Smith Welcomes First Log Shipments To India

  • Dr Lockwood Smith

Forestry Minister Lockwood Smith has welcomed the first shipments of New Zealand logs to the vast Indian timber market.

The shipments follow a recent Indian High Court ruling restricting the harvesting of indigenous forests.

The ruling, coupled with domestic wood supply shortfalls and international pressure, have forced India to reduce tariffs on imported wood. This has allowed New Zealand companies to compete effectively in India for the first time.

"Two shipments of logs have already gone to India and a third is currently being arranged," Dr Smith said.

"Getting access to this vast market is particularly good news given that our timber harvest is due to grow by 70% in the next 10 years and nearly double within 20 years.

"Given this anticipated upswing and the current shortfall in domestic processing capacity, the development of new export log markets is vital," Dr Smith said.

In the longer term, the minister hoped as many logs as possible would be processed in New Zealand so that more export dollars could be earned through adding value.

"But in the meantime it is important that companies maintain healthy balance sheets so they are in a strong position to make the investment that's needed in processing facilities," Dr Smith said.

"The opening up of a new and very large log market like India will help New Zealand operators do just that."