The evolv­ing use of Aus­tralian wood­chips and wood fi­bre

The rise of the en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious con­sumer has seen global de­mand for re­new­able prod­ucts sky­rocket

Australian Forests and Timber - - In The News -

Un­prece­dented change driven by shift­ing global mar­kets and con­sumer tastes is sweep­ing through al­most ev­ery in­dus­try in the world, and forestry is no ex­cep­tion.

Mit­sui & Co. Ltd. (Mit­sui) has been part of Australia’s wood­chip in­dus­try for close to three decades and dur­ing this time its role has grown from sim­ply ex­port­ing wood­chips to Ja­pan, to es­tab­lish­ing it­self in all stages of the wood­chip value chain.

To­day, its wholly-owned sub­sidiary, Mit­sui Bus­san Wood­chip Ocea­nia (MWO), is one of Australia’s lead­ing wood­chip ex­porters, ship­ping ap­prox­i­mately 2.5 mil­lion green met­ric tonnes of hard­wood and soft­wood wood­chips from Australia each year.

As 2017 draws to a close, Mit­sui re­flects on the year that was and is ex­cited about the fu­ture and po­ten­tial of the Aus­tralian forestry in­dus­try.

In Mit­sui’s words .... A grow­ing Asian mid­dle class will con­tinue to drive de­mand for qual­ity wood­chip and timber prod­ucts as man­u­fac­tur­ing and en­ergy needs only in­crease. For Aus­tralian forestry, the com­bi­na­tion of th­ese mar­ket con­di­tions uniquely po­si­tions forestry as one of Australia’s lead­ing sus­tain­able ex­port in­dus­tries.

Ja­pan is one of the world’s largest im­porters of wood­chips, and while it re­mains MWO’s key trad­ing part­ner, other coun­tries are in­creas­ingly recog­nis­ing the value and po­ten­tial of Aus­tralian wood­chips.

Just last year China over­took Ja­pan as the world’s largest wood­chip im­porter, and we be­lieve In­dia holds great po­ten­tial for the fu­ture. In 2010, we made our first ship­ment to China and in a first ever for the Aus­tralian in­dus­try, in 2013 we made our first ship­ment to In­dia. Both coun­tries are en­joy­ing some of the high­est growth rates among global economies and are sup­ported by pos­i­tive fu­ture out­looks.

A sus­tain­able fu­ture

The rise of the en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious con­sumer has seen global de­mand for re­new­able prod­ucts sky­rocket, and what’s in­ter­est­ing for the fu­ture of our in­dus­try is the role wood­chips can play in creat­ing more sus­tain­able prod­ucts.

While many peo­ple think of pulp mills as pro­duc­ers of pa­per, there are a new gen­er­a­tion of mills that could be con­sid­ered biore­finer­ies. Th­ese mills are tak­ing wood­chips and ex­tract­ing an abun­dance of ma­te­ri­als from them; wood­chips are now help­ing to cre­ate bio­plas­tics, tex­tiles and even com­po­nents used in mo­tor ve­hi­cles.

An­other es­sen­tial use for wood­chips lies in en­ergy pro­duc­tion. The Ja­panese and Korean govern­ments are en­cour­ag­ing the use of more re­new­able en­ergy op­tions, and as a re­sult are ramp­ing up im­ports of wood pel­lets and wood­chips for in­dus­trial power pro­duc­tion. Used in ei­ther co-fir­ing with coal or in ded­i­cated biomass power sta­tions, wood pel­lets are as­sist­ing some of our largest neigh­bours to meet their grow­ing en­ergy de­mands.

We re­cently started ex­port­ing wood pel­lets from Australia, and our re­la­tion­ships with power sta­tions in Ja­pan, give Mit­sui unique ac­cess to coal con­sumers and the abil­ity to pro­mote and sup­ply biomass as a sup­ple­men­tal or al­ter­na­tive re­new­able fuel.

It is through the use of wood­chips for new prod­ucts and to sup­port ex­ist­ing in­dus­tries that forestry can con­tinue to be one of Australia’s lead­ing sus­tain­able ex­porters.

Longevity and part­ner­ships

As the in­dus­try con­tin­ues to evolve we see part­ner­ships be­com­ing even more in­te­gral to the longevity of forestry in Australia. As well as creat­ing em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, col­lab­o­ra­tion en­sures knowl­edge shar­ing and means we can con­tin­u­ally im­prove our pro­cesses and prod­ucts.

As a global con­glom­er­ate, Mit­sui does busi­ness in 66 coun­tries from over 139 of­fices around the world. This net­work en­ables us to have ex­per­tise in in­vest­ment, fi­nance, mar­ket­ing and lo­gis­tics, and ap­ply this

■ Log truck be­ing un­loaded at BFE. Logs are lifted from the trucks and placed di­rectly onto the in­feed deck of the chip­per.

■ One year old Eu­ca­lyp­tus glob­u­lus plan­ta­tion within the Bun­bury re­gion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.