close
1 mins to read

Japan likely to boost log imports - consultant


Reconstruction of up to 150,000 buildings in northern Japan in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11 is set to spur log imports from New Zealand, an international forestry consultant says.

NZPA
Tue, 29 Mar 2011

Reconstruction of up to 150,000 buildings in northern Japan in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11 is set to spur log imports from New Zealand, an international forestry consultant says.

"As the domestic forest industry increases production later in 2011, imports of logs predominantly from the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Russia can be expected to increase to their highest levels in at least three years," said Hakan Ekstrom, a principal of United States-based Wood Resources International.

But the reconstruction of infrastucture -- towns, roads, railways and the power grid -- in the impacted region northeast of Tokyo would be lengthy and difficult in the wake of the humanitarian disaster, he said.

The need for construction material was going to be considerable and one mill, responsible for producing up to 25 per cent of Japan's plywood, had reportedly been destroyed.

"Initially, there have been requests from Japanese authorities and trading houses for pre-fabricated houses," he said.

"There have also been inquiries for glue-laminated products and other pre-cut wood products that more quickly can be used for re-building efforts, as opposed to need for basic commodities such as lumber and plywood.

"To start with, the Government has asked for 30,000 temporary houses within two months."

Traditional Japanese housing is wooden-framed -- a system preferred because of its flexibility during earthquakes and the lower risk of inhabitants being crushed in the event of a collapse -- and many commercial and industrial buildings use similar construction because of 1981 and 1995 building code changes.

Japan was already one of the world's largest importers of wood products in the world: the biggest importer of wood chips and plywood, the second largest importer of logs, and was ranked the third biggest importer of lumber in the world last year. It is New Zealand's fourth-largest log market.

The increased demand for New Zealand products would take several months to hit, as areas needed to be cleared of debris and power restored before rebuilding could begin.

Juken New Zealand said it was recruiting 17 staff for its Waingawa mill, in the Wairarapa, in readiness to boost production for rebuilding projects after the earthquake.

NZPA
Tue, 29 Mar 2011
© All content copyright NBR. Do not reproduce in any form without permission, even if you have a paid subscription.
Japan likely to boost log imports - consultant
13474