OneFortyOne’s Kaituna Sawmill and its partners celebrated its first export shipment of woodchip out of Port Marlborough this week, as part of a new export initiative with partner Marusumi Whangarei Co ltd.
Woodchip has been accumulating at Shakespeare Bay over the last three months, in preparation for the loading of the Southern Star Vessel which docked on Monday 9am and departed Wednesday 6pm. Another vessel is planned for the new year of which woodchip is now being accumulated.
Port Marlborough has been a critical partner in providing logistical support for the trial operation, including 4,000m2 (0.4 ha) in the port’s Shakespeare Bay log yard currently for the operation.
Tracy Goss, General Manager Kaituna Sawmill said this initiative has been four years in the making. “It is part of our growth strategy and an exciting opportunity for us to diversify our wood residues market.”
“It also happened to be very beneficial when Sh6/Sh63 roads to Nelson were closed during the flooding events in August. Without this alternative growth market, the Kaituna Mill more than likely would need to cease production during the road closures.”
“The woodchip is a by-product generated during timber production. This new export initiative complements our existing market in New Zealand, and we now have access to a growth market in Japan where woodchip is used in next generation cellulose nanofiber (CNF)”.
Rhys Welbourn, Port Marlborough CEO said the diversification of the port’s forestry industry offering was important for Marlborough.
“Port Marlborough supports several key industries in the region and we are always looking at ways to add value for our customers. This is an exciting opportunity for us to diversify our wood export offering, and to develop our commercial partnerships with industry leaders OneFortyOne.”
Angela MacKenzie, South Island Wood Council said the exporting of wood chips from Port Marlborough opens up markets that haven’t previously been available to the industry in the Top of the South and will provide greater employment and market certainty.
“This is a huge boost for the local forest industry and will have many positive flow-on effects for Marlborough.
“The Top of the South Wood Council is focused on exploring new applications for the use of this by-product, especially biofuels and is appreciative of the initiative of OneFortyOne in making this happen,” said Angela.
OneFortyOne Kaituna Sawmill signed an agreement with Marusumi Whangarei Co to manage the export initiative. Marusumi has been exporting both softwood and hardwood chip from Marsden point since 1995, predominantly to its parent company Marusumi Paper Co. Ltd, and other end users in Japan and China.