The forestry industry in Hawke's Bay is feeling ripples from the spread of coronavirus in China but the bigger, more "confronting" waves could be just around the corner.
Hawke's Bay Forestry Group chief executive Keith Dolman said the virus that has killed more than 1000 people and badly dented the Chinese economy is on the minds of all forest industry companies and their service agents in Hawke's Bay.
Trucking and logging companies were the ones most at risk in a downturn, he said.
"It has had an impact in many areas and we are concerned as to what happens next," he said.
"This is now a strategic issue for companies, operators and the people who drive this vibrant Hawke's Bay industry."
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He said Pan Pac's operations are largely in support of its pulp mill and sawmill, both of which continue to operate fully and are yet to feel the pinch.
But Dolman said some companies have scaled harvesting back.
One major Hawke's Bay company stopped all operations a week ago but have since resumed at 60 per cent of capacity, he said.
Some small Hawke's Bay growers have also deferred harvesting altogether in the face of uncertainty, he said.
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Napier Port has brought in tighter restrictions for ship's crew and passengers that prevent anyone who has travelled through China, Hong Kong, or other high-risk areas in the last 14 days from disembarking in Napier.
All ships are now required to make a health declaration before arriving at Napier Port, and must disclose any symptoms of coronavirus amongst their passengers or crew.
Napier Port chief executive Todd Dawson said log exports out of Napier were still moving, but some forestry exporters have suspended or reduced their harvesting operations as a result of the extended Lunar New Year in China.
"We're starting to see the flow-on effects of that now, but it's too early to say how long that will last."
Dolman said that the Hawke's Bay market is still trading, albeit against a weaker log price.
"India, Taiwan and Korea markets remain open although the slowdown in China has distorted the log demand/supply curve," he said.
"But keep in mind that the China market was slowing anyway due to an oversupply of logs."
Dawson said the port was keeping in close contact with its customers to understand whether there will be any impact on their businesses, and how this could affect the broader supply chain.
Dolman said that the next couple of weeks are critical and that it is a day-to-day issue for the port to now deal with.
"A prolonged downturn would have a serious flow-on effect as forestry is a major force in the Hawke's Bay landscape," he said.
"The consequences for the people who make this industry work is particularly confronting as is the need to maintain efficacy in the logging and transportation infrastructure which has taken many years to build to the level of effectiveness and efficiency underscoring international market competitiveness."
Dawson said Napier Port would expect logging exports would continue as normal for now.
"It's too early to gauge whether the temporary disruption in China will have a longer term impact."