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Port back in business for skid site logs

Logs began being moving out of the region's forests this morning as the dispensation granted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) kicked in.

The dispensation was granted late last week for the resumption of log cartage out of the region's skid sites to Eastland Port.

The port reopened to skid site logs this morning.

The move has been described as “great news for the region,” avoiding a huge financial burden on the local industry.

There are still five or six log ships anchored off Gisborne waiting to load cargo, and the port's storage areas in Dunstan Road are running low on logs.

Crown Forestry general manager Sam Keenan said with cargo volumes at the port now “exhausted”, Te Uru Rakau NZ Forest Service considered it was necessary for forest owners and log transport operators to coordinate the uplift of skid-site logs to the port.

“The guidance does not at this time extend to restarting harvest and processing operations in the forests.

“It is critical that forest owners, transport and logistics operators work to establish safe working protocols consistent with the order granted by MBIE, and to ensure that any other relevant requirements are complied with.”

The safe handling protocols include face mask-wearing by truck drivers when entering the port and other work places, and the port's security access system will capture anyone going in and out.

Eastland Group chief operating officer Andrew Gaddum said the port's log yard opened for the cart-in of logs from skid sites at 8am today.

“We expect around 5000 tonnes to come in today, which will increase steadily over the next few days.

“Once we drop to Level 3, contractors are allowed to resume felling in the bush and cart-in will continue to increase,” Mr Gaddum said.

“Once we have built up enough cargo for a ship and weather depending, we will look to start loading a ship again.”

Pacific Haulage Campbell general manager Gilmour has coordinated the cart-in schedule for today and tomorrow.

“Volume is limited to under half the normal truck movements,” he said. “The loads are being transported from forestry blocks right across Tairawhiti and the target today is around 230 loads.”

ISO area manager Neal Ebbett said there would still be strict Level 4 protocols in place for ISO staff and truck drivers on site.

“ISO, in conjunction with the wider industry, have agreed on a plan for reduced capacity to process trucks to ensure safe distancing of ISO staff and truck drivers.

“On arrival, the logs are weighed, ticketed (apply QR code to each log) and scaled (measured to calculate volume of each log), then unloaded into rows.

“The next vessel is the Bunun Dynasty, requiring approximately 10,000 tonnes, which will take approximately 18 hours to load.”

READY FOR REFILL: Off-site storage areas in Dunstan Road are now empty after permission was given for logs to be transported to Eastland Port during Level 4 Lockdown. Log cartage out of the region's skid sites resumed today after the Government granted special dispensation. Picture by Liam Clayton

  1. Winston Moreton says:

    If newspaper reporters baldly say things like, “the move has been described as ‘great news for the region,’ avoiding a huge financial burden on the local industry” they are not reporting. They are commenting which is an editor’s role. And, unless the reporter’s source is named, readers have no way of assessing the statement’s worth.
    I notice, too, no attempt was made by ISO or port managers to address the proven unmanageable risk of bubble breaking during transit across the rohe. Accidents happen.