FIJI LUMBER SHORTAGE WORRIES CONTRACTORS

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, July 14) - The Fiji construction industry is facing a major hurdle because of lack of timber in the country. Major construction companies have raised concern at the lack of timber and delay in supply to the industry.

The shortage has forced contractors to push for the import of timber to cope with the needs of the construction industry.

J.S Hill and Associates director John Hill said even though there was a significant increase in price of timber, supply continued to decrease over the years. Hill said while pine had become the main type of timber for construction, major producer Tropik Woods continued to fail to meet demand.

"There is a shortage of timber and we are looking at buying timber from a merchant expected to bring in the product from New Zealand," he said.

He said because of fears over inability to get supply as necessary, J S Hill had to stockpile timber.

The company has about FJ$500,000 (US$301,000) in timber stock to insulate themselves from any supply delay because of the shortage.

Fletcher Construction director Peter Watts said even though their current projects did not use much timber, the company's concern over future contracts meant it was looking at importing timber.

Major hardware retailer Vinod Patel and Company Nadi manager Ram Krishna confirmed concerns over low timber supply.

Attempts to contact the General Manager for Tropik Woods, Alec Chang, yesterday were unsuccessful. Tropik is in the midst of an industrial dispute, which Labour Minister Kenneth Zinck could not resolve yesterday.

July 15, 2005

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