Commercial > Types of Cargo > Forestry Industry


Nelson’s planted production forests are approximately 100,000 hectares

Forestry Industry


Nelson’s planted production forests are approximately 100,000 hectares with Nelson Forests Limited and Hancock Forest Management the largest forest owners and managers with a combined 66,000 hectares.

In 2007 Hancock Forest Management purchased Carter Holt Harvey Forests 25,000 Hectares including 7,000 hectares of licensed Crown forest.

The other major player in the Nelson region is Pentarch Forest Products. They do not own any forests but manage operations for private forest owners to best suit the individual, from managed sales of standing timber to complete harvesting and marketing services.


The main issue for the industry is the cost of freight with record high chartering costs significantly impacting on the traditionally low value export.


The sustainable Nelson forest cut is approximately 2 million m3, JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard). The distribution of the cut is primarily focussed on the domestic market with an estimated 1 million m3 taken by Nelson Pine Industries and the local sawmill requirement 400,000 m3. The remaining 600,000 m3 is destined for export markets.
This domestic concentration does provide some insulation to the Nelson industry when export markets downturn, as is the current case.


The Nelson forest is 90% Radiata Pine (Softwood), 7% Douglas Fir. The remaining percentage is made up of a mixture of other soft and hard wood plantings.

Export (FY 2007- 2008)

All logs are shipped from Nelson conventionally no containerisation.
Log volume: 590,000 m3 exported in Breakbulk / 353 Teu Equivalent (Containerisation growing).
Sawn Timber: 89,000 m3 exported conventionally. 3,340 Teu Equivalent exported.


The main log export markets are in North Asia (Japan and Sth Korea) with Southern China and Middle East markets growing in the last few years. The North Asia market takes 88% of all exported log volume.

The key sawn timber markets are Australia and S.E. Asia with the Middle East fast growth matching that of Asian destined cargoes.