The Private Forests Tasmania wood processor directory for 2015 has been released.
Here’s my review of the 2014 directory:
This Directory has been primarily developed to help private forest owners with logs for sale to identify potential buyers. As well as enabling the forest owner to more easily locate and contact primary wood processors, it also identifies the log types purchased by them.
There is also a mutual benefit: this Directory will also help the listed primary wood processors to source logs from the Tasmanian private forest estate.
The Directory is a listing of 37 of the estimated 56 primary wood processing businesses, regardless of size, that Private Forests Tasmania (PFT) believed were operating within the State of Tasmania at the time of publication. Their inclusion in the Directory has only been with their consent. All the data was collected directly from them, including permission for PFT to list their business within this Directory. Not all processors either replied or agreed to be included in the Directory but PFT hopes that, over time, more will see the benefit of participating and that future editions of the Directory will list a greater proportion of the State’s primary wood processors, regardless of size.
Compared to last year only 37 of the estimated 56 wood processing businesses in the State are listed this year. Of these only 14 indicate they are interested in purchasing blackwood logs from private growers (blackwood or special species), down from 21 last year.
What does this reduction in blackwood processors/buyers indicate? Does it indicate a shrinking market? Or are businesses just choosing to stay off the Directory?
Last year 21 of 45 listed businesses were blackwood buyers, which to me indicated a very crowded marketplace. Perhaps too crowded given the limited private blackwood sawlog resource.
Even 14 of 37 businesses in 2015 is still too crowded in my opinion.
The Tasmanian blackwood industry needs to be more commercial, efficient and profitable. This means fewer processors who are processing larger volumes more efficiently, accessing more valuable markets and offering growers better money to encourage more blackwood growing.
Do these processors understand the critical part they play in ensuring the future of the industry? Or are we still in salvage mode going nowhere?
Commercial blackwood growing needs to be transparently and abundantly profitable for the industry to have a future. Right now we are a long way from that.
Personally I believe the blackwood log exporters have the best chance of helping to change the current situation and make the blackwood market more transparent and profitable.
PS. Curious how the most obvious things are sometimes the hardest to see. I just realised that Britton Brothers P/L, by far the largest blackwood sawmiller in the State, is in the directory but does not specifically list blackwood in the Logs Purchased list. Clearly the directory lacks some clarity and detail.