Machinery working with logs

Log trade strong again in FY20

CentrePort’s log trade has been growing at a steady pace for the past few years, driven by increasing demand and supported by expanding port and supply-chain capacity.

This year marked two distinct phases: the log trade experiencing a continuation of the strong growth; then a number of factors leading to a decline.

Logs continued to be exported from CentrePort as New Zealand escalated the COVID-19 alert levels. When New Zealand moved into Alert Level 4 at the end of March, forestry was not deemed an essential service, and this meant the log supply ceased for a period of weeks.

Following the shift down to Alert Level 3 on 27 April, the log trade saw a strong return towards forecast volumes.

Productivity and efficiency gains were achieved with the consolidation of log yards on port. The Kilo yard was separated from the main log yard. The Kilo yard was swapped in a like-for-like transfer with the container terminal. This created a single log yard, with the consolidation also aiding the container operation.

Continual system and process improvements boosted productivity. Vessel productivity for all exporters was 21 percent higher than the FY19 average.

141,636 140,504 111,521 144,628 145,050 145,771 120,690 97,047 ALERT L4 139,687 132,482 167,946 29,861

In the past six years, the growth in log volumes has been significant.

This year, 1,516,818 JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard) logs were exported. This was an 11 percent decline on the previous year due to a number of factors.

For CentrePort this was approximately one month of volume – or the period of the Alert Level 4 lockdown from late March to the end of April.

Aerial view of logs on port

Post lockdown, there was a strong rebound to normal log volumes.

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Log Hub Upgrades at Waingawa

CentrePort has been looking at innovative ways to continue developing cost-effective, safe, sustainable and efficient supply chain solutions to transport logs.

Aerial view of logs on port

The Waingawa log hub in Wairarapa was further improved in FY20 to support the efficient movement of logs directly to the port via the CentreRail service in partnership with KiwiRail.

CentrePort invested $3.8m in the expansion and upgrading of Waingawa. This was complemented by an investment by KiwiRail in track upgrade.

Capacity was increased from 9,000 JAS to 16,000 JAS, enabling an increase in maximum wagon capacity through to the port from 45 to 60 wagons per day.

The Waingawa facility and CentreRail service carrying all CentrePort log volumes removes approximately 30,000 truck movements per annum off the road. This helps support CentrePort’s carbon reduction strategy.

CentrePort will continue to invest in infrastructure and rail capacity to enable further growth in the log trade. This will include the enhancement and expansion of rail infrastructure on port.

“The development and expansion of the Waingawa hub has allowed Forest Enterprises to confidently plan the transport of our growing daily volume of logs to CentrePort. Switching truck transport options to the rail system mitigates the potential traffic impacts on other road users and our roadside neighbours. The investment CentrePort has put into Waingawa gives Forest Enterprises the confidence there is the logistics supply chain in place so we can continue to expand our business. Waingawa is a great asset for the regional Wairarapa economy.”

– Bert Hughes, CEO and Forestry Director, Forest Enterprises.