The first barge load of 300 cubic metres of pine logs from the KIPT estate is being loaded aboard the Rocksea today to be towed to Port Adelaide, where it will be containerised and shipped to a customer in South Korea.
KIPT Managing Director Keith Lamb acknowledged this was a milestone for the company in its harvest and marketing of the fire-impacted timber but reiterated that this was a “proof of concept” start by the company and that the approval of the Smith Bay export facility was still the company’s primary objective.
“The fire impacted pine has a short shelf life. It need to be harvested and processed. We have started storing our pine in dams on our properties to preserve it as we await the approval and building of the Smith Bay facility, but we do not have enough water storage so we must begin exporting.
“There are one million tonnes of pine between us and the independent growers that need a solution in the next 18 months. Today’s shipment is important but this is a costly and inefficient way to export and won’t be the solution for all of that timber.”
“If we exported all of the pine as we’ve done today we would need 5000 days to do it – every day for 13.5 years. It would no doubt become more efficient but not enough to get this fire-damaged resource away over the next couple of years, nor to cope with blue gum and then the new timber from re-planting. It would be a huge impact on the township of Kingscote and I don’t think that’s what the community wants.”
The arrival of the barge Rocksea yesterday and the loading today has generated a lot of interest in Kingscote, with many residents and tourists visiting the wharf to watch proceedings.KIPT is the client of the barging operation, which is being run by T-Ports and Maritime Constructions. These companies have a development plan application under way to repair and improve the barge facility at Kingscote to make the operation more efficient.
KIPT is also actively marketing its timber to mills in the Green Triangle for milling into timber for the construction industry, with a showcase truckload of logs scheduled to head off via the Sealink ferry after Easter.
Radiata pine comprises about 20 per cent of the KIPT estate. Planning continues for the harvest and export of more than three million tonnes of blue gum.