Loggers unable to work

Trucks and crews laid up by weather’s impact

Trucks and crews laid up by weather’s impact

Climate change minister James Shaw (left) looks at the vast amount of slash at Paroa Station as Nick Zaman, Gisborne District Council’s director of environmental services and protection, explains what happened during the recent flooding. Mr Shaw visited Tolaga Bay Beach, where much slash still remains and later drove along Paroa Road and Tauwhareparae Road, two roads heavily damaged by flooding. He was accompanied by deputy mayor Rehette Stoltz, Gisborne district councillor Pat Seymour, council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann and other council staff. Mr Shaw said he was amazed by “the sheer amount of water” that had struck Tolaga Bay. The minister also spoke to several Uawa residents. Picture by Paul Rickard

Hundreds of forestry workers and log truck drivers have been unable to work since Queen’s Birthday weekend, when heavy rain washed out roads around the region.

Logging truck company co-owner Warwick Wilshier says they are losing $100,000 of revenue a day — “easily”.

Mr Wilshier is a shareholder in two logging truck companies — Pacific Haulage Ltd and Williams and Wilshier — which own 70 logging trucks between them.

“It has been pretty tough on the company and on the guys.

“Some days we have been able to work and some days they are all parked up.”

Towards the end of last week they had about half of their drivers back on the roads.

Mr Wilshier said they were looking after their staff and all were being paid.

“They’re not taking annual leave. We don’t expect them to take that when it’s not their fault, so they are still being paid by the company.

“It’s a weather event.”

Every day, drivers turned up and the company reviewed the roads that were open.

“We get those working who can and send the rest home.

Everybody has been pretty good about it.”

Mr Wilshier said they were not expecting any assistance from Government, even though Eastland Wood Council had let the Ministry of Primary Industries know about the financial impact on companies.

“We really appreciate the efforts of Tairawhiti Roads and Downer trying to get the roads open and keeping us all informed, and the patience of the public and people living in those areas.”

Once access was restored to these forestry blocks, there would be a “wave of production”. This would put “huge stress” on workers as they tried to get wood out of the forest as quickly as possible.

Kohntrol Forest Services Ltd owner Julian Kohn said crews that were able to work had fairly high stock levels of logs sitting on skid sites.

There would be a lot of pressure on trucking companies and logging crews to get the wood out as quickly as they could, as soon as access was restored.

It was costing about $7000 a day for each of those crews, which amounted to $63,000.

Each crew had about six to eight people in it, and each crew had two or three logging trucks and drivers.

“The impact is pretty significant.”

The issues were not just in Uawa. Mr Kohn said the second bout of heavy rain a week later brought issues to Bruce Road at Te Karaka, and to Tangihau at the back of Ngatapa.

Mr Kohn said over the past two weeks production had dropped by about 60 to 70 percent.

“If you extrapolate that into other companies as well, it is horrendous.”

Because of this, downstream effects were being felt at Eastland Port and export companies.

Ships in the Eastland Port schedule, at sea at the moment, would be cancelled because there were not enough logs to fill them up.

“You can’t just produce another 30,000 tonnes of logs from another part of the country to fill ships up,” said Mr Kohn.

Eastland Port has experienced a drop of 7000 tonnes of logs coming to the port each day.

General manager Andrew Gaddum said there was no doubt this would have an impact on ship numbers.

“We had around 12,000 tonnes a day coming into the port. This dropped to 7000 tonnes a day following the first event, and after the second event it dropped further to 5000 a day.”

The port was about three shiploads down on where they would have been without the events of the past few weeks.

DPS Haulage owner Darren Sinclair has about 20 trucks, the majority of which have been parked up because of road closures.

This week, Mr Sinclair has brought drivers and trucks to the branch in Whakatane so they can keep working.

“The men have had to leave their families for a week and there is added cost of putting them up in motels.

Mr Sinclair said he was expecting things to start moving in this region over the next couple of days.

“The roading guys are working hard to get the roads open.”

Mr Sinclair said the losses were “substantial”.

It was hardest for owner-operator truck drivers who sub-contracted to the company.

Chris McGrath is an owner-operator of two log trucks.

Both trucks turn over $100,000 a month. He and two staff drive them and one operates around the clock.

His two drivers, who usually work 65 to 70 hours a week, have been able to work for only 35 hours, and Mr McGrath has not been able to work at all.

“It’s pretty big. It’s pretty much knuckle down and get into survival-mode.

“We are all of the opinion that our road user charges go out of the district, and not a high enough percentage is retained to maintain our roads here.”

Hundreds of forestry workers and log truck drivers have been unable to work since Queen’s Birthday weekend, when heavy rain washed out roads around the region.

Logging truck company co-owner Warwick Wilshier says they are losing $100,000 of revenue a day — “easily”.

Mr Wilshier is a shareholder in two logging truck companies — Pacific Haulage Ltd and Williams and Wilshier — which own 70 logging trucks between them.

“It has been pretty tough on the company and on the guys.

“Some days we have been able to work and some days they are all parked up.”

Towards the end of last week they had about half of their drivers back on the roads.

Mr Wilshier said they were looking after their staff and all were being paid.

“They’re not taking annual leave. We don’t expect them to take that when it’s not their fault, so they are still being paid by the company.

“It’s a weather event.”

Every day, drivers turned up and the company reviewed the roads that were open.

“We get those working who can and send the rest home.

Everybody has been pretty good about it.”

Mr Wilshier said they were not expecting any assistance from Government, even though Eastland Wood Council had let the Ministry of Primary Industries know about the financial impact on companies.

“We really appreciate the efforts of Tairawhiti Roads and Downer trying to get the roads open and keeping us all informed, and the patience of the public and people living in those areas.”

Once access was restored to these forestry blocks, there would be a “wave of production”. This would put “huge stress” on workers as they tried to get wood out of the forest as quickly as possible.

Kohntrol Forest Services Ltd owner Julian Kohn said crews that were able to work had fairly high stock levels of logs sitting on skid sites.

There would be a lot of pressure on trucking companies and logging crews to get the wood out as quickly as they could, as soon as access was restored.

It was costing about $7000 a day for each of those crews, which amounted to $63,000.

Each crew had about six to eight people in it, and each crew had two or three logging trucks and drivers.

“The impact is pretty significant.”

The issues were not just in Uawa. Mr Kohn said the second bout of heavy rain a week later brought issues to Bruce Road at Te Karaka, and to Tangihau at the back of Ngatapa.

Mr Kohn said over the past two weeks production had dropped by about 60 to 70 percent.

“If you extrapolate that into other companies as well, it is horrendous.”

Because of this, downstream effects were being felt at Eastland Port and export companies.

Ships in the Eastland Port schedule, at sea at the moment, would be cancelled because there were not enough logs to fill them up.

“You can’t just produce another 30,000 tonnes of logs from another part of the country to fill ships up,” said Mr Kohn.

Eastland Port has experienced a drop of 7000 tonnes of logs coming to the port each day.

General manager Andrew Gaddum said there was no doubt this would have an impact on ship numbers.

“We had around 12,000 tonnes a day coming into the port. This dropped to 7000 tonnes a day following the first event, and after the second event it dropped further to 5000 a day.”

The port was about three shiploads down on where they would have been without the events of the past few weeks.

DPS Haulage owner Darren Sinclair has about 20 trucks, the majority of which have been parked up because of road closures.

This week, Mr Sinclair has brought drivers and trucks to the branch in Whakatane so they can keep working.

“The men have had to leave their families for a week and there is added cost of putting them up in motels.

Mr Sinclair said he was expecting things to start moving in this region over the next couple of days.

“The roading guys are working hard to get the roads open.”

Mr Sinclair said the losses were “substantial”.

It was hardest for owner-operator truck drivers who sub-contracted to the company.

Chris McGrath is an owner-operator of two log trucks.

Both trucks turn over $100,000 a month. He and two staff drive them and one operates around the clock.

His two drivers, who usually work 65 to 70 hours a week, have been able to work for only 35 hours, and Mr McGrath has not been able to work at all.

“It’s pretty big. It’s pretty much knuckle down and get into survival-mode.

“We are all of the opinion that our road user charges go out of the district, and not a high enough percentage is retained to maintain our roads here.”

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Sarah Curtis - 1 year ago
Perhaps, meantime, they could all get to work helping to clean up some of the environmental disaster created by the industry that pays them!

Jackie - 1 year ago
I wonder what the slash is like around at Cooks Cove? Will that be cleaned up also if the need is there?