Debarking near Northport

By Mike Dinsdale

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Export logs at Northport, above, will start being debarked before heading overseas from February.
Export logs at Northport, above, will start being debarked before heading overseas from February.

The company that operates Gisborne's port has won the contract to build and run a $2.5 million debarking facility next to Northport that could provide up to six new jobs for the region.

Eastland Port, in Gisborne, is one of only two companies nationally that does debarking and after making the shortlist of three from a pool of 10 vying for the Northland Port Corporation contract, was given the green light earlier this month.

Port manager at Eastland Port Andrew Gaddum said the company was invited to submit a debarking and anti-sap staining proposal because of the success of the debarking plant it set up at Gisborne four years ago.

Mr Gaddum said the main debarking head for the unit was built in the United States but most of the mechanical plant was made by fellow Gisborne company Universal Engineering. The plant should start being built on Northland Port Corp land next to Northport, at Marsden Pt, in mid-December, with the debarking operation up and running by next February.

He said the plant would initially have one staff member from the Gisborne operation and one or two employed from Northland. Once fully operational there could be up to six staff employed from Northland to run the plant.

Mr Gaddum said the plant would completely debark the logs for Northport allowing them to be fully fumigated ahead of being exported. Removing the bark would also allow for a few more logs to be put into the cargo hold.

He said the bark was essentially a waste product and he was keen to hear from any Northland firms, such as landscapers, who were interested in large quantities of bark.

Mr Gaddum said the Northland Port Corp debarking operation would be similar in size to the one in Gisborne and would be wholly owned by Eastland Port.

He said coming from Gisborne port he was impressed with Northport and especially the large tract of commercial land that Northland Port Corp owns adjacent to Northport available for development as part of the port.

"It's an impressive operation and there's so much ability for the port to grow," Mr Gaddum said.

Northland Port Corporation is a 50 per cent owner of Northport with Ports of Tauranga.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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