Australian Forests and Timber
New Forests investigating port development on Kangaroo Island
NEW FORESTS is investigating port development options at Ballast Head, near American River on Kangaroo Island, at a site formerly used for shipping gypsum and before that for loading ballast on to sailing ships, according to Adelaide Now..
New Forests chief executive David Brand said the multi-user port, estimated to cost roughly $25 million, would include a 300 metre jetty.
The port is expected to open the way for the Forest Investment Trust, managed by New Forests, to start harvesting its 10,500ha of forests on the island in 2018, creating employment for another 50 people a year in harvesting and haulage operations.
New Forests is carrying out an advanced feasibility study and working with stakeholders to develop a major projects application that meets the island’s needs as well as those of all the plantation owners.
Mr Brand said he expects the new jobs will open up work for a mix of local and new people to the island.
“We want to outsource the contract work, it’s a great opportunity for local businesses to step-up,” Mr Brand said.
Once harvesting starts on Kangaroo Island, he expects about 500 tonnes to be delivered from its forests to the Ballast Head port each day.
Mr Brand said New Forests bought the Ballast Head site from the receiver-manager of Gunns Limited earlier this year after selecting it as a viable port from a study that took into account commercial, environmental, and social criteria.
New Forests’ development of a new port is expected to bring wider benefits to the island and help stimulate its economy.
Mr Brand said the benefits of the new port will include providing an open access freight hub to help lower the cost of freight from the island — carried by commercial shippers — helping make the island’s other industries more viable.
“It makes sense to build a general purpose multi-user port for agricultural produce and other freight such as fuel, oil, machinery, grain, hay and timber,” he said.
“We will need one ship every four to six weeks, taking 30,000 tonnes of logs, initially, to China which is a well established market for hardwood logs and more valuable than woodchips.”
The trust owns 10,500ha of the island’s 17,000ha of blue gum forests, which it bought from the old managed investment scheme company Great Southern in 2013, after buying the land in 2011.
Mr Brand predicts a bright long-term future for forestry on Kangaroo Island because it has the highest productivity of any of its growing regions due to good rainfall, a temperate climate and flat land.
Benefits of building the port for the island economy are expected to include payments of $20 million a year for harvesting 200,000 to 300,000 tonnes of timber and haulage, plus a significant economic multiplier benefit.
New Forests plans to progress its feasibility study to refine the costs of implementing the port before moving into a full planning and development phase in 2016. Separately, listed entity KI Plantation Timbers is progressing its plans for a port at Smith Bay.