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Added 2 months ago

Demand for posts is skyrocketing and suppliers are struggling to keep up.

A recent media article on the extensive conversion and green field planting plans for Rockit Global noted a shortage of posts in New Zealand, which was hampering their plans.

We decided to dig a little further and spoke to Glyn Eason, sales and marketing manager for PermaPine, the largest supplier of round wood in the North Island.

Hawke’s Bay is one of Perma Pine’s biggest markets, with customers ranging from sheep and beef farmers, to construction companies, and horticulture operations.

The issue is a massive increase in demand.

Eason says he has never seen a market like it. “About 30% of our post business is general farm fencing, 30% is construction, and 40% horticulture. I’ve never seen a market like this in 20 years, and at times meeting customer demand and timeframes has been tough.  We’ve even had to turn down new business, so that we can service our existing customers.

“Everything is up. There’s a construction boom, a horticulture boom, and general farm fencing is ticking along too.

“Log supply is good, but demand is unprecedented. All manufacturers are at maximum capacity.

“We are producing 20% more than we did this time last year.”

In the company’s most recent customer newsletter PermaPine says it is fully sold on many products – admittedly more than just posts, but a good indicator overall – and has longer than usual lead times on some individual product lines.

Eason says that PermaPine has gone to great lengths to meet demand including introducing a night shift, offering overtime, increased automation, running its drying operations 24/7, and bringing in extra trucking capacity in an effort to keep up.

As for staff shortages, Eason says that the ‘flu is hitting the business harder than Covid did, where there were a few staff impacted. He also notes the tight labour market has had an effect on the business.

But, things are starting to look up, he says.

“It’s been a tidal wave of demand, but we seem to be coming out it a bit now, and expect to start catch up over the next few months.”

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