Large build-up of anchored log ships

Friday 9 Jul 2021

The build-up of log ships anchored off Gisborne continues as Eastland Port catches up on a backlog of exports caused by heavy swells and restricted access during wharf repairs. About a dozen log ships were visible at anchor on Tuesday morning.

Eastland Group chief operating officer Andrew Gaddum described it as the biggest build-up of ships at anchor off Gisborne since World War 1 when coastal shipping was at its peak. Log exports were resumed at the weekend when heavy seas subsided. The logger Taikoo Brilliance was loaded over the weekend and sailed early yesterday afternoon. Within an hour, another ship, the AC Kathryn, was brought in and docked to start loading.

Mr Gaddum said restricted access to the export berth through June due to wharf repairs and poor weather contributed to the backlog. “The forestry industry is working to find practical solutions for the increasing demand on a single log berth,” he said. “As a group we have implemented some processes and we will continue to collaborate on more initiatives and efficiencies to ease the pressure on the forestry industry.

“This situation also highlights the importance of the Twin Berth Project, which will help future-proof the port. It will allow two logging ships to berth at once, making operations twice as efficient.”

“This is an evolving situation and Eastland Port will provide further updates in the coming days,” Mr Gaddum said. The New Zealand Herald reported on Tuesday that it would take about a month to clear the backlog of ships. Additional factors involved in the backlog included bulk freight being knocked out of kilter worldwide by the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on supply chains, and logging companies ordering surplus capacity.

Demand for logs from China has been running hot and the port was on track for the biggest year in its history, Mr Gaddum said. “We’re in the throes of a bit of a gold rush at the moment,” he said. Idle logging ships were costing their owners about NZ$35,000 a day.

Source: gisborneherald

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