The trucks started rolling through New Zealand's biggest log scaling station at Eastland Port in Gisborne at 4am this morning. (Monday)
The $1 million-plus facility – built by Eastland Port and leased to national logistics company C3 – was officially opened yesterday.
C3 chief executive Dean Camplin said it marked a fantastic day for the forestry industry.
“It reflects how the industry has matured in this region. The promise has been here a long time and has now been realised.”
Eastland Port is enjoying continuing record volumes of log exports, and it is expected around 1.2 million tonnes of logs will cross the wharves in the current financial year.
C3 operate throughout all 12 of the nation's log export ports, and the new three bay 650 square metre station set a benchmark for the rest of the country.
“It is a superior facility and the very best we have in New Zealand to work from. It is a statement for the future.”
Mr Camplin said the region's forestry had experienced approximately 30% compounding growth over the past four years – and all C3's customers were indicating that would continue.
While it came with a caution that there needed to be balance within the industry and the maturity profile of the forests, Mr Camplin said Gisborne and the East Coast was well poised to benefit.
Eastland Port manager Andrew Gaddum had high praise for key people involved in the project.
“Not many projects run this smoothly and on time,” he said of the three month effort.
“This station is a real bonus for the port and a vast improvement on the original facility, and is a demonstration of the port's commitment to the region's forestry industry,” he said.
The design had been a collaborative effort between the port and C3.
Mayor Meng Foon underlined the sacredness of the land that had Titirangi maunga guarding over it.
“We have grown a lot from a small coastal port to the international port we are today,” he said, in congratulating both Eastland Port and C3 for their partnership and the partnership with the community.
“The forestry industry is in fantastic heart and we are looking forward to new projects, including the Hikurangi Forest Farms Mill which will have a $220 million spend and at least 300 jobs at the mill.”
The flow-on effect of that was hundreds more jobs and Mr Foon said he expected around 1000 would be needed in all.
Reverend Temple Isaacs was happy to be blessing the station, and to be at the opening as a decent of Ngati Oneone.
“This will create revenue and keep unemployment down – thank you to the vision of the people for this wonderful scaling station. It is a wonderful opportunity for our people and we go forward together in unity.”
At its peak, the station will be able to process around 25 trucks an hour.