Machinery Row

Ponsse, PacWest Ink Deal for West Coast

The Ponsse Group has signed a retail agreement with PacWest Machinery. Ponsse also sold its service business operations in Coburg, Oregon, to PacWest. In the future, PacWest will be responsible for the sale and maintenance of Ponsse forest machines in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

The transaction includes the service center in Coburg owned by Ponsse. The Coburg employees will be offered jobs with PacWest as existing employees. Ponsse services will be transferred to the responsibility of PacWest starting Sept. 1.

The change will not interrupt local Ponsse services, which include machine sales, maintenance and spare part services, and training.

Juho Nummela, president and CEO of Ponsse, said PacWest’s extensive service business network will strengthen Ponsse’s offering of services.

“The collaboration agreement with PacWest expands our operational area on the West Coast of the United States and provides Ponsse with opportunities to grow its business in the United States,” he said. “PacWest’s extensive network brings Ponsse services closer to our local customers. There is a lot of potential for the cut-to-length logging technology on the West Coast.”

PacWest Machinery is part of the Joshua Green Corporation, a private company established in the 1890s. PacWest also operates as a dealer for Volvo and Metso in Oregon, Washington and North Idaho. The company has sales and service centers in Spokane, Seattle, Portland, Mount Vernon, Pasco and Eugene.

New Biochar Plant Ramps Up Production

A new biochar plant in John Day, Oregon, is ramping up production. The towering industrial plant is located on Malheur Lumber property.

The plant, which employs 18 people, started production of biochar in April. It generated 100 tons of finished product in June and was expected to produce 500 tons in July. The hope is to ramp up production to about 10,000 tons per year and begin marketing the product to customers in 2024.

Biochar is similar in appearance to charcoal used for cooking. It can be added to soil to make it highly fertile for agriculture and gardening. It can also be used as a carbon water filter to remove pollutants, such as chemicals and metals, from storm drains and old mines.

The plant’s operators have a long-term lease on about 5 acres on the property and a mission to utilize wood waste or wood that wouldn’t sell as well. The plant was built by Restoration Fuels, a subsidiary of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities.

Plant operations manager Mark Allen said the plant’s supplier is currently Malheur Lumber. The raw material to make the biochar — low-merchantable wood — is delivered in the form of chips or sawdust and stored in giant piles at the plant.

“It’s really about giving the loggers and the Forest Service a way to clean up the forest,” Allen said. “Part of (the endowment’s) mission is to clean up the forest, to come up with a product that will use off-grade trees and give an incentive to clean up the forest and find a market for that stuff.”

The company also hopes to take advantage of the fact that biochar sequesters carbon from waste wood that might otherwise be released into the atmosphere. It aims to gain additional revenue by providing carbon credits to large corporations, which can use them to offset the carbon emissions they produce.

TimberWest November/December 2013
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