Contractors need longer contracts – Aussie logger
AN AUSTRALIAN LOGGER BELIEVES THE INDUSTRY IN HIS COUNTRY IS SUFFERING through a lack of long-term contracts being offered to harvesting businesses and it could be the same on this side of the ditch.
Speaking to the NZIF annual conference in Nelson last month, Gippsland-based contractor, Ian Reid, says the lack of long-term harvesting contracts is restricting innovation because it doesn’t encourage loggers to invest in new ideas and better equipment if they are unsure of work tenure.
And he goes on to add that the use of tenders to keep contractors on their toes and put a lid on harvesting rates is counter-productive.
“The cheapest rate is not necessarily the most cost-effective,” says Mr Reid, who is Harvesting Performance Manager for Austimber Harvesting, situated in Latrobe Valley, east of Melbourne.
He says it leads to a period of disruption and costs both the grower and the contractor, it creates uncertainty and contractors are less inclined to update equipment and following the award of a contract there may be delays before new equipment arrives, which stifles production.
Mr Reid advocates a negotiated approach, which would provide confidence on both sides and under-pin invest in new equipment and innovation. It would help to stem worker churn in the crew if employees have a more certain future of work.
But he warns that the introduction of new technology should not be seen as a way to reduce rates, saying that a sharing of the gains made would be a ‘win-win’ for both parties. He also believes that any machinery performance data now becoming available through smart technology in equipment has to belong to the contractor and should not be shared with the forest owner without mutual agreement.