Record shipments leave Albany port

TIM EDMUNDSAlbany Advertiser

Growing demand for local bluegum plantations from China continued when a record shipment of woodchips left Albany port headed for Hong Kong on Wednesday, August 21.

The significant milestone of 56,000 tonnes left aboard the world’s largest woodchip carrier the Batavia Express.

The shipment eclipsed the previous record of about 53,000 tonnes.

Australian Bluegum Plantations Albany regional manager Carl Richardson said the shipment was possibly the biggest load to leave Australia, but the claim was yet to be confirmed.

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He said the shipment was a sign of growing interest from the Chinese since the market was established two years ago.

ABP exports doubled to about 1.5 million tonnes last year.

“Traditionally, the industry exported to Japan and China is catching up really to be on par,” Mr Richardson said. “We are seeing growing demand in China for our product and it’s good to have a market additional to our traditional Japanese market.

“China is now a major buyer of woodchips from Australia.”

ABP purchased assets from Timbercorp, Elders and Gunns beginning in 2009, and port receival facilities in the latter half of 2012, and now owns 40,000ha of plantations in the region.

Mr Richardson said he expected China to pass Japan as ABP’s biggest customer within the next two years while interest in India also grows.

He said ABP was currently in talks with customers in India to export woodchips and logs from Albany, which is ongoing.

“Our exports have been growing since 2010, and it is good we are engaging contractors. We are leasing land and we are continuing to re-establish plantations that are viable to do so,” he said.

Another shipment of woodchips is planned for early September.

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