Friday Offcuts – 17 March 2023

growing info milling transportation forest products

Click to Subscribe - It's FREE!

In forest technology this week, we’ve built in the results of recently completed, FWPA-supported collaborative research demonstrating the potential of using dense, 3D point cloud data to link tree and plot-level measurements in Australia’s native forests. One of the main driving forces behind the adoption of airborne laser and mobile laser scanning to collect forest data has, up until now, really been focussed on plantation forest resource management.

We are pleased to announce details of the eagerly awaited Environmental Forestry 2023 conference running in Rotorua, New Zealand on 20-21 June have also just been uploaded to the event website. This event, run for the first-time last year, brings together a diverse range of people from environmental, operations, technical and management from across the forestry industry together with local and central government. Programme details can be found here. Further details will follow.

We cover a story that outlines how a new biodegradable seed carrier referred to as E-seed has been designed. In short, the autonomous carrier engages with the ground, it pushes itself upright and then unwinds creating torque to drill down to bury the seed. The University led team says that work is underway to adapt this concept for planting seedlings. Well, it's certainly thinking outside the square. Check out the video and all will be explained.

Perhaps not as futuristic, but still right at the leading edge, this week we invite our first expressions of interest to anyone interested in presenting at ForestTECH 2023 later in November. Last year, because of Covid interruptions we ran two events; one on-line in March, then a full in-person technology series, in Rotorua and Melbourne ran for the forest industry in November. Over 600 foresters participated in our 2022 events. Full details re content and themes for this year, are contained below. Today's message is, if you're keen to be involved as a speaker at our premier annual forest technology event, please get in touch with us now.

Finally, this week, we have a new wood transport log measurement technology to show you this week. Its a video of ISO’s new Mobile Log Scaler, a semi-autonomous robot that can image and scale logs, on rail wagons. The investment, designed and built in collaboration with RoboticsPlus, is being trialled at the Port of Tauranga. This, along with a raft of new log scaling technologies, are going to be detailed at the upcoming Wood Transport & Logistics 2023 event that will be running in Rotorua, NZ on 24-25 May. That’s it for this week. Enjoy.

Subscribe a friend | Unsubscribe | Advertise Here

Our Partners & Sponsors

Friday Offcuts is made possible through the generous support of the following companies.
We are grateful for this support.

This week we have for you:

Recent Comments

Laser technology to measure native forests

The results of a recently completed, FWPA-supported collaborative research project have demonstrated the potential of using dense, 3D point cloud data to link tree and plot-level measurements in native forests, gathered using a mobile laser scanner (MLS), alongside airborne laser scanning (ALS) data.

Laser scanning native forests

Over the last two decades, the need for effective plantation forest resource management has been one of the main driving forces behind the adoption of ALS and MLS by industry.

However, less attention has been given to the use of these technologies in Australian native forests. Increasing recognition of the importance of native forests in providing ecological and social ecosystem services, in addition to economic benefits through timber harvest, has led to increased demand for quantitative information on their condition and ecological status, from industry and beyond.

Successful sustainable management of our native forests requires detailed information on forest structural diversity and composition, to gain an accurate sense of the arrangement and distribution of the vegetation elements within them. Therefore, the timely gathering of relevant metrics is a key component of monitoring, reporting and evaluation activities undertaken by forest managers. A collaborative 12-month scoping study was recently undertaken, led by Dr Christine Stone and Dr Sam Hislop of the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, in response to the increased demand from forest managers for effective ways to monitor and report on factors relating to the structure and composition of native forests.

Advanced technologies

The vast areas covered by Australian native forests present the need to implement multi-source methods that link traditionally gathered terrestrial tree and plot-level measurements collected through terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), alongside additional data acquired through modern terrestrial, airborne and satellite technologies.

The concept of an integrated, multi-source, multi-scale framework for monitoring large areas of native forest is fast becoming a reality through the adoption of rapidly advancing remote sensing technologies such as LiDAR (Light (laser) Detection and Ranging). These advanced laser scanners acquire accurate and precise 3D point cloud data from terrestrial scanners, drones, aircraft and even satellites.

More >>

Source: ForWood Feb 23, FWPA
Comment on story    

Mobile log scaling innovation at Tauranga

ISO Limited is readying another significant technology investment, at the Port of Tauranga. The Mobile Log Scaler is a semi-autonomous robot which will image and scale logs, on rail wagons. The investment, designed and built in collaboration with RoboticsPlus, is a step change in how logs on rail are measured and managed.

Utilizing the same image processing technologies as ISO’s fixed Robotic Scaling Machines, the mobile unit will traverse a rake of rail wagons, determine the optimal imaging position and image the log face, all without operator intervention. The operator’s only job is to line the Robot up, and push ‘Start’. The Robot will stop automatically when the last wagon in the rake is processed. The link below shows the machine in operation, during trials.

ISO as part of the upcoming Wood Transport & Logistics 2023 event will be presenting on this new technology, along with a number of other presentations from companies involved in rolling out and using new log measurement and scaling technologies. Details on the programme for the 24-25 May event along with registrations can be found on the event website,

Comment on story    

High resolution imagery of flood-hit areas

New high-resolution, satellite imagery providing a birds-eye view of Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact on the North Island’s east coast is now available online as part of New Zealand’s emergency response.

Photo: Before and after: The image on the left shows the area around Mohaka River, Te Haroto, before Cyclone Gabrielle. The image on the right is the same area captured shortly after the cyclone – on 21 February 2023 – clearly showing the resulting landslips and flood damage. Image credit: LINZ Basemaps

The satellite imagery covers about one-third of the North Island and is available to the public via the Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) Basemaps and LINZ Data Service online platforms. It provides detailed, post-cyclone imagery of the Hawke’s Bay, Tairāwhiti and Tararua districts.

Basemaps: North Island 0.5m Cyclone Gabrielle Satellite Imagery (21 February 2023)

LINZ Data Service: North Island 0.5m Cyclone Gabrielle Satellite Imagery (2023)

LINZ worked closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Hawke’s Bay Regional and Gisborne District councils, and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to understand which data would be most useful to cyclone recovery efforts. The resulting satellite imagery was taken shortly after the cyclone, showing the impact of flooding and landslides.

“Being able to see cyclone-hit areas in great detail is useful for those involved in the response and recovery – such as local and central government agencies, farmers, community groups and industry boards,” says LINZ Head of Location Information Aaron Jordan.

“Users can zoom in to see detailed pictures of how flooding caused by Cyclone Gabrielle has impacted local infrastructure such as houses, roads and communities. Analysing this information helps with making decisions. “Collecting, maintaining and sharing land information is our core business and we’re pleased to be able to support affected communities in this way as they recover from this devastating weather event.”

MPI Director of Forestry Insights Debbie Ward says the imagery will provide vital information to enable detailed assessment of the damage. “It will be useful for multiple agencies both in the recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle and also modelling for future risks and mitigation,” she says.

Our new satellite imagery complements an earlier release of aerial photography commissioned by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and captured via an aeroplane - also available via LINZ Data Service.

Source: LINZ

Comment on story    

2023 Science and Innovation Awards winner congratulated

FWPA is proud to congratulate Ashley Jones, winner of the forest and wood products industry category in the 2023 Science and Innovation Awards Our FWPA representative, judge of the contest and Statistics & Economics Manager, Kevin Peachey, was proud to present Ashley (Ash) Jones, from Australian National University, with the award for his work in identifying the dynamic plant RNA modifications needed to combat myrtle rust.

The 2023 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is a competitive grants program that supports young people to undertake a project on an innovative or emerging scientific issue, including biophysical and social sciences, which will contribute to the ongoing success and sustainability of Australia's agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries.

The Science Awards aim to encourage science, innovation and technology in rural industries and help to advance the careers of young researchers, scientists, producers and innovators through national recognition of their research ideas.

The Awards are coordinated by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), part of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and were attended and presented by Hon Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry at the awards dinner on Wednesday 8 March held in conjunction with the 2023 Outlook Conference.

Winners have been provided funding to undertake a project on an emerging scientific issue or innovative activity which will contribute to the success of Australia’s agriculture sector. FWPA is a proud sponsor of this award, which showcases up and coming young scientists in the forest and wood products sector, encouraging innovation and providing well-deserved recognition to these young change-makers of Australia.

Well done to Ash and congratulations to all of the winners on the night.

Source: FWPA

Comment on story    

Engineered magic: wooden seed carriers

Geometric design and engineering of biodegradable materials could improve versatility, efficiency of aerial seeding

How seeds implant themselves in soil can seem magical. Take some varieties of Erodium, whose five-petalled flowers of purple, pink or white look like geraniums. The seed of these plants is carried inside a thin, tightly wound stalk. During rain or high humidity, the corkscrew-like stalk unwinds and twists the seed into the soil, where it can take root and is safe from hungry birds and harsh environmental conditions.

Inspired by Erodium's magic, Lining Yao, the Cooper-Siegel Assistant Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University, worked with a team of collaborators to engineer a biodegradable seed carrier referred to as E-seed. Their seed carrier, fashioned from wood veneer, could enable aerial seeding of difficult-to-access areas, and could be used for a variety of seeds or fertilizers and adapted to many different environments. It's an idea that Yao, the daughter of part-time farmers, has pondered since she was a Ph.D. student at MIT in the mid-2010s.

"Seed burial has been heavily studied for decades in terms of mechanics, physics and materials science, but until now, no one has created an engineering equivalent," said Yao, director of the Morphing Matter Lab in the School of Computer Science's Human-Computer Interaction Institute. "The seed carrier research has been particularly rewarding because of its potential social impact. We get excited about things that could have a beneficial effect on nature."

The team's research appeared in the February issue of Nature.

Danli Luo, a former research assistant at the Morphing Matter Lab and the lead author of the Nature paper, said design and construction of the seed carrier were inspired by the self-burying mechanism that Erodium evolved as it adapted to arid climates.

Erodium's stalk forms a tightly wound, seed-carrying body with a long, curved tail at the top. When it begins to unwind, the twisting tail engages with the ground, causing the seed carrier to push itself upright. Further unwinding creates torque to drill down into the ground, burying the seed.

"Making E-seed through digital design and fabrication methods is crucial for our long-term goals," said Guanyun Wang, a former postdoctoral researcher in the Morphing Matter Lab who continued on the project after assuming a faculty position at Zhejiang University. In addition to seeds, the researchers demonstrated they could use the carriers to deliver nematodes (worms used as natural pesticides), fertilizers and fungi. Work is also underway to adapt them for planting seedlings.

More >>

Comment on story    

Early EOI to present at ForestTECH 2023

In 2021 and 2022, the ForestTECH series, like many other meetings and events, was disrupted by Covid. In saying that, over 300 delegates from 15 different countries were involved with an on-line ForestTECH event run for the industry in February last year.

Having not met up for three years in Australia, the end of year ForestTECH series also ran in-person in November 2022. Again, we had over 300 delegates involved in Rotorua, New Zealand and Melbourne, Australia.

As well as local foresters meeting face to face in the two countries, forestry companies from across Australia, Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia. Brazil, Chile, USA, Canada, Sweden, Finland and Latvia participated remotely with live streaming being offered from the NZ leg of the November series. This in addition to similar turnouts over the last few years, has again reinforced the true international standing that this annual forestry technology series now has.

Feedback from the 2022 delegates very clearly told us that the 2023 event should stay with the same two themes; (a) remote sensing, forest data capture and inventory management, and (b), tree crop management, automated silviculture (including mechanised planting, thinning and pruning) and forest establishment that had been used since 2020.

The ForestTECH 2023 event is now planned to be run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 14-15 November 2023 and again in Melbourne, Australia on 21-22 November 2023. Early details can be found on the event website,

Early calls for Expressions of Interest to present

Again, the very latest developments around remote sensing, data capture, forest inventory, tree establishment, automated silviculture and mechanised planting will form the basis of the technology update. It will include research and trial results, new and developing technologies and key lessons from industry on the practical integration of new technology into forest operations.

From the ForestTECH 2022 event and from contact by industry, researchers and technology and equipment providers since then, we’ve a number of key leads for content this year which we’ll shortly be following up. However, if interested in being considered to present as part of this year’s ForestTECH 2023 series in November, we’d like to hear from you. Please get back to Brent Apthorp, FIEA Director, Please include details of suggested content for any presentation in your response.

Comment on story    

Researchers partner to pelletise waste materials

The idea of using biomass or non-recyclable materials to produce power has been around for a long time, but techniques for developing a consistent feedstock to produce a fuel that is economical compared to coal, resistant to moisture, and has no spontaneous combustion in storage has been a daunting challenge.

Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory, working with Michigan Technological University and Convergen Energy, a company based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, have pioneered a technique for combining non-recyclable plastics and paper fibre that would otherwise end up in landfills to form pellets with an energy content like bituminous coal.

The key is torrefaction, a thermal process INL has used before, to convert biomass into a coal-like material. Torrefaction uses the mild application of heat, typically between 200°C and 320°C, to make biomass materials more homogenized and consistent while also removing chlorine and other compounds that can turn into harmful gases during combustion.

“We’re trying to find a solution for keeping waste plastics out of the environment,” said Ted Hansen, Convergen’s CEO. While plastic soda bottles and milk containers can be recycled, most of what you walk past on the shelves of your local supermarket — laminated pouches, labels, wax-coated paper — is nonrecyclable and goes to landfills. These plastics take hundreds of years to decompose. (While biodegradable plastics are being developed, in 2021, they represented less than 1% of the plastics made worldwide.)

On the other side of the equation, paper products, while biodegradable, decompose in landfills to create methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Combining paper and plastic to form stable feedstocks that can substitute for coal and reduce landfill mass would be a green energy win-win. “Those are our target products,” Hansen said. “Instead of sending them to the landfill, we want to turn them into fuel or upcycled products.”

Compacting nonrecyclable plastics into pellets

Whether they come from non-recyclable materials or biomass residue, before torrefied fuels can be widely accepted as an inexpensive source of green energy generation, they must be chemically and physically uniform, weather resistant, and stable enough to transport and store. Product uniformity is essential for compatibility with fuel sale agreements like those required by fuel boilers, where consistent heating content is certified along with contaminants and inorganics levels.

With any biomass, pellet storage is a challenge if not managed properly. Whether it’s hay in a barn or wood pellets in the hold of a cargo ship, self-heating and spontaneous combustion become a serious and potentially catastrophic problem if biomass gets wet. There can also be environmental and health and safety problems related to off-gas emissions.

Being energy dense and hydrophobic in nature, torrefied biomass has been identified as a safer replacement. Through their collaboration, Dr. Jordan Klinger and Eric Fillerup of INL, Dr. Ezra Bar-Ziv of MTU, and Hansen discovered that nonrecyclable plastics can help increase pellet density while improving safety. Due to its softness at elevated temperatures and pressures during compaction, plastic provides a skeletal structure that encapsulates the fibre and forms a barrier to keep oxygen and water from reacting with torrefied fibres. This reduces the self-heating that can lead to spontaneous combustion.

More >>

Source: biomassmagazine

Comment on story    

Australia & New Zealand wood exports shaky

Much like the rest of the global market, Australia and New Zealand have seen their share of ups and down over the past year. This is especially evident in most of the countries' exports.

ANZ Log Export Price Index down in December 2022

The Australian and New Zealand Export Log Price Index dropped in January 2022 to its lowest point in more than a year before rebounding sharply. Throughout the rest of the year it gradually declined, and by December the price index had fallen to a level lower than the January 2022 number.

The combined index value for December trade shows that the average log price was 9.3% lower than the index starting point in January 2017. The index combines and weights softwood log exports from Australia and New Zealand. It provides a consistent view of the price being achieved for the region’s logs and for the combined trade from Australia and New Zealand. It also reflects each of Australia and New Zealand exports separately.

Available under the View menu on Wood Market Edge Online via SilvaStat360, the ANZ Log Export Price Index provides a snapshot of the log export trade and is supported by extensive downloadable files and other trade visualisations.

Australian Softwood Log Exports Down 66.1%

December 2022 was the twenty-eighth consecutive month to record declines in Australia’s annual softwood log exports. The annual volume dropped significantly compared to the year prior. Softwood logs are now being chipped and exported after China imposed a ban on Australian logs. Across the year ending December 2022, Australia’s total exports of softwood logs were down a significant 66.1% for the year.

India has emerged as a new market, receiving small but regular shipments. Monthly volumes fluctuated rapidly. For export, softwood logs are differentiated as larger or smaller than 15cm diameter. The distinction between log sizes was previously more noteworthy, but analysis has become challenging as monthly export volumes are increasingly erratic.

December 2022 was the twenty-eighth consecutive month to record declines in Australia’s annual softwood log exports. The annual volume dropped significantly compared to the year prior. Softwood logs are now being chipped and exported after China imposed a ban on Australian logs. Across the year ending December 2022, Australia’s total exports of softwood logs were down a significant 66.1% for the year. India has emerged as a new market, receiving small but regular shipments. Monthly volumes fluctuated rapidly. For export, softwood logs are differentiated as larger or smaller than 15cm diameter. The distinction between log sizes was previously more noteworthy, but analysis has become challenging as monthly export volumes are increasingly erratic. Annual Woodchip Exports Up 13.9%

Australia’s combined annual exports of hardwood and softwood woodchips for the year ending December 2022 were 13.9% higher than the prior year. Average monthly export volumes have trended upward since ‘confidentiality’ restrictions were introduced in the middle of 2020.

More >>

Source: forest2market

Comment on story    

Climate change - someone else’s problem?

The Forest Owners Association says the latest campaign against forestry, led by Beef+Lamb New Zealand and 50 Shades of Green, is climate change responsibility denial, and is dangerous in the long term for New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers.

Forest Owners President, Grant Dodson says the just launched, Kiwis backing farmers, is contrary to the Climate Change Commission’s advice that additional forests are needed to reach greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

“It demonstrates that yet again farmers want to keep on treating climate change as a problem that others need to solve, but that they should somehow be allowed to carry on as if nothing is happening,” Grant Dodson says. “This is despite thousands of hectares of East Coast farmland being destroyed in the recent cyclones and massive sediment flows off farms into Hawke’s Bay.”

“We acknowledge that food production is vital, but these massive storms clearly demonstrate that food production itself is significantly at risk if nothing is done. Much more has been lost on the East Coast than will ever be lost from thoughtful planting of areas of trees on farms,” Grant Dodson says.

“Trees on the hill country are essential to stabilise the land, sequester carbon and provide diversified income to replace collapsed wool returns. New Zealand’s most successful farms incorporate forestry for this reason.”

“We all acknowledge that taking productive land out of circulation into carbon-only farming is not desirable. But incorporating productive forestry onto farms is a win win. Farmers can fight climate change, meet their He Waka Eke Noa targets, stabilise land, and receive income from carbon and harvesting.”

“I am incredulous that farming groups are directly campaigning against trees when they are a solution. The Climate Change Commission advises this. Leading farmers know this. So why do we see a denial campaign yet again from lobby groups that simply can’t recognise established science and seem unwilling to play their part?”

Grant Dodson however says he sympathises with many of the regulatory concerns which the sheep and beef farmer campaign raises and says farming and forestry have literally and figuratively a lot of common ground.

Source: NZ Forest Owners Association

Comment on story    

Forest contractors want input to slash solutions

New Zealand’s forestry contractors are asking to be included when investigating solutions for slash / woody debris.

Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) CEO Prue Younger says FICA is keen to support the woody debris enquiry, providing valuable input from the practitioners who work in the forests every day. “Our forestry contractors are physically on the ground and have practical and valuable knowledge about what will be possible and most effective in managing woody debris,” she says.

“We are keen to see the industry work together and redeem our social licence to operate. Problem solving without the input of contractors will be detrimental to the outcome. In this industry, contractors are not always given the opportunity to provide input. It should be recognised that forestry contractors are contracted to do a job for which they must follow best practice guidelines, resource consents, and forest owner guidelines. These are monitored and audited by the forest owner or manager for which they are contracted to.”

“When reviewing the slash issue, FICA would like to see a balanced approach, taking into account harvesting knowledge and past learnings, a broad stakeholder group and but with consideration also given to this record-breaking cyclone.”

FICA members represents about 70% of the log cut in New Zealand and forestry is a significant employer in both the Tairawhiti and Hawkes Bay regions. In Tairawhiti alone it is estimated 1 in 4 people earn an income directly or indirectly from forestry. The service providers along the supply chain make it a huge industry employer.

“Our ultimate concern is for livelihoods. Most contractors are family-owned businesses who all employ staff and contribute to our local communities,” she says. “Right now, we have lots working to keep their crews going on jobs outside of their everyday forestry work. They’re being called in to assist with clearing roads and land sites using their heavy machinery.”

“There are many stories of contractors getting stuck in and helping out in their communities, whether that’s volunteering or seeking alternative revenue through short-term clean up jobs.”

We all want a sustainable industry, environmentally, financially and socially positive that continues to provide work to the regions and to be a key contributor to the economics of the country and to be future thinking with a transformational lens.

Source: FICA

Comment on story    

NZ’s largest mass timber building underway

The crane has arrived, and piling is underway – visible signs of progress in Tauranga's city centre on what’s set to become the country’s largest mass timber office building.

The future home of Tauranga City Council’s administration staff at 90 Devonport Road is being constructed by property development and investment company Willis Bond with construction partner LT McGuinness, in collaboration with architects Warren and Mahoney, Council, and mana whenua. Once complete, Council will lease the building from Willis Bond.

The building is leading the way in environmentally sustainable design and in addition to the use of mass timber, will feature rainwater harvesting, electric vehicle charging, and facilities that encourage active transport options.

Using engineered timber in place of more traditional concrete and steel elements will reduce embodied carbon – carbon emitted through the manufacturing, transportation, and installation of building materials and components – to its lowest possible point.

Willis Bond Managing Director – Funds and Finance, Wayne Silver, says Willis Bond is committed to continuing to evolve how they develop projects to ensure they’re walking with a light carbon footprint.

“The incorporation of mass timber building components is going to become a fundamental part of our development toolkit for constructing environmentally sustainable and exceptional buildings, both now and in the future," says Wayne.

“At over 10,000 square metres, 90 Devonport Road will be the largest mass timber office building ever built in New Zealand and will set a new standard for projects of scale that can be delivered with this environmentally sustainable methodology. That it will become an integral part of Tauranga’s city centre and serve the council and the community of Tauranga for years to come, is a very exciting prospect.”

The building is targeting the highest 6 Green Star – Design and As-Built NZv1.0 – Design Review Rating, demonstrating world leadership in sustainability. It also has a strong emphasis on mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge systems) and connection with the surrounding natural environment.

Photo: Render impression of 90 Devonport Road

Source: Tauranga City Council

Comment on story    

FWPA launches Resilient Timber Homes Program

2023 is shaping up to be a year of innovation for Australian houses, thanks to an exciting new FWPA-led initiative designed to support the construction of more resilient homes. The Resilient Timber Homes Program aims to work with the design and construction industries to help address the pressing need for more resilient homes, built to withstand the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters in Australia such as fires, floods and high winds.

The two-part initiative will see the creation of a comprehensive Resilient Timber Homes Design Guide and a Resilient Timber Homes Design Competition. The design guide will be developed with builders and architects in mind, to provide expert advice relating to the role timber can play in building more resilient homes.

Timber has long been a popular building material thanks to its myriad of well-known benefits but is perhaps less widely recognised than it should be as a resilient option. With this guide, builders and architects will have access to the latest timber-focused knowledge and resources to support the creation of homes that are not only beautiful, affordable, and sustainable, but are also fortified against damage as a result of natural disasters.

The competition, meanwhile, will foster the best talent in the design community by inviting entrants to create designs that not only showcase the brilliance of wood as a versatile and renewable material, but also demonstrate its ability to shine in the face of increasingly adverse weather events as our climate continues to change. Offering a sizeable prize for the ultimate winner, this competition will showcase the ability of the design community to work innovatively with timber in mind, and to conceptualise homes built to withstand the impacts of natural disasters.

FWPA will approach some of the country’s best designers and architects with an invitation to enter this competition, tapping into the WoodSolutions community, to ensure the project is a success. The initiative will be funded by some of FWPA’s partners, including key research partners FTMA and OneFortyOne. More information is available via the program’s new website.

“The Resilient Timber Homes Program is a much-needed initiative that will help create more resilient properties for Australian families that are able to withstand the sorts of natural disasters we know are likely to become more prevalent as our climate continues to change,” said Resilient Timber Homes Program Chair Kevin Peachey.

“With the help of the design guide and results of the competition, Aussie builders and architects will have access to unprecedented knowledge and resources to support them in creating homes that are beautiful, sustainable, and strong enough to survive in their environments.

“This project offers a great opportunity for the design community to showcase its talents and work together to create a better and more resilient future for Australian houses!” said Peachey.

Photo: Wood Solutions

Source: ForWood, Feb 2023, FWPA

Comment on story    

Rising costs driving fleet management evolution

A Teletrac Navman survey of more than 1,800 global fleet operators has revealed that rising fuel costs (39%), disruption due to the impact of COVID-19 (32%), and supply chain pressure (31%), are the top challenges they currently face.

“The last 12 months have created new complexities for fleets, but fuel cost rises are the number one concern for operators globally,” says Alain Samaha, President & CEO of Teletrac Navman. “As the cost per litre of fuel spiked throughout last year, many operators looked to overcome the rising costs with driver behaviour programs and EV transition plans.”

EV Transition

With rising fuel costs and the global response to reducing all forms of carbon emissions building momentum, fuel conversion (23%) remains a key challenge with EV supply, alongside purchase price, and charging infrastructure concerns. A third (32%) of respondents said that the conversion to next generation fuels is one of their largest areas of expense (second to purchasing new vehicles).

Conversion is also high on the agenda for fleet owners due to concerns about their environmental impact. More than a third (41%) of those surveyed said environmental impact is their biggest concern about the current economic environment; outside of transitioning to next generation fuels – of which 30% were looking to transition to EVs in the next 12 months – maintenance of existing fleet continued to be largest expense for 39% of those surveyed.

“With supply chain issues continuing to impact EV vehicle availability and cost, some fleets are struggling to start the transition and are having to find ways to safely extend vehicle life through preventative maintenance and more conscientious use on the road,” says Mayank Sharma, Head of Global Product Management & UX.

Technology Investments

Over the course of 2023, fleets are looking to make investment in expanding their offering through technological integrations (48%), while also using technology to aid compliance (39%). Improving customer experience (39%) and recruiting and retaining drivers (31%) were also high on the list of planned investment for the next 12 months.

As with the start of any new year, the market experiences emerging opportunities and technologies that will benefit fleets. In terms of emerging technologies, fleets are focusing on implementing more digital workflows (39%) and video telematics (38%), as they seek to increase efficiency and manage the top three fleet business costs (fuel, payroll, and maintenance).

Telematics Hits the Road

With the look towards technology, nearly all (98%) respondents said they were using either a sourced or manufacturer-provided telematics solution across their fleet. While vehicle tracking (43%) was understandably the number one reason for utilising telematics, managing driver performance (33%) was the next priority, followed by using it for proof of service/job completion (32%), and of course monitoring fuel usage (30%) in tough economic conditions.

Regarding driver performance, improved driver safety (37%) was the biggest benefit of using telematics, with nearly a quarter (24%) stating it helped prevent fatigue on the road. Moreover, 89% of those surveyed used telematics to benchmark behaviour, with 91% also seeing a reduction in accidents and 24% implementing new driver behaviour to help navigate the high fuel costs. And with 31% of global fleets concerned about increasing wage demands in a cost-of-living crisis, 37% are using benchmarking to provide performance-based bonuses in a bid to retain drivers.

To explore more of the responses to the survey follow this link.

Comment on story    


Buy and Sell

... and some to end the week on ...

And one more to finish the week on ...

A man goes to join a monastery.

The head monk sits him down to explain the rules. The final rule he says is “This is a silent order. You only get to speak once a year and that’s one sentence to me.”

“Righto” the man says.

A year goes by the monk approaches the man and says “Well done. You’ve done a year. What’s your sentence?”

The man replies “Hard bed.”

The monk replies “Ok we’ll get you a soft bed.”

Another year goes by and the monk approaches the man and says “ You’ve done two years, another twelve months. What’s your sentence?”

The man says “Cold food.”

The monk replies “Ok we’ll get you some hot food.”

Another year goes by and the monk approaches the man and says “Another year. Well done, three years. What’s your sentence?

The man replies “I quit.”

The monk replies “I’m not surprised, you’ve done nothing but complain since you got here.”

And on that note, Happy St Patricks Day to you and enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177

John Stulen
PO Box 1230, Rotorua, 3040
Tel: +64 7 921 1381
Mob: +64 27 275 8011

Web page:

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

Brand Partners

Our Partners & Sponsors

Friday Offcuts is made possible through the generous support of the following companies.
We are grateful for this support.

We welcome comments and contributions on Friday Offcuts. For details on advertising for positions within the forest products industry or for products and services, either within the weekly newsletter or on this web page, please contact us.

Subscribe! It's Free!
Advertise Here
Copyright 2004-2024 © Innovatek Ltd. All rights reserved