The first shipment of radiata pine logs is being loaded at the Albany Port today, Monday 16 July 2007 following an agreement between the Forest Products Commission and Pentarch Forest Products Pty Ltd.
Albany FPC senior forester, Neil Worrell said the small logs are from the first thinnings of the 3,500 hectares of radiata pine plantation planted in the region between 1987 and 1992.
The logs are being loaded onto Pentarch’s ship the ‘Sea Sparkle’ and will be shipped overseas for low grade sawn product and for pulp.
This is the first of an estimated 400,000 cubic metres over the next four years to be exported from the Albany Port under the contract.
The price of radiata on the world market has recently risen enabling the FPC to sell the wood to Pentarch at a price that makes it feasible to thin the plantations.
This has meant increased employment opportunities with approximately 12 people directly employed by FPC contractors involved in the harvesting and carting of the logs to the Port. In addition, contractors will be involved in tree marking and roading to allow access for the trucks. Pentarch is also engaging contractors to handle the logs at the Port.
“The greatest value of this market is in the future as it will allow the remaining trees to grow on to producing good quality sawlogs from the second thinning and clearfall. For the farmers who entered the scheme they will now see an increase in the value of their crop share,” said Mr Worrell.
“Finding a market for first thinnings has been difficult and unfortunately the extent of the radiata pine plantation resource around Albany was too small to justify a major processing plant locally. Some small pines are used in Mt Barker for preservative treatment, however it cannot utilise all the small logs available from thinning.”
The FPC is still working with potential buyers to secure a market for the small diameter logs from the crown of the trees being harvested for Pentarch.