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Woodchip exports from Portland booming

The Port of Portland is the biggest port for hardwood woodchip exports, with exports predicted to continue to grow with Chinese demand.

The deep-water port, which specialises in bulk commodities, helped export 2.65 million tonnes of blue gum woodchips for the 2014/15 financial year. Its CEO Jim Cooper expects this to top 3 million tonnes in the current year.

"It's going to go up even further than that, into the high three millions, and we're expecting it to stay up there through to the mid 2020s,"Cooper told ABC Rural.

A second ship loader and other additional infrastructure is being added to increase capacity, and local trucking companies are rushing to add new staff to service the demand. China’s consumption of woodchips had greatly increased, said Cooper.

"They are now clearly the biggest buyers in the world and they need high quality woodchips because they've been putting in brand new paper mills in China," he said.

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