During the 2000s recession, the woodchipping industry was
severely hit, often closing down for extended periods.
Every day the woodchipping industry was shut down
saved up to 3,000 trees and the wildlife that those trees
global downturn hit the paper/woodchip industry very
hard. At Easter 2009, the chipmill announced it would close
for almost 3 weeks, longer than the national shutdown of 10
days. For much of the rest of the year, it worked a 4 day week.
Unfortunately, activity levels are now returning to normal
Eden, anecdotal reports of 6 woodchip carrier visits
cancelled in 2009.
ships were moored off Twofold Bay (location off South East
Fibre Exports chipmill) for extended periods in January-
February, one for 28 days. One left empty, another loaded
some pine chips.
Anecdotal observations of greatly reduced log truck numbers
travelling to the chipmill.
Conservationists confirmed the downturn in truck activity on 6
March 2009 when truck movements into the chipmill were
monitored. This demonstrated a 40% drop from typical numbers
in recent years. By September 2010, truck number were still
25% down on 2008 numbers.
Numbers on 6 March were just 98, compared to a typical daily
tally in recent years of 160 - 165. On one day in September
2008, we counted 190 in a day. Figures also show that the
pine market has collapsed. Last September, there were 29
trucks in a day, on 6 March there were just 11.
2009, South East Fibre Exports closed for 3 weeks.
The Eden chipmill was
cleared bush in order to expand its log stockpile as take or
pay contracts with Forests NSW forced it to keep on buying
logs it could not sell.
With wood chip royalty prices already about half in real terms
what they were 20 years ago, we expect further
major industry pressure to lower royalties still further as the
Eden Wood Supply Agreement comes up for renewal lin 2010.
from industry (a monopoly buyer from a monopoly seller) for
lower prices will come from consequences of the global economic
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As the woodchip market collapse bit, the
industry geared up to put pressure on governments to liberalise the
conditions under which native forest wood can be burned to
Plantations and the recession
plantation sector was the first to feel the pinch,
especially from the start of the year (e.g., media reports
of $16M cancelled woodchip orders from Portland in January),
but the native forest sector is now feeling it as well.
January media reports Gunns intention to
delay their blue gum plantation harvest in SW Victoria.
February 2009 media reports said Gunns would temporarily close 2
of their Tasmanian chipmills.
reports had 3 Gunns chipmills in Tasmania closing for
periods of 2 to 3 weeks, with all 3 mills going on to a 4
day week once they resumed operations. That is probably
about now. Havenít heard whether this is still Gunnsí
Tasmanian media reports said that contractors there
experienced a 40% reduction in activity.
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