Market Access and Logistics

Assessment of semi-automated system for counting, measuring and tracking of export logs

Conference presenter: Glen Murphy

C3 are New Zealand’s largest on-wharf logistics company, operating in 15 ports in New Zealand and Australis. Logs are C3’s biggest cargo by volume: the company handles tens of millions of individual logs each year.

Current log scaling systems are highly labour intensive, involving each individual log being measured, ticketed and recorded in a database by hand. At the end of the process, every log has to be accounted for and identified, and the right volume of logs from the right supplier must be delivered to the correct destination. It is a massive logistical challenge.

C3 are well underway with trials of prototype new ‘COM3TS ‘technology to increase levels of automation in log-scaling. The aim is to improve log-counting and measuring accuracy, and speed up the scaling process.  Results from a recent trial of combined photographic and wireless sensor technology were encouraging: the new technology reduced levels of bias and increased accuracy in the scaling process, and was 14-40% faster than the current manual scaling system.

Trials will continue, and automated log scaling will gradually be introduced across ports in NZ and internationally.

Presentation:   C3 Scanning Technology

Methyl bromide recapture: an innovative journey

Conference presenter: Mark Self – Genera

The race is on to find ways of dealing with methyl bromide (MBr), the fumigant used for phytosanitary treatment of logs on New Zealand’s wharfs before export. MBr is a greenhouse gas, and in 2020 its use will become highly restricted as a result of new regulations introduced by the EPA.

Different overseas markets for NZ logs have different phytosanitary requirements, and although a second gas, phosphine, has been successfully used to fumigate logs in ships’ holds while in transit, it does not meet the requirements of all markets, and is also more difficult to use that MBr.

Genera is the company leading the way in developing gas-liquid scrubbing technology for the re-capture of MBr after use in covered log stacks on wharf-side. Results from a 2017 trial indicated that 95% (+/- 2.8%) of MBr was recaptured using Genera technology: however more work is needed because of the EPA’s ever-shifting goal-posts.

Genera  2018-19 research directions:

  • optimising the gas-liquid scrubbing system
  • evaluation and evolution of two uniquely different scrubbing technologies.

Genera is a world-leader in research, development and use of alternative fumigants and phytosanitary systems, and its work and investment looks set to continue well into the future.

Presentation:  Methyl Bromide Recapture

Progress towards 2020: Phytosanitary treatments

Conference presenter: Ian Gear, STIMBR

The STIMBR research programme began in 2011, with the aim of developing new phytosanitary systems for logs and other forest products in response to warnings the use of methyl bromide would eventually be restricted if not banned altogether.

The programme has aimed to look for ways to maintain market access while forestry exports continue to grow, and identify a wider range of phytosanitary treatments which are cost-effective and environmentally acceptable.

The programme’s total spend to date is over $20million, with significant work underway or completed in the following areas:

  1. alternative fumigants
  2. tools for managing, monitoring and modelling fumigations
  3. reducing methyl bromide emissions
  4. non-fumigant risk management – ecological approaches
  5. non-fumigant risk management – physical treatments including joule heating and log debarking.

The current phase is investigating statutory processes and requirements for new technologies and systems; from 2020 onwards, research will move to implementation of some of the most promising new technologies.

Presentation:   EDN and Other Technologies

The Kawerau Container Terminal project

Conference presenter: Robert Radics, Scion

Scion researchers have modelled the economic, social and environmental implications of establishing a container packing and rail transhipment terminal in Kawerau. The terminal would be linked by rail to the Port of Tauranga. Exporters currently have limited access to rail services for containers in the eastern Bay of Plenty.

Drivers for the project were:

  • using heavy trucks for moving containers is time consuming and comes at a significant cost to exporters
  • the high number of heavy truck movements on State Highway 2 has negative social and environmental impacts.

A range of scenarios were evaluated, looking at different numbers of containers and other variables as follows:

  • cost changes in packing, storage, rail freight and road freight
  • number of exporters packing at Kawerau
  • truck size and/or weight limits
  • number of wagons per train limits
  • number of trains available to the terminal.

Key results included that by reducing truck movements (which could be reduced by at least 10,000 per annum) a significant number of road traffic fatalities could be avoided. In addition, the model projected that exporters would make significant cost savings, even in the least favourable scenarios.

The study was funded by regional and local government and industry groups. The decision has been made to go ahead with the terminal, and work has started on its design.

Presentation:  Kawerau Container Terminal