Walbran Transport Analysis

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Northland Woodchip Transport

CHH Pulp & Paper operate a kraft pulpmill at Kawerau, which manufactures a range of kraft pulp products.  Key raw material for fibre cement pulp is sawmill chip with long fibres, which are more prevalent in chip sourced from Northland.  A key component of CHH’s growth strategy for their kraft pulp business is to secure the fibre required and to implement a logistics solution that ensures the investment delivers a return over the long term.

The company currently transports about 100,000 tonne pa of wood chip from Whangarei to Kawerau by road for subsequent processing into baled pulp.  The quantity of wood chip transported is expected to rise in 2007 and remain at high levels for the foreseeable future.  The company recognised that transport by barge or rail was a possibility.  They undertook a desktop study of the barging alternative and are currently trialing the rail alternative to prove its viability.  The desktop study demonstrated that barging was not financially viable.  The initial trials have proved the physical feasibility of transport by rail but also demonstrated that rail is not financially viable.

Environment Waikato commissioned Warwick Walbran Consulting Limited to investigate the economics of the rail and barge transport modes to determine whether they could qualify for a subsidy payment from the National Land Transport Fund.

The detailed transport costings undertaken for this investigation resulted in development of a better understanding of the proposal and a consequent focus on barging chip from the Laminated Veener Lumber (LVL) plant at Marsden Point and railing the chip from TDC Sawmills (TDC).  CHHs intention is to use road transport for some of the chip from LVL and TDC to maintain transport flexibility.

Outcome – A funding request is imminent. 

Client Comments

This project is technically complex involving multiple parties.  Warwick has developed a solution acceptable to all parties.
– Bill McMaster, Environment Waikato.

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