Improving log and woodchip export supply chain management
A new research initiative from the University of the Sunshine Coast will work to identify the most efficient and effective export log and woodchip supply chains. The group will examine innovative technologies, systems, methods and best practices from around the world.
The University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) has commenced a project that seeks to improve the profitability and efficiency of export log and woodchip product systems.
Conducted by USC’s Forest Industries Research Centre, the researchers will work to identify and implement innovative technologies, systems, methods and best practices from around the world, to ensure the most efficient and effective export log and woodchip supply chains.
The project is being rolled out following a 2015 investment plan developed by Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) to address the research, development and engagement needs and priorities of the Australian log and woodchip export industries.
Following thorough industry consultation, this investment plan identified and prioritised supply chain issues and key research opportunities for both hardwood and softwood logs and woodchips.
To address the issues and opportunities identified in the plan, this project will be conducted across the following four key areas:
- Equipment and operations will focus on log and chip handling and ship loading technologies aimed at minimising costs and maximising load density, including debarking solutions.
- Value and quality management will focus on effective management of wood quality with log and woodchip storage in the supply chain.
- Measurement and inventory management will explore and develop improved methods for tracking and measuring logs and woodchips in the export supply chains, and will look at both improved volume and wood quality measurements.
- A review on current best practice in phytosanitary management for log and woodchip export will be provided to industry, with a regular technology watch bulletin distributed throughout the project.
The project will include a number of reviews and knowledge gathering exercises, including field studies and trials, with a view to improving efficiencies and material quality, and reducing costs throughout the industry.
Principal researcher Mark Brown of the Forest Industries Research Centre – University of the Sunshine Coast said the project aims to enable greater market access through providing an improved understanding of resources and the supply chain.
“The knowledge gathered and technologies implemented throughout this project will also provide a better understanding of the quality of fibre being produced and so assist in directing materials to the right markets at the right times,” Mr Brown said.
“In addition, we will gather knowledge that will enable better planning and management over the containerised export supply chain, helping industry make smart decisions and maximise the opportunities associated with using this supply chain for log exports.
“We also want to make sure we are across international best practice when it comes to pest and disease control, and help minimise the need for chemical treatments.”
The project is set to reach completion in November 2019.