New Zealand logs are piling up on Chinese wharves as cheap, sawn timber makes its way by train into the People's Republic from Russia and Scandinavia and puts the skids under prices.

In just a few months, "A" grade log prices have gone from US$138/140 a tonne to US$110 a tonne, and could sink as low as US$100 to US$105/tonne.

NZ Forest Owners Association president Peter Weir said about five million tonnes of logs — mostly from New Zealand — are sitting on wharves in China, unsold.

"A comfortable level is about one million tonnes and there are quite a