Image

NZ log export prices firm in November

29 November 2023
Prices for NZ log exports are slowly improving, but a forestry consultant says the sector must find new international markets to reduce its reliance on China. Export prices have firmed this month, with sales to New Zealand’s largest customer, China, picking up – despite its post-Covid construction slowdown.

November prices rose $9 on October, approaching NZ$110 per Japanese Agricultural Standard metre-squared at the wharf gate of South Island ports, and $5-10 more for North Island exporters. Sales are solid for log exporters. New Zealand exports to China have been dropping. Log, wood and wood article exports made up NZ$4.8 billion of New Zealand’s total NZ$46b of goods bound for the country in the year to September.

Allan Laurie of forestry consultancy and managment firm Laurie Forestry said it was vital forestry companies tried to seek new markets. “China continues to be 80 percent of what we do into export markets and that’s a challenge, of course, and one that the New Zealand forestry sector has to consider,” Laurie said.

But he said money-tight forestry companies would struggle to fund in-market research and trips abroad to find new customers globally. “It’s really time for New Zealand forestry Inc to get out into the world and start to look at other markets and improve our sales opportunities internationally, looking to non-traditional markets even where we know radiata pine stands very, very well against many other species.”

Laurie wanted to see larger tariffs and increased levy fees so companies could partner with government officials to develop those new markets. He said the South Korean market was “probably in even worse shape than China right now” – but India was standing out as having good opportunities for New Zealand radiata pine exporters – at prices close to Chinese values.

“India has not been a great market for New Zealand over the last couple of years with countries like Uruguay shipping in cheaper fibre. But there is some pressure on exporters at the moment to look back to India as an opportunity and my understanding is there’s a vessel heading up there this month for the first time in some time.”

Diversification was key for the sector as most of the country’s sawmills relied on exports, but there was more timber being produced than being consumed, he said.

Recently, Japanese-owned Juken New Zealand announced 80 staff would lose their jobs once the Gisborne Mill shuts down due to ongoing financial difficulties and weak demand for its Japanese housing wood products. Laurie said intense competition between New Zealand’s export sawmills influenced the unfortunate closure.

“Yes, that it is a shame. It is a reflection of a sawmilling capacity in New Zealand which in a standard month is in excess of demand so then you see challenges around pricing. Sawmills tend to compete with each other very rigorously so it’s a challenging time for sawmills, their margins are down.”

Sawmill owners were taking on big losses in their export lumber sales – with markets across Southeast Asia being inundated with supply amid weak pricing, he said.

Source: RNZ

Read More
Image

Decarbonising transport & logistics

New Zealand environmental specialist, Toitū, recently held a panel to discuss how New Zealand’s transportation and logistics industry, the nation’s second-largest emissions source, can take effective climate action. They shed light on the critical pressures facing supply chains and how to respond ...
Read more
Image

Calling all NZ loader operators – be part of this study

Driven by mechanisation, traditional career pathways in forestry crews are evolving. As part of the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme, ‘Te Mahi Ngahere i te Ao Hurihuri – Forestry Work in the Modern Age’, the Scion Human Factors research group ...
Read more
Image

Every second counts

During hot and dry periods, there is a serious risk of wildfires. Moreover, a single spark can be enough to start one, in which case every second counts. Having fire extinguishing equipment close at hand can make all the difference ...
Read more
Image

NZ forestry H&S statistics updated – March 2024

Safetree NZ has released their H&S stats dashboard for March 2024. WorkSafe provides statistics on forestry fatalities and workplace incidents. These investigations help inform us of any key issues or trends as they come to light. Overall, there is a downward trend ...
Read more
Image

Electrifying all trucks will cost less

The Clean Freight Coalition recently released a report suggesting a staggering US$1 trillion investment would be required to electrify 100% of the US truck fleet. However, a critical analysis reveals serious flaws in this estimation. Daimler Truck North America, a ...
Read more
Image

The future of forestry in Australia – hear the discussion

While it is a long-running debate, trees are not just part of the forest, but a valuable part of farms. It’s the future of forestry in Australia, according to a recent discussion on the ABC Listen podcast. There are many groups ...
Read more
Image

Transport: Hydrogen still has advantage over batteries

It’s April 2024 and some of Australia’s fossil fuel majors are still touting hydrogen powered vehicles as a solution for decarbonising transport.In a recent article, the ABC quoted Dr Steven Percy, a senior research fellow at the Victorian Hydrogen Hub, ...
Read more
Image

PF Olsen NZ log market report – April 2024

Market Summary At Wharf Gate (AWG) log prices across New Zealand dropped an average of 17% in April. April AWG log prices are about 15% below the two-year average. CFR prices for A grade logs in China have bottomed in ...
Read more
Image

AI powered fire projection in Tasmania

We reported several months ago the installation of AI powered early warning forest fire detection systems in South Australia by SFM. The system was developed by Pano AI and trained the cameras on millions of landscape images to spot the first ...
Read more