Australia’s leading forestry and logistics service providers are working together on a three-year deal for the export of approximately 175,000 tonnes of timber per annum from the Bathurst region.
PF Olsen Australia, the nation’s leading independent provider of forest management services, has engaged Asciano Limited subsidiaries Pacific National and C3 to handle and haul the containerised timber from Bathurst to Port Botany in NSW.
The logs will then be shipped to China, where demand for Australian timber continues to grow.
PF Olsen Australia’s managing director Pat Groenhout said between 30 and 35 jobs will be secured for the region, along with $70 million in revenue over the next three years.
He said the project will not only provide employment growth in the Bathurst area, but open market opportunities for the region’s private plantation owners.
The operation will be based at the Bathurst Regional Intermodal Terminal in Lee Street, Kelso. The facility, with its rail spur, has stood empty and unused for a number of years.
“It is a great space and I think it is fabulous it is able to be used again,” Mr Groenhout said.
He said the first train will leave the yard on August 4, and the first ship will sail to China on August 10.
The first shipment of logs is expected to arrive in China within two months.
“It is very exciting for us to be working with Asciano because they are so professional,” Mr Groenhout said.
The logs leaving Bathurst have been harvested from 4000 hectares of private forest in the Oberon and Bathurst area. PF Olsen manages a total of 165,000 hectares of forests and nearly one million tonnes of log harvesting for clients in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia.
Mr Groenhout said the company is looking at securing 20 jobs in forest management, harvesting and hauling in the Bathurst and Oberon area. PF Olsen will also be opening an office in Bathurst in the near future.
C3 will provide log handling services in Bathurst using locally based employees, and Pacific National will provide rail haulage services to Port Botany three times a week.
Mr Groenhout said PF Olsen has spent the past couple of years getting to this point, and hopes it will eventually result in opportunities to buy logs from other growers in the region.
“It is challenging for these small operators to sell all their timber domestically,” Mr Groenhout said.
He explained that the logs would be harvested and measured in the forest and trucked to the intermodal terminal, where they will be unloaded, re-measured, and separated into grades.
They will then be fumigated and packed into shipping containers before being loaded onto trains and transported to Port Botany.
Each train will carry 42 containers filled with logs.