OneFortyOne’s Kaituna sawmill and partners celebrated their first ever woodchip export from Port Marlborough, as part of a new export initiative with partner Marusumi Whangarei Co ltd.
Woodchips have been piling up at Shakespeare Bay over the past three months in preparation for loading the Southern Star Vessel. Another ship is planned for the new year from which the wood chips are now accumulated.
Port Marlborough has been a key partner in providing logistical support for the trial operation, including 4,000m2 (0.4ha) in the Shakespeare Bay log yard currently for the operation.
Tracy Goss, managing director of Kaituna Sawmill, said the initiative has been in the works for four years. “This is part of our growth strategy and an exciting opportunity for us to diversify our wood residue market.”
“It also proved very beneficial when the Sh6/Sh63 roads to Nelson were closed during the August floods. Without this alternative growth market, the Kaituna plant would more than likely have to cease production during the roads.”
“Wood chips are a by-product generated during wood production. This new export initiative complements our existing market in New Zealand, and we now have access to a growing market in Japan where wood chips are used in next-generation cellulose nanofibers (CNFs).”
Angela MacKenzie, South Island Wood Council, said the export of wood chips from Port Marlborough opens up markets that were previously unavailable to industry in the Top of the South and will provide greater certainty in terms of employment and market.
“This is a huge boost for the local forestry industry and will have many positive effects on Marlborough. The Top of the South Wood Council is focused on exploring new applications for the use of this by-product, particularly biofuels, and appreciates OneFortyOne’s initiative to achieve this,” said Angela.
OneFortyOne Kaituna Sawmill has signed an agreement with Marusumi Whangarei Co to manage the export initiative. Marusumi has been exporting both softwood and hardwood chips from Marsden Point since 1995, primarily to its parent company Marusumi Paper Co. Ltd, and other end users in Japan and China.
OneFortyOne is a vertically integrated Trans-Tasman wood fiber company. It owns and operates sustainable softwood forests and innovative sawmills in Australia and New Zealand.