Market data China Export Logs and Timber

New Zealand log exports recover sharply post COVID freeze

By Antoine Grisay on August, 31 2020

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Antoine Grisay

COVID-19 measures imposed in New Zealand caused log exports and logistics to grind to a halt from March to May 2020. Shipfix data insights have since validated the progressive recovery in log trades out of the country.


Untreated logs are the third largest export product out of New Zealand, with China taking about 80% of the total trade volume, valuing that market at approximately $3bn. Tauranga, the largest port in the country reported the impact on log trade in its Financial Results FYE 06-2020:

“In the first half of the financial year, log volumes were hit by lower international prices and demand. By March positive signs were emerging in China, New Zealand’s major log export market, as business there returned to normal and demand increased. However, forestry was deemed a non-essential industry during New Zealand’s Level 4 lockdown from late March. Log inventory stored at the Mount Maunganui wharves could be shipped to make way for essential cargoes, but cart-in did not resume through the port gates until early May. Overall, log volumes decreased 21.5% compared with the previous year, to 5.5 million tonnes.”

Shipfix data insights reveal the increase in log cargoes placed into the market since May and evidence the resumption of Chinese imports from New Zealand..

The supply of logs fitted handysize vessels was swift to meet the prompt increase in demand as the market reopened. Could we see an oversupply once excess inventories have been cleared, or will volumes sustain further opportunity for handysize operators?

Shipfix covers over 460 commodities and the movements of the global commercial fleet across global trade routes. Contact the Shipfix team now to learn more about how Shipfix data insights can provide you with a critical edge

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