China market update - The combined effect of strict environmental inspection, the trade friction between China and the United States and the volatility of RMB exchange rate coupled with declining domestic demand is having a big impact on the level of trade and prices at the Zhangjiagang timber market. Analysts write that it is the falling domestic demand that is of most concern to traders.
Zhangjiagang city is the largest distribution centre for imported timber in China. At present there are 28 timber markets around the Zhangjiagang Port with an operation area of more than 1 million square metres and over 2000 timber traders and hundreds of timber processing mills. About half of these mills have developed in recent years.
Zhangjiagang timber imports account for about 25% of all timber imports. The major issue for the industries in the area during 2018 was environmental protection as wood processing plants become the focus of attention because of their poor pollution abatement technologies.
Most of the timber enterprises around the Zhangjiagang Port are family workshops having no effective measures to deal with pollution. This led to the Zhangjiagang industries becoming the focus of investigation in 2018.
As many as 60% of wood processing enterprises around Zhangjiagang Port have been forced to close due to environment control problems since the beginning of 2018. In addition the domestic economic downturn is proving fatal for many small enterprises.
The Chinese real estate industry is the mainstay of the national economy and this suffered a heavy blow in 2018 due to the economic downturn.
Port of Tauranga (NZX.POT), New Zealand’s largest port, today reported a strong start to the 2019 financial year, with increased cargo volumes contributing to a 4.0% increase in Group Net Profit After Tax to $49.0 million.
• Total trade increased 8.8% to nearly 13.6 million tonnes
• Container volumes grew 5.1% to 621,117 TEUs
• Group Net Profit After Tax increased 4.0%, to $49.0 million for the six months to 31 December 2018
• Transhipment growth continued, with volumes increasing 18.9% to 174,983 TEUs
• Imports increased 5.7% from 4.7 million tonnes to almost 5.0 million tonnes
• Exports increased 10.8% from 7.7 million tonnes to 8.6 million tonnes, with a significant increase in log exports (up 11.7%)
• Interim dividend of 6 cents per share, up 5.3% on the previous period’s dividend.
Half year trade volumes at the country’s busiest cargo gateway grew by 8.8% overall.
Transhipment volumes, where containers are transferred from one service to another at Tauranga, continue to rise as the Port solidifies its role as an international hub. It allows shippers from all over New Zealand to access fast and frequent connections to North Asia and South America. Transhipments made up more than a fifth of containers handled over the six month period.
Port of Tauranga Chair, David Pilkington, said the results were very pleasing.
“Group operating profit grew 4.0% in the first half of the financial year. Tauranga is working very well as an international hub port for shippers looking to quickly and efficiently access large ship container services.
“Tauranga is the only New Zealand port that can easily accommodate these big ships and we are very pleased by the amount of transhipment occurring from other New Zealand locations as well as Australia,” said Mr Pilkington.
Bulk cargo volumes also continued to grow, driven largely by the increase in log exports but also increases in kiwifruit, meat and apple exports.
Port of Tauranga’s inland freight hub, MetroPort Auckland, handled a 3.8% increase in containers to set a new record in cargo transferred by rail to and from Auckland during the seasonal peak between October and December.
Port of Tauranga Chief Executive, Mark Cairns, said it was pleasing that KiwiRail had been able to gear up quickly to transfer shipments diverted to Tauranga due to operational issues in Auckland. He said Port of Tauranga was continually assessing the future needs of importers and exporters to ensure we invest in a timely manner the meet the anticipated growth.
“It has been two and a half years since the successful completion of our expansion programme to accommodate larger ships,” he said.
“All evidence points to a continuing trend to larger vessels. Our strategy to create long term value for our shareholders is clearly working and we are now planning for the next stage of cargo growth,” said Mr Cairns.
A ninth container crane has been ordered for delivery in 2020 and preparations are under way to extend the container terminal quay by up to 385 metres by converting port-owned land south of the existing 770-metre quay. The Company is assessing options for increasing container storage and handling capacity.
Reconfiguration of existing wharf space is under way on both sides of the harbour to ensure efficient cargo handling.
“We also have the capacity to increase train frequency in future as required,” said Mr Cairns.
Rail is Port of Tauranga’s preferred mode of cargo transfer due to its environmental benefits and to avoid contributing to road congestion, which is an ongoing concern for Tauranga residents due to the massive population growth in the region.
“Long term value creation for our shareholders is only possible if we keep up our efforts to enhance our environmental performance, our relationships with our employees, our suppliers and our community,” said Mr Cairns.
In the six months to 31 January 2019, the Port’s use of rail avoided the equivalent of more than 300,000 truck movements.
Port of Tauranga has renewed its long-term operating agreement with Oji Fibre Solutions, New Zealand’s major manufacturer of market kraft pulps, container board and packaging products. Oji has committed to consolidating the majority of its import and export cargo volumes through Port of Tauranga for the next decade.
Log exports remain buoyant on the back of strong demand from China and record international prices. Log volumes increased 11.7% to 3.7 million tonnes for the six month period, while sawn timber volumes increased 9.0%.
Kiwifruit volumes increased 30.2% compared with the previous corresponding period, with the trend continuing towards refrigerated containerisation of kiwifruit exports.
Other produce exports also grew substantially, with volumes of frozen meat increasing 17.3% and apples increasing 64.9% compared with the same period last year.
Dairy product exports remained steady, with the volumes the same as the first half of the last financial year.
Imported oil products, fertilisers, chemicals and bulk liquids remained steady or decreased slightly. Salt and grain imports increased 15.5% and 7.3% respectively.
Ship visits decreased 5.4% to 842 in the six month period but their average length continues to increase.
Quality Marshalling, which is 100% owned by Port of Tauranga, continues to perform well with a refreshed portfolio of cargo and service contracts. Its earnings increased 36.4% compared with the previous corresponding period.
Our Associate Companies’ earnings declined compared with the previous six month period. Industry environment
Mr Pilkington said Port of Tauranga was pleased the Government have preserved the opt-out provisions of Multi Employer Collective Agreements (MECA) in proposed employment legislation. “However, we are concerned about the potential impacts of the recommendations from the Fair Pay Agreement Working Group and we will be watching developments closely,” he said.
Mr Pilkington said that the likely outcome of the Government’s Upper North Island Supply Chain Study was unclear at this stage.
“We have had brief contact with the working group to date and we await their report with interest,” he said.
Port of Tauranga is on track to deliver a strong result for the full financial year, subject to any significant change in the global trading environment and the usual cyclical fluctuations in commodity cargo volumes.
We expect our earnings to be at the upper end of the previous guidance of $96 to $101 million given at our Annual Meeting in October.
About Port of Tauranga:
Port of Tauranga, headquartered in the Bay of Plenty, is New Zealand’s largest port and international freight gateway. It operates wharves in Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Timaru, as well as MetroPort Auckland, a rail-linked inland port in South Auckland and MetroPort Christchurch, an intermodal freight hub in Rolleston. The Port of Tauranga Group includes: Quality Marshalling (100% ownership), a cargo services company; Coda (50% ownership), a freight logistics group; Northport (50% ownership), the deep water commercial port in Whangarei; PrimePort Timaru (50% ownership), the commercial port in Timaru; Timaru Container Terminal (50.1% ownership), which leases and operates the terminal at Timaru; and PortConnect (50% ownership), an online cargo management system. For more information, please visit www.port-tauranga.co.nz
Thanks to the team at Champion Freight, we have the latest review of New Zealand's log export markets to the end of December 2018. As you can see in the accompanying graphic, total log export values to China to the end of 2018 are up 18 percent year-on-year, to over NZ$2.7 billion contributing to overall log exports growing 18 percent across all markets. This is despite markets in India (down 7%) and Japan (down 25%) dropping over the year.
To the end of December, China shipments month-on-month were up 7 percent and overall log exports up 4 percent.
(Editor's footnote: China was New Zealand’s top export market for major exports including dairy products ($4.0 billion), logs and wood ($2.9 billion), and meat ($1.9 billion), for the year ended September 2018. The value of these sales has mostly risen over the past three years.)
Earlier in the week, emergency warnings were issued for several communities in the Huon Valley, Tasmania with residents advised to consider leaving their properties for a safer place. The Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) said the fire danger rating reached severe and "exceeded forecast conditions".
ABC reported that crews contained a fire at the Southwood wood processing site after embers breached skylights, but there was extensive damage. The TFS deputy operations officer, Phil Smith, told a community meeting at Huonville it would affect employment in the longer term.
"We've been able to contain the fire but it has damaged some of the machinery, it's damaged extensively the outside and other parts of Ta Ann [timber mill]," he said. "Firefighters have been working along with crew from Sustainable Timbers Tasmania to try to preserve what can be salvaged from that site.
By mid-week, more than 520 crew were working on fires and 173,000 hectares had been burnt. The state is facing more challenging conditions in the days ahead, despite a forecast drop in temperatures. It is expected the change will bring little rainfall and a change in wind direction.
The Bureau of Meteorlogy’s rainfall data for January shows most of Australia averaging 20% or less than its average rainfall for the month. Amid the threats to properties, environment groups were warning of an unfolding crisis for Tasmania’s world heritage forests.
The Wilderness Society said the state’s firefighting crews were working to capacity protecting communities and properties and that international specialists should be brought in to assist with water-bombing of the state’s remote alpine areas.
“The scale of the fires, with over 2.5% of Tasmania burnt or burning, has overwhelmed firefighting capacity to the extent that little is available to combat remote fires in the Tasmania wilderness world heritage area,” the organisation said.
Vica Bayley, the Tasmania campaign manager for TWS, said “the impacted area in the world heritage area is significant already: many tens of thousands of hectares and growing every day and there’s no end in sight.
“We’d like to see the governments make the call now for additional international resources because it seems this emergency is going to drag on longer and threaten both properties and these irreplaceable wild places and we’ve got an obligation to protect both.”
Source: ABC, thegauradian.com