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December 2015
Sawmilling South Africa News
As this will be our last newsletter of 2015, we thought we should take a look at the issues that made this year one of the more successful in recent times.
Talking about success, all reports from millers, Limpopo to the Cape, are that 2015 was a much improved year to 2014, despite the fact that the greater SA economy only grew by 1.3% (reportedly). If one were to investigate why this is so, it could only be put down to two factors. One, despite the limited growth, sawmilling output actually shrank slightly or certainly did not show any growth, and therefore stayed more or less in line with the economic growth. This had the effect of balancing the supply/demand graph, so there was not an oversupply of timber products on the market. Two, the domestic home building performance registered healthy growth and as we all know this is the segment that drives the demand for structural lumber (roof truss).
On a personal level 2015 was not a great year as we saw the passing of two of our much-loved colleagues. One only has to think of Gary Swarts and Butch James to realise that two big trees fell this year. Let’s hope that the new year brings happier times.
On a technical level, 2015 was once again a productive year indeed. The much-anticipated addition to SABS 1783 (which will allow for mill specific grading and which was initiated by SSA some two years ago) was lead by George Dowse and his team. After much consultation, work and meetings, they have brought the specification to the brink of acceptance and publication by the SABS. We look forward to this significant milestone becoming reality in 2016.
2015 also saw the introduction of the new revised BBB-EE Act and the drafting of the revised codes of good practice for the Forest Sector. Sawmillers had substancial input into this document through SSA’s participation at the FSCC. These codes are currently out for public comment and we urge all members to familiarise themselves with them, as they could change the way many businesses are structured.
On the skills development side, as we reported in last month’s newsletter, the deal the association has brokered with the FP&M Seta for training in our sector will take shape in the New Year as well.
The association also had numerous meetings with officials of various government departments, including DAFF, DTI and DPE (all of which have pledged support for the expansion and development of the sawmilling subsector) and so we look forward to healthy interaction with the government in 2016.
2015 also saw the staging of the WFC in Durban during September and this has resulted in forestry and forest products being given enhanced recognition by all levels of government – not least the Minister and Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. This has raised our profile and ensured that we will get better service from the ministry in the future.
All that remains as the year draws to a close is to take the opportunity to wish all of our extended sawmilling family a blessed Christmas and a happy, safe and festive New Year. Lets hope that 2016 continues to build on the success of 2015.

Roy Southey
Executive Director: Sawmilling South Africa

National News
Timber Industry: A 'perfect storm' brewing
South Africa has seen miners’ strikes, the Marikana massacre, vineyards set ablaze in Western Cape farm strikes, and now timber industry experts warn that protests, strikes and violence could beset the sector where the stakes are high, and the working conditions are desperate. read more
PwC report paints gloomy picture for construction sector in South Africa
The construction sector in South Africa continues to perform dismally since the global economic crisis, reveals a report by Global Consultancy firm PwC. read more
Sharp rise in demand for eco-friendly buildings
There has been a sharp rise in eco-friendly buildings which have been green star certified by the Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA) - from four in 2010 to 56 during 2015 alone (January up to mid-October), bringing the total in the country to 121. read more

Farming project in Ugie growing in strength and size
A flagship Eastern Cape farming project is set to quadruple in size - and significantly increase its employment potential - after its patron, leading SA diversified timber company PG Bison, committed to extend land provided to the project by 6.5 hectares. read more

Manufacturing Indaba 2016
There are a myriad of reasons why you should be exhibiting at the Manufacturing Indaba 2016 but here are the top 5... read more
Maintain your titration equipment
To treat your timber properly, you need titration equipment and to maintain it properly. Without this maintenance, your equipment will give inaccurate readings and, as a result, your wood will be either under- or over-treated. read more
International News
If you care about climate change you’ll back forestry

CEO Opinion Editorial

There’s a simple message the scientists advising the climate change talks in Paris would have for those interested in forestry operations in Australia and New Zealand; “If you really care about the climate - back forestry”. read more

The Global Forest Industry in the 3Q/2015
Global sawlog prices fell and the GSPI Index has declined 14% in one year. The European Sawlog Price Index (ESPI) has dropped 24% in 18 months because of slower lumber markets and weaker currencies in in Europe. read more
Tokyo's first multistory building made of 100% wood
After a decade of research aimed at reintroducing wood into Japanese urban architecture, the first multi-story building designed entirely with timber materials has finally met Tokyo's strict fire regulations. read more
BVRio launches app to assist buyers in avoiding illegal timber products
BVRio Environmental Exchange launched today a new app to assist traders and buyers of tropical timber in verifying the legality status of the products purchased. Users can simply scan the bar codes of Timber Transportation Permits and receive a report on the legality status of the product checked. read more
Timber is the new concrete
Timber is the new concrete, according to Professor Alex de Rijke, former dean of the School of Architecture at the London College of Art and founder of dRMM architecture. read more
Job Vacancies
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