New Zealand Sawmills Plan Expansion to Meet Increasing Product Demand

Increased demand for lumber products in New Zealand has led to a national supply shortage. As such, both Kiwi Lumber sawmill and WET Gisborne Ltd., are experiencing greater demand for their finished products. In response to that demand, both companies are taking proactive steps to increase their production. Alan Gresham, managing director, of Kiwi Lumber said that they are making a $16 million investment in new equipment in their recently purchased Matawhero sawmill. The upgrades should take approximately 10 months to complete. Gresham noted that their Gisborne mill had not been impacted by a shortage of lumber after Carter Holt Harvey’s (CHH) decision to stop supplying some Kiwi outlets. “The sawmill is a pruned mill and as such doesn’t produce structural framing for the New Zealand market. It does, however, produce decking and other feedstock to New Zealand customers such as pallet manufacturers and re-manufacturers.” Kiwi Lumber’s sawmill at Masterton does produce structural framing. “We are increasing production there and have very strong demand,” said Gresham. Similarly, WET Gisborne Ltd — a joint venture between Trust Tairawhiti and Wood Engineering Technology — has also experienced increased demand. Shaun Bosson, chief executive said, “We have seen a sharp increase in requests for our optimized engineered lumber (OELTM) engineered wood product. “Immediately OELTM has been used as a substitute for the unavailable CHH solid lumber, providing our customers the additional benefits of both high and consistent strength and significantly improved dimensional stability — thus reducing the amount of wood needed in construction and any rework traditionally required with solid lumber.” Bosson went onto say that the business had made excellent progress on moves to a 24/7 operating model later in the year.

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Mill expansion plans