Focus on keeping the value in NZ timber
Passionate about New Zealand’s sawmilling and forestry industries, Napier Pine founding director, Mukti Mukti, has a message of hope for the two industries.
Napier Pine is a medium-sized sawmill producing about 160 cubic metres of sawn and dried radiata pine on a daily basis, almost all of which is exported.
With 20 years operating in the New Zealand industry, Mukti suggests that while log exports are very good at the moment, the challenge the industry faces is globalisation.
“People complain why aren’t we doing anything about the log exports—but I don’t think sawmills or the industry has the right to complain about it. ‘The forest owner needs to make the most out of their logs. They have to find the best price – that’s how business works.”
But he says there needs to be more dialogue and engagement between the saw millers and the forest owners to maximise returns for the mutual benefit of the two industries.
“A lot of the time a good log that could be sold at a higher price to a New Zealand sawmill like us will be exported and you cannot preserve the quality of the logs when you export them.
“When you export a pruned log from New Zealand, it takes 4-8 weeks or more to reach its destination. They’re already going off, lose their value then get milled overseas to a lower quality product.”
Mukti says a lot of the time it’s just easier for the forest owner to export the logs, sacrificing their value. “It would be better to cut and dry those logs here preserving the value of the timber and also the small to medium-sized saw mills.”
For New Zealand’s small to medium-sized sawmills to compete with global sawmills they have to find the competitive edge, pay the better price for the logs and secure a consistent supply.
While Napier Pine and others are already paying par or better than the export price for logs, many refuse to do so and therefore cannot get secure supply agreements.
“We have to work more closely with the forest owner so that we can screen the logs to get the best quality log.
“We can pay more to the forest owner instead of Focus on keeping the value in NZ timberthe owner taking the easy path and exporting the whole lot and the New Zealand industry losing all the good quality logs along with the lower grade ones.”
The emerging market of timber modification for which radiata pine is one of the most popular timbers, offers hope.“Good quality pruned logs are needed to produce the feedstock for this market.
“It is time for sawmills in New Zealand to work together closely with the forest owner to extract the best value of our pruned logs before we ship the logs.”
“This way, we maintain the existence of a small to medium-size sawmills in New Zealand and I believe will also return a better “pruned log value” to the forest owner.”
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