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Tree planting drones working on forest restoration

International Forest Industries - Mi, 03/06/2020 - 13:10

On land north of Toronto that previously burned in a wildfire, drones are hovering over fields and firing seed pods into the ground, planting native pine and spruce trees to help restore habitat for birds. Flash Forest, the Canadian start-up behind the project, plans to use its technology to plant 40,000 trees in the area this month. By the end of the year, as it expands to other regions, it will plant hundreds of thousands of trees. By 2028, the start-up aims to have planted a full 1 billion trees.

The company, along with a number of other companies employing tree planting drones (and already working with local companies on in-field trials) such as DroneSeed and AirSeed Technologies, believes that technology can help the world reach ambitious goals to restore forests to stem biodiversity loss and fight climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that it’s necessary to plant 1 billion hectares of trees—a forest roughly the size of the entire United States—to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Existing forests need to be protected while new trees are planted; right now, that isn’t working well. “There are a lot of different attempts to tackle reforestation,” says Flash Forest cofounder and chief strategy officer Angelique Ahlstrom. “But despite all of them, they’re still failing, with a net loss of 7 billion trees every year.”

Drones don’t address deforestation, which is arguably an even more critical issue than planting trees, since older trees can store much more carbon. But to restore forests that have already been lost, the drones can work more quickly and cheaply than humans planting with shovels. Flash Forest’s tech can currently plant 10,000 to 20,000 seed pods a day; as the technology advances, a pair of pilots will be able to plant 100,000 trees in a day (by hand, someone might typically be able to plant around 1,500 trees in a day, Ahlstrom says). The company aims to bring the cost down to 50 cents per tree, or around a fourth of the cost of some other tree restoration efforts.

When it begins work at a site, the start-up first sends mapping drones to survey the area, using software to identify the best places to plant based on the soil and existing plants. Next, a swarm of drones begins precisely dropping seed pods, packed in a proprietary mix that the company says encourages the seeds to germinate weeks before they otherwise would have. The seed pods are also designed to store moisture, so the seedlings can survive even with months of drought. In some areas, such as hilly terrain or in mangrove forests, the drones use a pneumatic firing device that shoots seed pods deeper into the soil. “It allows you to get into trickier areas that human planters can’t,” Ahlstrom says.

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Barko Hydraulics welcomes new dealer: Heavy Machines, Inc.

International Forest Industries - Mi, 03/06/2020 - 12:36

Barko Hydraulics (Barko) has announced the addition of Heavy Machines, Inc. (Heavy Machines) as the new Barko forestry equipment dealer for Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

As a diversified equipment distributor serving several regions throughout the United States, Heavy Machines has two branch locations in Maine, located in Portland and Skowhegan, to serve customers in the northeastern United States. Heavy Machines will provide sales and product support for Barko’s Merchandising Loader, Stationary Electric Loader, Utility Loader, Grapple, Tracked Harvester, Feller Buncher, and Processor product lines.

“New England has a rich history in the logging industry, and we’re very excited to be partnering with Heavy Machines to strengthen Barko’s position in this region,” said Joel Larsen, Barko President. “Heavy Machines puts their customers first and we’re proud to add Barko to their impressive product lineup.”

The company Heavy Machines, Inc. began as a specialty line dealer and has been serving the forest products industry since 1972. They have grown into a high-quality equipment distributor with nine branches in five states who are matched to serve the construction, mining, scrap, waste, and forest products industries in the regions they serve.

“We have supported the industry’s top equipment brands since our founding, and we’re looking forward to working with Barko,” said Steve Northcross, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing for Heavy Machines. “Today, our northeast operations have the people skills and support mechanisms to support Barko product lines for all current and future customers. We are proud to be a key part of Barko’s new legacy in this business.”

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PONSSE Parts Online added to PONSSE manager

International Forest Industries - Di, 02/06/2020 - 14:45

The addition of PONSSE Parts Online to PONSSE Manager makes the daily activities of forest machine entrepreneurs easier. Customers can order spare parts, browse spare parts manuals and instruction manuals, and monitor machine-specific notes behind one single user ID. Spare parts can be ordered directly from any PONSSE service centre, round the clock.

PONSSE Manager is a data management system with continuously developing features. With PONSSE Manager, entrepreneurs can monitor the progress of stands, print measuring certificates, plan and control machine transportation, and monitor machine production per assortment. What is more, PONSSE Manager reports total working hours, effective working hours, breaks, productivity and fuel consumption for completed shifts. PONSSE Manager displays engine hours, reports service notes registered by operators and supports the planning of machine maintenance by calculating the engine hours remaining until next maintenance.

To support their daily operations, forest machine entrepreneurs and productive forest machines need a reliable partner that can offer solutions that support the business operations of its customer. Ponsse has been a forerunner in forest machines and their telecommunications solutions for decades. Ponsse introduced the first computers on its forest machines in 1992, at which point it was already possible to transfer data between the machine and the office over the NMT network. In 1997, machines were for the first time connected to the Internet, which was a revolutionary innovation in the field.

Read more: www.ponsse.com/services/online-services

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New retailer for Ponsse in South Africa

International Forest Industries - Di, 02/06/2020 - 14:19

Starting from 2 June 2020, Ponsse’s retailer in South Africa will be M.T.S. Parts CC. The company will start as Ponsse’s official retailer, being responsible for the sale and maintenance of PONSSE forest machines, as well as spare parts services in South Africa. Green Projects, Ponsse’s current service provider in South Africa, will continue as Ponsse’s retailer until 1 June 2020.

This change aims to strengthen Ponsse’s after-sales services in South Africa. M.T.S. Parts CC. offers comprehensive maintenance services and has solid experience in PONSSE forest machines and cooperation with forestry companies. M.T.S. Parts has operated as Ponsse’s service partner in the Mpumalanga Province since 2014.

“M.T.S. Parts CC. was chosen to represent Ponsse because of its reputation as a reliable company and its customer-driven approach. It can provide PONSSE customers with strong support both in sales and maintenance services. Strong customer support has always been of primary importance to Ponsse, and it has also been the key to the success of M.T.S. In addition to service centres, the company uses well-equipped service vehicles to bring maintenance services close to customers”, comments area director Janne Tarvainen who´s in charge of the cooperation between Ponsse Plc and M.T.S.

M.T.S. Parts CC. offers a broad service range to forestry, agricultural and mining companies of all sizes, as well as to municipal operators. The company is based in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga.

“Our main goal has always been the prosperity of our customers, and we want to offer the best possible service for them. Together with Ponsse, we are determined to be the most reliable partner in the business and to live up to our promise to be “A Logger’s Best Friend”. Based on these principles, we have achieved a solid market position in our operating areas.  M.T.S. was founded in 2005, and we have supported diverse brands, such as Dezzi Equipment, Matriarch Equipment and Bell Equipment. Now, we will be working with the best forest machine manufacturer in the world”, says director Chris Odendaal from M.T.S. Parts CC.

FURTHER INFORMATION
Janne Tarvainen, Ponsse Plc
Area Director (South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal)
Contact information: tel. +358 40 1830 914, janne.tarvainen@ponsse.com

Chris Odendaal, Director, M.T.S. Parts CC
Contact information: tel. +27 137 524 571, mob. +27 825 757 447
chris@mtsparts.co.za
Address: 9 Suikerriet St, Nelspruit, 1201, South Africa

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A new retailer for Ponsse in Romania – IRUM

International Forest Industries - Di, 02/06/2020 - 14:03

Ponsse Plc has a new retailer in Romania. IRUM is the official retailer of Ponsse since the beginning of April 2020, responsible for the sale and maintenance of PONSSE forest machines. The change is carried out to strengthen the after-sales service for PONSSE customers in Romania.

IRUM offers extensive maintenance services in Romania and has strong experience in service provision for work machine clients. In addition to Ponsse, the company represents international manufacturers with company Maviprod SRL. IRUM offers a comprehensive service to agricultural and forestry companies of all sizes, as well as to municipal operators. The company’s head office in Reghin also provides training and technical support services. 

– IRUM has a strong reputation as a reliable company and it will offer solid support to PONSSE customers both in sales and services. Strong customer support is of primary importance both to Ponsse and Irum, and it is one of the main reasons why IRUM was selected to be our partner. In addition to maintenance service centres, IRUM uses well-equipped service vehicles to provide field service for our customers, oversees Area Director Gary Glendinning the cooperation between Ponsse and IRUM in the region.

IRUM
Founded in 1953, IRUM is a company specialized in machinery construction. Initially, operating as a state company, IRUM becomes a fully private owned company in 1999 with Maviprod as the main shareholder, dedicating itself since then mainly to the forest industry.

Today, after 67 years, the company has over 600 employees and A 175,000 m2 factory in Reghin, Transilvania. Irum has more than 20 years of experience with Perkins diesel engines and more than 50 year of skidder manufacturer.

In order to better serve the needs of customers throughout the country, the company has expanded by setting up a national distribution network with over 15 sales locations, 24/7 technical assistance services for both forestry and agricultural equipment, as well as working points in Hungary and the Republic of Moldova.

FURTHER INFORMATION
Gary Glendinning
Area Director (Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy)
Ponsse Plc
tel. +44 775 372 0906, email gary.glendinning@ponsse.com

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New Chairman for Ponsse Plc

International Forest Industries - Di, 02/06/2020 - 13:43

New Chairman of the Board of Directors for Ponsse Plc – Marko Mattila joins the company’s Management Team

Ponsse Plc has appointed a new Chairman of the Board of Directors. At its organising meeting held on 27 May, Ponsse’s Board of Directors elected Jarmo Vidgrén (44) as its Chairman. Juha Vidgrén (49), Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors since 2010, will continue as an ordinary member of the Board. At the same time, Marko Mattila will join the company’s Management Team.

“I have chaired our company’s Board of Directors for ten years, and it’s now time to bring fresh energy to the Board. Jarmo’s vast experience, starting from 1997, in various positions in Ponsse’s customer interface strengthens our Board of Directors. I will continue as an ordinary member of the Board and work daily in the field of HR and public affairs, just like before”, says Juha Vidgrén, member of Ponsse Plc’s Board of Directors.

Jarmo Vidgrén was appointed to Ponsse Plc’s Board of Directors at the Annual General Meeting held 27 May. Before his election as the Chairman of the Board of Directors, he worked as the Sales and Marketing Director and Deputy CEO, being in charge of Ponsse’s global sales and after-sales services since 2008.  As a result of this change, all head owners of the family-owned company, four sons of Ponsse’s founder Einari Vidgrén, are members of the company’s Board of Directors. Mammu Kaario will continue as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors.

“The Chairman of Ponsse’s Board of Directors has traditionally worked close to the operational management and has highlighted the company’s customer-driven approach. These changes streamline our operations and clarify roles in the organisation and the owner family”, says Jarmo Vidgrén, chair of Ponsse Plc’s Board of Directors.

CFO Petri Härkönen will act as the company’s Deputy CEO.

Marko Mattila appointed to Ponsse Plc’s Management Team

Marko Mattila (46), forest engineer, MBA, will replace Jarmo Vidgrén as the Sales and Marketing Director, starting from 1 June 2020. At the same time, Mattila will start as a member of Ponsse Plc’s Management Team.

Marko Mattila has vast experience in the operation and development of Ponsse’s network. He will transfer to his new position from the position of the Director, retail network development. Mattila has worked at Ponsse Plc since 2007. In addition, he has worked as the Managing Director of Ponsse North America Inc, Ponsse’s subsidiary in the US, and Ponsse Latin America Ltda, Ponsse’s subsidiary in Brazil. He has also worked as an Area Director responsible for North America´s dealer network, Baltic countries and Chile.

Marko Mattila will be responsible for Ponsse Plc’s sales, marketing and maintenance throughout the Ponsse network. In the Ponsse retail network, Mattila will be responsible for retailers operating under Ponsse’s subsidiaries. 

Marko Mattila will be located in Jyväskylä, Finland and he will report to Juho Nummela, President and CEO of Ponsse Plc.

Jussi Hentunen to lead retail network development
Jussi Hentunen (37) will replace Marko Mattila as the Director, Dealer development, starting from 1 June 2020. Hentunen will transfer to his new position from the position of the Director, Used Machines Global Business. He has worked at Ponsse in various sales, marketing and used machine positions since 2004.

Jussi Hentunen will be located in Vieremä, and he will report to Sales and Marketing Director Marko Mattila.

Vieremä, 27 May 2020

Further information:
Jarmo Vidgrén, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ponsse Plc, tel. +358 40 519 1486
Juha Vidgrén, Member of the Board of Directors of Ponsse Plc, tel. +358 40 518 6286
Juho Nummela, President and CEO of Ponsse Plc, tel. +358 40 0495690
Marko Mattila, Sales and Marketing Director of Ponsse Plc starting from 1 June 2020, tel. +358 40 059 6297

Ponsse Plc specialises in the sale, production, maintenance and technology of cut-to-length method forest machines and is driven by a genuine interest in its customers and their business operations. Ponsse develops and manufactures sustainable and innovative harvesting solutions based on customer needs.

The company was established by forest machine entrepreneur Einari Vidgrén in 1970 and has been a leader in timber harvesting solutions based on the cut-to-length method ever since. Ponsse is headquartered in Vieremä, Finland. The company’s shares are quoted on the NASDAQ OMX Nordic List. This year, the company celebrates its 50th anniversary.

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Sing for the Climate

International Forest Industries - Di, 02/06/2020 - 12:42

DelfieArt have recently released a new version of Sing for the Climate.

For more info contact:
DelfieArt
Lucy Hamilton: hi@DelfieArt.com
DelfieArt Co-founder

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The Coronavirus Has Not Stopped the Global Trade of Forest Products

International Forest Industries - Fr, 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
info@WoodPrices.com

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US – Bilingual Sales Representative wanted

International Forest Industries - Fr, 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 - Fr, 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 - Fr, 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 - Mi, 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 - Mi, 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.

The post NZ – Logging Halt Hits Exports appeared first on International Forest Industries.

New Plant Manager at Komatsu Forest

International Forest Industries - Mi, 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 - Di, 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 - Fr, 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 - Do, 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.

Enquiries
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 - Mi, 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.”

The post Network Rail, Lynemouth Power, Port of Tyne and GBRF working together to keep 450,000 homes powered appeared first on International Forest Industries.

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

International Forest Industries - Mi, 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 - Mi, 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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by Dr. Radut