KUCHING: Ta Ann Holdings Bhd is progressively extending zebra logging, a new reduced impact logging (RIL) methodology, to all its logging and reforestation areas as part of the company’s sustainable forest management.
Group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Wong Kuo Hea said the company adopted zebra logging last year to replace the conventional method.
“Zebra logging minimises impact of timber harvesting operations on the environment while giving better harvesting efficiency at high and steep terrain areas,” he added in the company’s newly released 2013 annual report.
By adopting zebra planting under reforestation programme, he said this would leave vegetation between selective planting terraces/strips untouched.
Ta Ann has expanded its forest plantations to 35,052ha with 1,592ha planted last year. The focus of the new planting is on the kelampayan species.
Some 31,000ha of planted forest comprise of fast-growing acacia while other cultivated species are sawi, benuang and engkabang.
Last year, Wong said Ta Ann’s logs production volume declined by 2.8% to 406,742 cu m from 418,575 cu m in 2012. The company achieved a 13% increase in logs selling price year-on-year.
About 69% of the logs exported by the group last year went to India, followed by Japan (13%), Taiwan (11%) and China (3%). Some 53% of the exported logs was of meranti species.
“Log demand and price are expected to improve with tighter log supply due to the log export ban by Myanmar in April-2014,” he added.
On plywood, Wong said the company’s Sibu production volume fell by 9% to 177,640 cu m last year from 2012’s 195,284 cu as a result of the implementation of new policy of no production on Sundays and public holidays to mitigate the impact of minimum wage.
However, sales volume increased by 0.2% to 190,633 cu m (made up of 146,990 cu m of Malaysian plywood and 43,643 cu m of PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certified eco plywood ) year-on-year, with 94% of the plywood export went to Japan.
Ta Ann Tasmania subsidiary produced 68,531 cu m of veneer last year, which was 21.3% lower from 87,106 cu m in 2012. Its sales volume tumbled by 49.7% to 45,112 cu m in the same period.
Last year, the Tasmania subsidiary returned 108,000 cu m per annum or 41% of its wood supply contractor to the Australian government, which made compensation of RM86.8mil in return.
According to Wong, the outlook for the plywood market looks very promising with the recovery of the Japanese housing market as a result of the inflation policy implemented by the Japanese government.
“Demand for plywood is also expected to improve as the infrastructure and construction preparation for Tokyo 2020 Olympics will spur higher demand from Japan,” he said.
Wong said Ta Ann had recently obtained “Standardsmark” certification from SAI Global that meant that the company’s plywood products met the Australian standard.
He said the new certification, together with the PEFC, would be a valuable marketing point for Ta Ann to diversify into the Australian market.
The group is upgrading the Tasmanian veneer processing to include a plywood processing line to produce products for the Australian market. The new plywood line is expected to be commissioned in end-2014.
The company has carried out sustainable harvesting of acacia from its planted forests to meet the shortfall of natural forest logs for timber manufacturing.
Wong said a new veneer mill at planted acacia harvesting site in Zumida unit would be constructed for target commissioning in the second half of this year.
Ta Ann also produced sawn timber and moulding products.