Managing COVID-19 over the last two years, has made the bushfires fade a bit in our collective memories. However, those bushfires came very close to home for our employees and impacted on their community.

There continues to be so many rumors along our supply chain that “Tumut is closing or will never recover”. This article will hopefully put some of these ongoing negative rumors to bed. Unfortunately, some uninformed commentators, never let the truth contaminate their stories, so we thought it was time that we called out the BS.

For AKD, Tumut and Gilmore is positioned for the long term, with a promising future. The team at Tumut has resiliently fought the challenges of the last couple of years to now be at the centre of our universe – both literally and figuratively! AKD Tumut’s location make it the natural geographic centre to service the East Coast markets, with its proximity to both the Sydney and Melbourne markets.

Today, there is a renewed sense of purpose and commitment at the AKD Tumut site and this is being felt by both the seasoned sawmillers who have already committed much of their careers to this business, the industry and their community.  This is because we have committed to a $30m capital investment program for the site, which we understand is the single largest improvement project at the Tumut site in its history.

“Tumut might be described as just another “timber town” but its prime regional location and lifestyle, along with its people, make it a great place to live and work”, says AKD Tumut’s facility manager, Rab Green.

The industry in the region did a stellar job recovering and processing salvage logs, extracting value for the forestry and construction industries. The recovery operations required the AKD Tumut sawmill to run more hours than it ever has in a year, resulting in record volumes of sawlogs processed and timber produced.

Tumut’s fighting spirit means it is creating a future. The fact that ongoing log supply to the AKD Tumut mill for the foreseeable future has halved, just means the goal posts have shifted, but we are now  playing a new game just starting!

In a global industry that has typically applied capital investment to gain volume efficiencies, AKD has now committed approximately $26 million to the Tumut sawmill, which will focus on processing less logs but extracting much higher recoveries and value from the changing log diet.

AKD’s footprint in the Tumut area includes the Gilmore processing site a few kilometres down the road from the sawmill.  This is where the company’s well-known Ironwood® sleepers are made. We are pleased to advise of developments for this part of our business as well.

Given that Tumut is the centre of the universe, in terms of servicing both NSW and Victoria demand, AKD is investing approximately $4m in the 30-acre Gilmore site as a warehousing and distribution centre (DC).

The new DC set-up compliments the direct delivery service offer and enables AKD to hold a much higher volume of inventory, proving a superior outcome for a wide range of customers. The site is quickly evolving to meet this new service offer

There has also been ongoing product development at the Gilmore site with the new Ironwood Edge™ sleepers being delivered to market in November.

It is undoubtedly the marriage of the Ironwood® product range, new technology to maximize structural recovery, the Gilmore DC, to ensure that Tumut remains the centre of the universe.

In addition, AKD recently announced 30 new apprentice and graduate positions for 2022, and Tumut is part of this process recruiting for additional apprentices and university graduates, as is every other AKD sawmill site on the East Coast.

Well done to the AKD Tumut/ Gilmore teams for not just surviving the challenges of the past 2 years but for thriving under duress to create a future for themselves and the industry in this region!

Gold Sponsors