A predicted slowdown in the export woodchip market is having an impact on the Green Triangle economy with reports of lay-offs and cuts in operating hours in harvesting and haulage sectors. Source: Timberbiz
It is understood that the woodchip pile at the Port of Portland has reached maximum capacity fuelled by a lack of export ships and a drop in global chip prices caused by instability in European markets which has been driven by Brexit confusion and as well as the US-China trade wars.
Brad Coates from the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union has suggested between 50 and 100 jobs have already been affected by the slump.
He said the export industry was cyclical and local industries had no control over it.
Adam Merrett from Merrett Logging in Penola has confirmed the harvesting sector is feeling the brunt of the downturn.
While there was a massive amount of woodchips sitting in Portland he hoped the current situation was just a short-term hiccup.
Leon Rademeyer, the South Australian branch manager of the Australian Forest Products Association, said the South-East Asian market for wood fibre was currently experiencing a slowdown.
The slowdown had been expected and was anticipated to ease in the medium term in line with growing domestic and international demand.
But because forest industries were the backbone of the regional economy and a major employer it was often at the local level where global fluctuations hit the hardest.