Malcolm McComb…welcome restart at Eden woodchip mill.  Photo: ABC

EXPORT marketing and logistics company Allied Natural Wood Exports has started loading the first woodchip vessel to dock since the summer bushfires forced the Eden facility to shut down in early January.

The MV Cattleya arrived on Tuesday and loading commenced on May 13, making it the first of many vessels to return to Twofold Bay as the mill’s operation is temporarily restored to near full capacity. 

Much of the infrastructure at the Edrom Road woodchip mill was extensively damaged by the January wildfires which devastated the NSW Far South Coast.

ANWE chairman Malcolm McComb said the company’s determination to overcome adversity and its commitment to the industry and local community drove the fast return to operation.

“This is a great achievement and comes just four months after the bushfire damaged the site,” he said.

“Significant works were carried out to make safe, clean up and successfully rebuild the infrastructure to allow us to bring our people back to work.

“The commitment and efforts of our staff and contractors, the support of the federal and NSW governments as well as our local government and community have been the keys to our success.” 

This is not the first time ANWE has recovered from adversity; it reconstructed the loading facility in 2016 after it suffered significant storm damage.

“ANWE is a resilient business and the support we have received when we have faced adversity is a humbling reminder of our significance to the local community,” Mr McComb said. 

“We thank everyone who supported us through this challenging time, especially the many who were involved in the clean-up and infrastructure rebuild which have allowed us to restart our operations.”

ANWE concentrates on the export of woodchip and other wood products to the international market, including certified natural and plantation-grown wood products from public and private growers. Drawing on a wealth of experience in the forestry industry, the goal is to enhance and improve the way that wood product exports are managed and marketed in Australia.

In the longer term, ANWE sees hardwood and softwood plantation development, new wood processing technology and innovation as key strategies for the future.

“We will be actively exploring these new opportunities to develop our business along the far south coast of New South Wales and throughout eastern Victoria,” Mr McComb said.

An Australian-owned company with a long term commitment to the Eden region, ANWE foresees significant opportunities for business diversification and growth as well as increased economic benefits for the community of Eden.

Significant employment opportunities have been created by the forest industry.