Log rush forecast after wild winds
PrimePort is expecting a rush of logs for export as forestry holders attempt to clean up after the last month of wild winds.
South Canterbury was battered by winds in excess of 100kmh on Monday, the second such onslaught in a matter of weeks.
It followed even heavier wind storms on September 10 and 11, and the region's forestry industry is still counting the cost of the cleanup.
The Ministry for Primary Industries estimates that between half a million and a million cubic metres of logs have been wind-thrown or suffered stem breakage because of the month of wild weather in the region.
PrimePort chief executive Jeremy Boys said there would likely be a rush of logs and forestry products arriving at the port some time within the next three months.
"We're prepared for it, we have enough land to store them. It's only going to be temporary, and then the activity will return to normal or drop a little as forestry owners assess the damage," he said.
MPI South Island regional manager Trish Burborough said it was too early to assess the financial impact of the last month of wild weather.
Some of the one million cubic metres of affected logs would be salvageable for export, and others would have to be scrapped.
"Wind-thrown trees are very dangerous to work with, as they can be unstable, unpredictable and under considerable tension," she said.
"The use of machine assistance should be considered as the first choice, and wind-thrown trees should only be felled by suitably trained forestry or arboriculture professionals."
Ms Burborough said most of the damage would be in the small to medium-sized wood lots.
"This creates a challenge for the industry, particularly in clearing the timber, but also in managing its route through the supply chain," she said. "Farmers have been busy with chainsaws, tidying up fallen trees, clearing access and making permanent repairs to fencing."
In the last financial year, about 241,000 tonnes of timber and logs were exported from Timaru. New Zealand exported about 13.8 million cubic metres of logs last year.
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