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23 year old forest contracting business pulls the pin

5 June 2023
In NZ, a Gisborne-based forest contracting business owner is “devastated” by having to pull the pin on his 23-year-old company. Robert Stubbs (photo) owns Stubbs Contracting and forestry has been his life. Prior to owning the business, he spent 10 years working for others in the sector.

But after much angst and thinking, last week he shut up shop, and on Monday he was sitting on a forest skid site overseeing the removal of his harvest contracting gear. He will sell it on the second-hand market, but that was not going to make him much money.

“The market is flooded with equipment that’s not selling. The market is in a downturn situation, for, I don’t know, probably the third or fourth time since the beginning of Covid,” he said.

This was a situation a number of years in the making, he said – his costs had gone up, margins to make money were slim and as export log prices had kept dropping, forest owners dropped harvesting rates and pulled back on how many trees they wanted to harvest.

At its peak, Stubbs Contracting employed up to 70 people – that had now dropped to three harvest crews and about 25 people. Stubbs said the business had been going backwards for some time and it was forest contractors taking the hit.

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Source: NZ Herald

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