brings it to life through a real-time data connection.

“We are delighted to be continuing our successful partnership with SCA. The new dry sorting plant combines superior digital technology with user-friendliness and efficiency”, comments Timo Springer the CEO of SPRINGER Maschinenfabrik GmbH. During the contract negotiations, our Swedish distribution partner LOAB gave us excellent support and reconciled the interests of SCA and Springer. According to Gert Fischinger, head of project planning, the order was issued following a very intensive, two-year project planning process and was based on SPRINGER’s latest product innovations.

The system is the largest single installation as well as the fastest one on the market. It can handle up to 230 boards per minute and 28 handovers per minute, which means that an annual resorting capacity of more than 750000m³ boards can be achieved with no more than three people operating the system. All plant sections are pre-installed, pre-assembled and commissioned at SPRINGER’s production facility.

Completion and handover of the project is scheduled for May 2023.

About SCA SCA was founded in 1929 and is headquartered in Sundsvall, Sweden. In 2019, the company employed around 4,000 people and achieved turnover of approximately SEK

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USNR – Grade recovery at high production rates

International Forest Industries - Tue, 19/05/2020 - 14:14

USNR’s End-Dog Carriage system captures grade recovery at high production levels. It features multipass capability, positive positioning, and total log control, giving you the tools to balance grade and production goals.

 The control system works with your scanning and optimization system enabling you to achieve incredible sawing accuracy and higher recovery.

 Three advanced cutting modes offer the flexibility to get the most from your resource. MOF+ and BOF modes improve consistency and maximize grade out, giving you more control over your product mix to meet market demands. Optimized Grade Sawing is the industry’s most advanced yet easy-to-use system available.

Click here to watch a video on this system.

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New John Deere H219 Harvester Head for Large Harvesters and Big Timber

International Forest Industries - Tue, 19/05/2020 - 11:58

The H219 is ideal for use with large harvesters and big timber. The two-wheel-drive H219 harvester head has dual-speed feed motors. Its feed force and speed automatically adjust to the size of the timber being processed. Delimbing quality is excellent regardless of the diameter of the timber. Long knives and large roller openings make it easy to grab the tree for fell cutting.

The combined function of two feed rollers and powerful delimbing knives provides smooth processing of straight and crooked trees alike. Better routing of the feed motor hoses and the hose protection increases the durability of the hoses. The feed motor’s hose connections outside the valve cover enable easy replacement of hoses, and the new, hinged valve covers improve serviceability.

The serviceability of the length measuring equipment has been improved, and the area around the equipment is better protected. The structure and the strength of the length measuring equipment have been improved, enabling use of the required pressure force of the measuring roller with all types of trees. A new measuring roller option has been developed for trees with thick bark.

Thanks to the TimberMatic control system, the measuring accuracy is excellent. The automatic zeroing of the length measuring with the Find End sensor facilitates and accelerates log processing.

The top-saw option maximizes productivity in hardwood harvesting and processing. The John Deere H219 is a powerful harvester head built for use with large wheeled and tracked harvesters. Additionally, the H219 harvester head is ideal for debarking big eucalyptus trees.

 Maximum cutting diameter 750 mm

 Feed force 37.7 / 28.1 kN

 Maximum feed speed 4.5–6.0 m/s

 Weight without rotator and link 1930 kg

New SuperCut 100S saw unit for all John Deere harvester heads
Starting in spring 2020, all John Deere harvester heads will have a new SuperCut 100S saw unit. The saw unit’s next-generation chain tensioning unit, automatic chain tensioning, and mechanical bar locking give it added efficiency and reliability. The improved chain release makes it easier to replace the saw chain. The new saw unit enables also a bigger selection in terms of saw motors and saw bars.

John Deere harvester heads are known for their productivity, reliability and measuring accuracy.
John Deere harvester heads are high performance tools that meet the industry’s stringent quality requirements in all working conditions. Harvester head testing is part of John Deere’s product testing process. Each harvester head model has been field-tested for thousands of hours before the start of serial production.

John Deere harvester heads are designed and manufactured in Finland.

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by Dr. Radut