Friday Offcuts 3 April 2020
News this week. Yes, more lock downs as we’d all anticipated. For the kiwis, the forestry and wood products industries, despite some concerted efforts to get the Government to budge, are currently considered to be non-essential (the only primary sector industry labelled with this particular tag). So, wood harvesting, log transport, wood processing and manufacturing businesses and export operations remain idle. We’re all sitting at home until the “go back to work” button (provided the business of course is still afloat) is pushed. Work this one out. There will be repercussions as spelt out in the supply chain story this week. In Australia though, like the US and Canada, although self-isolation and travel restrictions have been put in place, forestry and construction activities are at this time considered as “essential services” and still in full swing.
To help those under an enforced lockdown in New Zealand, we’ve included this week the first in a series of light hearted videos (with some excellent messaging) that are being produced by three NZ industry groupings, the Log Transport Safety Council, the Forest Industry Contractors Association and the Forest Industry Safety Council. A Safetree wellbeing campaign to help people look after their physical, mental and social wellbeing during the lockdown has also being launched (details below). For many, in addition to the stress of wages being reduced, jobs being cut or their business or positions still up in the air, confinement for four weeks straight is going to be a totally new experience. With this enforced isolation comes a whole raft of new challenges which have to be faced in the weeks ahead. You can check out the first in the video series below.
And finally, this week for the first time, we’re releasing the just printed two-yearly map resource detailing Australasia’s wood processing and manufacturing industries. We’d been working with many of you on this one prior to the lock-up. It’s the fourth edition of the full colour 980mm wide x 680mm tall map featuring all major wood processing and manufacturing operations in both countries. Since the last edition was produced in early 2018, there have been over 50 major updates to mill locations, ownership and sawn production. Orders for the new folded and flat laminated maps are now been taken with further details on how you can order yours contained in the story below.
On that note, be safe, be kind and be considerate to those around you and we’ll see you again next week.
This week we have for you:
Winners announced for 2020 NZ Timber Design AwardsFrom revolutionary building designs with the potential to change the way architects and engineers use timber to a brand new, flexible organic material developed from balsa wood that’s significantly stronger and more transparent than the original, the NZ Wood-Resene Timber Design Awards once again showcased just what can be done with wood in New Zealand.
"The range and innovation demonstrated by entries increases every time and this year, with new and revised categories, these qualities have been in evidence even more," said judges on March 26. The planned gala event to announce all winning and highly commended entries was regrettably cancelled following Covid-19 recommendations from the Ministry of Health. This has of course been a huge blow to organisers, sponsors, finalists and all ancillary staff.
The Resene Overall Supreme Award went to the Tuarangi Road, Auckland home "Outaspace," from TOA Architects. Judges commented that this build showcased how well timber can be used to provide structural strength while providing warmth and thermal mass - and integrate sympathetically with other structural elements on a challenging site.
Highly Commended was Lindis Lodge in Omarama, Otago, submitted by Architecture Workshop. The unique design of the topographic roof curves especially impressed judges, who commented particularly on the way the screw laminated gum worked with the steel beams. “The designers showed a great understanding of timber architecture and engineering, allowing grace and technology to intertwine,” they said.
The Student Innovation Award went to Adam Clark of Victoria University Wellington for his design Te Whare Wananga o Nga Mahi Auaha. “Strong conceptual thinking has been developed into an adventurous, well considered building which explores the connection between land, sea and sky, and honours Maori culture,” said judges.
Highly Commended was Dorien Viliamu from the University of Auckland for his installation The Vakas of the Great Fleet. Judges felt the design blends together elements of the traditional Rarotongan vaka and fare and as a result forms, spaces and volumes sensitively connect with nature.
The eleven categories covered everything from residential and commercial construction to engineering and specialty timber applications and innovation, with revised criteria and expanded categories allowing more entries into relevant categories.
Entrants submitted an especially exciting range of designs this season, says Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association’s (WPMA)’s Promotions Manager Debbie Fergie. “Timber design has been formally celebrated through these awards for 45 years now, and each time judges see new and increasingly innovative ways to employ timber. The sheer volume and excellent quality of such diverse work makes it very challenging for our judges!”
The awards this year were judged by New Zealand Institute of Architects’ president Tim Melville, New Zealand Timber Design Society president David Carradine, sustainable architect at Scion Andrea Stocchero, and NZ Wood Design Guides’ manager Andy van Houtte.
“We have some fantastic finalists and winners who are pushing wood-based design to new levels,” commented WPMA’s CEO Jon Tanner when announcing the forced cancellation of the gala event announcing the winners. “We will [also] continue to build on the high degree of interest already shown in our NZ Wood Design Guide Series.”
Details on the winners can be found on the Timber Design Awards website.
How to raise your company profile in the current lock-downNow that all trade shows and conferences are being cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, industry professionals are looking for other ways to keep one another informed. Perhaps you’re launching a new laser scanner or indoor mapping solution, or you want to share knowledge about innovative methods that achieve real efficiency gains… but which platforms can you use instead of physical events?
It’s probably counter intuitive to what most do when times get tough, but brand building should be an integral part of your business thinking right now as we head into a global slowdown. An excellent article on the importance of maintaining brand awareness in conditions like these can be read here. Innovatek and the Forest Industry Engineering Association offers several possibilities to fill the gaps in your communication strategy.
You can showcase your project or product through two of the industry’s most widely recognised and read newsletters, www.fridayoffcuts.com and www.woodweek.com. Have you recently completed a challenging customer project? Or have you developed a new state-of-the-art software solution for collection of data out in the forest? Both weekly newsletters are the ideal place to share more details, so why not contribute an article?
In addition to these two weekly newsletters, communities of like-minded individuals are communicating much more regularly through three monthly tech newsletters set up for those typically attending the region’s most widely attended technology events. www.foresttech.news, www.harvesttech.news and www.woodtech.news are being sent out to specific and targeted groupings within the forestry and wood products sector.
It’s a great place to announce your latest company news and product launches, particularly in the current environment when you’re looking to target a specific reader profile, industry segment or geographical region. All of these communications platforms will provide you with an effective solution to keep your brand in front of your target audience in the current environment.
This is just a brief summary of how we could help you to keep your business going in these unprecedented times. Interested in a tailor-made proposal? Feel free to contact our Sales & Marketing Manager, Gordon Thomson on Tel: (+64) 7 921 1384, (+64) 27 275 8022 or firstname.lastname@example.org
2020 Australasian Forest Products Industry Map out nowThe only thing that is constant is change … and isn’t that the truth. Not only do we face uncertainty with our businesses linked to COVID-19 at the moment but changes for our own wood products industry over the last 12 months have been significant.
Every two years Australasia’s wood processing and manufacturing industry is detailed in an eagerly awaited Forest Products Industry Map that’s produced for this region. The new 2020 map has just been printed.
This is the fourth edition of a full colour 980mm wide x 680mm tall map produced by the Forest Industry Engineering Association combining major wood processing and manufacturing plants in both Australia and New Zealand.
It features 171 wood processing operations including over 65 sawmills cutting in excess of 25,000m3 sawn lumber per annum (with sawn production levels), all fibreboard, particleboard, plywood, pulp & paper, veneer/LVL/CLT, paperboard and chip export operations along with major wood manufacturing operations.
Since the last edition produced in early 2018 there have been over 50 major updates to mill locations, ownership and production. Changes in the last two years have indeed been significant. The new map is now the most up-to-date industry reference providing an essential mapping resource for New Zealand and Australian forest products companies.
A folded copy of the map will be inserted into two industry magazines in April/May. If you wish to purchase your own folded or flat laminated copies of the new map, orders can now be made from the FIEA website ( www.fiea.org.nz) or by clicking here
Note: Orders are being taken now and the maps will be posted as soon as we can.
Positive messages for contractors during lock downThe Log Transport Safety Council, Forest Industry Contractors Association and Forest Industry Safety Council have been working together to get positive messages out to New Zealand forestry contractors in these uncertain times. A local expert, Pio Terei, has been called in to produce a series of light hearted every few days while we’re all in lock down. See below for the first in the planned video series and remember to send on to others in your business who you think will get something out of the short clip.
Tribute to industry pioneer Richard Neville-SmithThe Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has paid tribute to forest industries pioneer and leader Richard Neville-Smith. Mr Neville Smith, the former Chief Executive of “Neville Smith Forest Products” (NSFP) passed away last week in Melbourne aged 82 after a long illness, and his funeral was held on Thursday.
The Neville Smith business was started in 1924 by Mr Neville Smith’s father Neville Smith, and it soon branched into the forest products industry with timber mills in Victoria and Tasmania. Mr Neville-Smith joined the business in 1964 aged 27, and it remains family owned and operated. The Chairman of AFPA Mr Greg McCormack has passed on his condolences to the family on behalf of the whole industry.
“To the wider Neville-Smith family can I say how sorry we are to hear about Richard’s passing. He was a doyen of the industry and we will also miss his counsel, experiences and enthusiasm,” Mr McCormack said. “Richard was there when one of AFPA’s predecessors, the National Association of Forest Industries, was formed, and he remained a supporter of the association and its representative role to the end."
“As a business leader he was second to none and he helped steer NSFP through major expansion to become at one stage Victoria’s biggest hardwood sawmiller and Tasmania’s second largest. But that leadership was also there during some tough times and he did what was needed to ensure the company survived, as it does to this day.”
“He loved the forest industry but was also passionate about the communities where the family’s businesses operated and made sure they were part of its success. On top of that he remained a truly generous person who was happy to help anyone in need.”
With the restrictions on social gathering due to the CoVid-19 crisis just six members of Mr Neville-Smith’s family can attend tomorrow's service, with his overseas based daughter unable to fly home due to the travel bans. “It’s a real pity his industry colleagues, mates and extended family can’t be there to celebrate his life,” Mr McCormack said.
“That’s the situation everywhere though and we must respect that these restrictions are in place for a good reason. The family’s also organising a memorial and wake in the future, so we’ll get the chance then to give him a proper goodbye.”
VIC RFAs extensions welcomedThe industry associations representing Victoria’s sustainable native timber industries have cautiously welcomed this week’s announcement of the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) extension, but considerable uncertainty still surrounds the Andrews Government’s plan to close down the industry by 2030.
The Victorian Association of Forest Industries Inc. (VAFI) the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), and the Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA) said the announcement from the Victorian and Commonwealth governments extending the state’s five RFAs until 2030 provided some relief for the native timber industry, which has been hit hard by the recent bushfires and the Andrews Government’s decision in November to phase out native forest harvesting from 2024, with a full shut down by 2030.
“The RFA extensions are welcome but they don’t change the fact the Andrews Government plans to shut down the industry, despite it being sustainable and critical to so many communities in regional Victoria,” VAFI CEO Tim Johnston said.
“These extensions may provide some medium-term security for our industry, but they must be accompanied by guaranteed timber volumes from the Victorian Government over the corresponding period to meet one of the key objectives of the RFAs. We will study the detail of the agreements closely to ensure they deliver on their objectives.”
AFCA General Manager Stacey Gardiner said the RFA extensions enable harvesting to continue across the state for those businesses not impacted by other constraints at this time. “Many forestry contractors who were on the frontline of Victoria’s bushfire response this summer, and then worked tirelessly on the clean-up operation to make roads safe again, are working at reduced capacity and are almost out of work. The situation for many has become untenable at a time we should be doing everything to retain businesses who can operate safely.”
AFPA CEO Mr Ross Hampton said the RFAs nationally had delivered on all the environmental objectives, striking the right balance between environmental, social and economic considerations in the management of Australia’s state forests. “It is disappointing that as a result of the Victorian Government’s plan, the Victorian RFAs are now out of sync with the rest of the country, with Tasmania, NSW and Western Australia all signing 20-year extensions with rolling five-year extensions upon successful completion of the statutory five-yearly reviews,” Mr Hampton said.
“We will continue to oppose the Andrews Government’s plan to end native timber harvesting right up to the next Victorian election to have it overturned.” Mr Hampton concluded.
Source: VAFI, AFPA and AFCA
Wood supplies a potential challengeWood processors and contractors in New Zealand are wary about fibre supplies as the government enforces a complete lockdown on forestry harvesting as part of its bid to contain covid-19. Most of the country’s major sawmills and pulp plants are being shut as the government focuses production on deemed essential products like newsprint, food and beverage packaging and wood chips and pellets for home and industrial heating.
Oji Fibre Solutions is shutting its Tasman pulp plant and its Penrose recycling plant and concentrating production at Kinleith. Its five packaging plants, which primarily supply the food and beverage sector – including the likes of Fonterra and Zespri – will remain operating.
Environment and external relations manager Philip Millichamp said fibre supply from the Tasman plant and the diverted paper recycling will be important in ensuring ongoing supplies. The company will also be looking for wood supplies from other sites, including possibly the shuttered Pan Pac Forest Products plant in Hawke’s Bay.
“There is a potential challenge with fibre supply,” he told BusinessDesk. “We certainly believe there’s sufficient to keep us going but we are going to be scratching around the place for that.” Wood processors were told on Wednesday that harvesting needed to stop immediately and that a high bar had been set deliberately on what activities would continue as essential services.
Norske Skog was cleared to run for nine days to produce enough newsprint for domestic use during the coming four weeks. Oji was also cleared to operate the chemical plant at Tasman to provide chlorine for water treatment. But the rest of the sector was expected to shut down unless it was making pallets, packing cases and boxes. Chip and pallet production, for essential services such as hospitals and food processors, could continue, but using only existing raw fibre stocks.
Logs already at ports could be shipped to make space for other cargo, but exports were otherwise banned. Jon Tanner, chief executive of the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association, said his organisation is working with the Ministry for Primary Industries to try and understand inventory levels around the country and develop a plan to use them and restart production as required.
“But in order to do that, we need to be able to see the supply right back to the forest,” he told BusinessDesk. MPI has undertaken to review the restrictions every seven days, he said, but depending on location, wood stocks may be only sufficient for seven to nine days’ supply. All parts of the supply chain, from forest owners, to contractors and processors, need more notice than that to mobilise resources.
Supply chain links vital to essential suppliesSupply chain links vital to getting essential supplies where they need to go must be allowed to work if New Zealand’s trucking companies are to survive long enough to meet the demands of the Covid-19 response, Road Transport Forum (RTF) chief executive Nick Leggett says.
"As is appropriate, there is a strong focus on what is a health crisis and it is good to see the tremendous resource going into that," Leggett says. "That is rightly the focus of the response. However, decisions are being made that adversely impact the movement of goods and the financial viability of companies that will be essential to any recovery”.
"While response is underway, there must also be planning for how we are going to get out of this and not have the economy collapse completely. The Government’s decision to classify freight into two arbitrary groups - essential and non-essential - shows a lack of understanding of what is an integrated global system”.
"You take one link out, and the whole chain starts grinding to a halt. Our trucking operators are seeing that. The burden is on them to keep essential supplies moving, but because of rules set on the fly, they may not be able to and may go out of business”.
"As an importing and exporting nation, that is a system of give and take. A ship comes in with what we want, and goes out with what our trading partners want. At the moment, those ships are not being allowed to take out of New Zealand goods deemed ‘non-essential’ so there is the possibility they will be reconsidering coming here.
"Those ships make a return journey laden with logs. But the forestry industry has been deemed ‘non-essential’ so logs are sitting on ports both here, and in China, deteriorating to the point that no one will want them”.
"And goods coming in containers deemed ‘non-essential’ have to be moved off the port and stored somewhere. If they can’t be unloaded from the container for the four weeks of the lockdown, that comes at a cost of around $50,000 for keeping the container that needs to go back into circulation for the supply chain to flow”.
"If the goods can’t be moved from the port, there is a high cost to that both in dollar terms and in the efficiency of port movements. All freight needs to be free to move. The essential/non-essential distinctions present significant economic viability issues for those freight companies operating within essential services constraint”.
"There are examples all through the supply chain and there are companies that may not make it through this four-week lockdown and have the cash reserves to just pick up and return to business. This will affect New Zealand’s economic recovery.
"We know that it is vital that items deemed essential move quickly through the supply chain, and priority should be given to them. However, for the supply chain to actually function now, and during our nation’s economic recovery, the classification to control its movement should be scrapped."
Australian bushfire commission adjusts to COVID 19Australian bushfires royal commission has delayed its opening hearing as coronavirus restrictions force a move to virtual meetings. The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements and the separate state bushfire inquiries have suspended face-to-face meetings with fire-affected communities.
Royal commission chair Mark Binskin said current health advice means it is no longer possible for the commission to conduct its work face-to-face. “We recognise that bushfires will continue to occur in the future, so we are committed to ensuring the commission’s important work continues,” he said.
“That means adapting the way we operate.” Mr Binskin said the commission is examining options for digital rather than in-person engagement. This is a different way of doing business but we will do everything we can to ensure the royal commission continues to consult and gather information within current health guidelines.”
A ceremonial hearing due to be held in Canberra on Tuesday has been delayed as the commission examines ways it can be held while minimising the risk of exposure. The three commissioners visited a number of fire-affected communities over the past three weeks, holding public forums in each state and territory except the ACT and Tasmania.
A further six community forums have been suspended. “Each fire-affected region is equally important to us and we strongly encourage anyone who wants to share their experience to make a public submission,” Mr Binskin said. The deadline for public submissions has been extended by two weeks until April 17.
The NSW bushfire inquiry has extended its submission deadline to the same date and suspended community visits as it determines how to proceed with virtual meetings. Inquiry head Dave Owens says the inquiry remained committed to meeting the tight July 31 deadline despite the COVID-19 crisis.
“We will make every effort because COVID will come and go – it’s not a good experience – but people will want to get back on with their lives and the bushfire season will come about again,” he said. The Victorian inquiry has also stopped face-to-face consultations before a move to virtual community meetings.
South Australia’s independent review has extended its public consultation period until April 17, taking written submissions as well as online input. The six-month bushfires royal commission must deliver a final report by August 31, with the federal government keen for recommendations before the next fire season. The South Australian review findings are due by June 30 while the NSW and Victorian inquiries have July 31 deadlines.
New Forests appoints manager for WA plantationsAustralia-based forestry investor New Forests this week announced that following a competitive procurement process it has appointed Ents Forestry Pty Ltd (Ents Forestry) to manage the plantation assets of Peppermint Estate Pty Ltd (Peppermint Estate) in Western Australian.
Peppermint Estate is owned by New Forests’ Australia New Zealand Forest Fund 3 (ANZFF3), an institutional investment fund that targets long-term, sustainable management of high-quality timber plantation estates in Australia and New Zealand. Peppermint Estate will take ownership of the plantation assets being acquired from Bunbury Fibre Plantations Pty Ltd, pending Foreign Investment Review Board approvals. The Peppermint Estate assets will include around 12,000 hectares of certified plantation hardwood, located around Bunbury, Western Australia. The new ANZFF3 entity is named in recognition of the local coastal peppermint tree (Agonis flexuosa), which is endemic to the state’s South West.
Ents Forestry is a sophisticated forest management and consulting company known for developing independent, bespoke management solutions for domestic and international clients. Ents Forestry has a robust network within the Western Australian forest industry and a strong track record of plantation management for a range of private clients. Managing Director Andy Wright said, “We’re delighted to partner with New Forests to care for the Peppermint Estate. We hope to build the same in-depth working relationship with New Forests that we achieve with all our plantation partners, marrying the deep experience of Bunbury professionals with our established team on the south coast.”
In a competitive field of proponents New Forests considered Ents Forestry’s proposal attractive for its contribution of strong local knowledge paired with the ability to expand its services and experience by establishing a Bunbury office. New Forests’ Director of Operations for ANZFF2 & 3, Matt Crapp, noted, “We are pleased to secure the services of Ents Forestry for this important asset in the ANZFF3 portfolio. We are confident that Ents is the right company to manage the transition from the current team at Bunbury Fibre Plantations and position the estate for long-term success, founded in responsible plantation management.”
Peppermint Estate will continue to be managed for certified woodchip supply, principally targeting export markets. The plantation purchase includes the establishment of a long-term timber supply agreement to Bunbury Fibre Exports Pty Ltd, managed by Mitsui Bussan Woodchip Oceania.
Source: New Forests
China Forestry Group buys RMS NZCFPC Singapore is pleased to announce that it has finalised the full company acquisition of RMS FGI New Zealand Ltd. Overseas Investment Office approval was received for this transaction in early March 2020. As part of the ownership transition, the company has been renamed Remutaka Forests Ltd.
The purchase includes 5,235 hectares of mixed age pine plantations on land leased from Greater Wellington Regional Council. These estates will be operated by CFGC Forest Managers. CFGC Forest Managers is a leading forest products and management company, with 30,000 hectares of forest land under management across the NZ North Island. The company is both an important regional supplier of logs to domestic sawmills and operates a major export trading business.
Initial engagement has been undertaken with key stakeholders, including Regional council, contractors and key domestic customers. The company will continue under a ‘business as usual’ framework, with all previous arrangements for community access and public use maintained.
CFG Chief Operating Officer, Mr Steve Walker, has said “our team are extremely pleased to be associated with this estate, the community, local sawmills and contractors. This transaction provides certainty to our business and our existing clients in the Wellington region. We now look forward to bringing further investment that can enhance the economic and social contribution these forests make to our communities”.
This purchase was supported by a number of parties including Buddle Findlay in Wellington, New Zealand who acted as legal adviser, Deloitte in Auckland, New Zealand for Taxation and other financial advice, and FORME group who provided forest valuation and modelling services, in association with Apical Solutions of Geelong, Australia.
CFPC Singapore is a subsidiary of China National Forest Products Company Ltd (CFPC). Founded in July 1979, the company is a state-owned enterprise directly under the Ministry of Forestry. In 1998, it was delinked from the State Forestry Administration and merged into China Forestry Group Co., Ltd. In the 40 years since its establishment, the company has actively carried out trade in forest products and played a leading role in Chinas’ national forestry industry.
To learn more, visit www.cfgcnz.co.nz or contact CFG Forest Managers COO Steve Walker email@example.com.
For more information on the sale, click here
Source: CFG Forest Managers
Researchers build adhesive-free timber buildingUniversity of Liverpool engineers have built an eco-friendly timber building that does not use any adhesives in the construction process. The timber structure uses timber to reinforce timber without using adhesives, which can be damaging for the environment.
Engineers designed and constructed a large section of the office space using adhesive-free laminated timber (AFLT) beams and adhesive-free cross laminated timber (AFCLT) panels. They used densified wooden dowels and plates to connect the beams with columns rather than metallic fasteners.
The dowels and plates are made using softwood from sustainable harvested timber and compressed using a heated hydraulic press to reduce thickness whilst making it denser and stronger than common hardwood.
The ‘green’ office, which is part of an EU-funded INTERREG research project, will allow researchers to evaluate the performance of adhesive-free engineered wood products and compressed wood fasteners in a real life environment over the next five to ten years, and compare it to conventional methods that use adhesives and metal.
Liverpool engineer and project lead, Dr Zhongwei Guan said: ‘This is an exciting real-world project. The 35m2 office structure we have designed and built is arguably the first building in the world to be constructed using this compressed wood technology!
‘It showcases a more environmentally-friendly method of connecting wood and joining structures using compressed wood dowels and fasteners without the use of adhesives or metal products. ‘The prototype has been developed as part of our INTERREG EU research project to design, demonstrate and take forward new adhesive-free engineered wood products for use in the construction industry.’
Photo - the University of Liverpool
Timaru log exports remain on wharfTimaru's log export trade has been further delayed due to the nationwide Covid-19 pandemic-related lockdown. Several thousand tonnes of logs were expected to leave the port on Thursday but PrimePort Timaru chief executive Phil Melhopt told Stuff on Monday that the logs would not be loaded as scheduled.
Log shipments have been suspended since February 3 and a resumption was expected with bulk carrier Daiwan Dolphin due in port on Monday to load about 21,525 tonnes of cargo for China and Korea. "We won't be loading logs now," Melhopt told Stuff. "They're not viewed as an essential product so they won't move until such time as this lockdown has been lifted or modified."
The Timaru Herald
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...and one to end the week on ... more to make you smile
You must be getting bored. Some more gems sent in by "work from home" readers during this week. Enjoy - and keep them coming in.
In response to any queries, it might surprise you, but the measurement of a log is NOT SIMPLE as the attached guide will attest. Depending on what of 5 shapes the log takes (Cylinder, 3 degree paraboloid, 2 degree (quadratic) paraboloid, Conoid, Neiloid) there is a specific measurement basis and formula (Huber (x2), Smalian (x2), Newton) to use. Oh, and watch the units too of measurement. Check out the the attached link for further information.
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Great to finally get some time at home. Cheers.
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