Even the best laid plans made no provision for the surprises that 2020 has delivered so far. Rarely, if ever, have we encountered such a sudden and unforeseen adversary that affects the global community with such devastation, leaving a trail of destruction behind it. But, with the worst of it seemingly behind us now we regroup and identify for the opportunities that remain and those that will arise from within the ‘new normal’. The sectors that we serve are by no means immune to the distress and there is clearly a long road to recovery ahead of us in the construction sector, and I would like to acknowledge those customers and partners who have felt the effects and we wish them well as they look to navigate the coming months.
On a more positive note, forestry crews in New Zealand are back to work at near full capacity with the export log price and the demand providing a very positive market for forest owners and harvest crews. The timing couldn’t be better for our customers who are about to take delivery of some very large pieces of forestry equipment that have been on order and arrived during the lock down period. There are two Madill 124’s heading to crews in Northland and another heading to the east coast which will soon be in operation and making a significant difference to the production capacity of those crews. Similarly the demand for the new Hyundai FX series of forestry excavators continues to soar with the purpose, factory built alternative becoming the preferred option over locally converted substitutes.
Our Australian operation has been affected to a far lesser extent to date as the industry made every effort to continue uninterrupted. Of course the restrictions on international and interstate travel, and the mandatory limits on socialising have taken their toll but with businesses generally operating relatively productively, our teams have been busy supporting their requirements throughout. May has been a very eventful month with a lot of positivity emerging from the construction, quarrying and mining sectors, and momentum seems to be building which is in contrast to what we might expect in the current environment. We’re hopeful that the country will continue on this trajectory and effectively trade its way through these challenging and uncertain.
Across New Zealand and Australia, we have welcomed the arrival of the new generation Hyundai HX series excavators with models now available from 14T up to 35T. The response has been incredible and the uptake very encouraging, particularly in the Australian market to date. We look forward to more clients experiencing the benefits of this new range from Hyundai and we are eager to get our many existing and prospective customers into these machine by way of our demo program.
Porter Group USA remains busy across the 6 locations in California and we are currently commissioning a large intake of new assets into the rental fleet, which now stands at over 750 units in total. The growth has been phenomenal in recent years as the Porter Group continues to expand in popularity across the state. While the country still grapples with its own response to the pandemic, business in California has been consistent for our industry and has enabled Porter Group USA to keep building its numbers and customer base. The new products from our OEM partners, notably Hyundai, have provided that further impetus to our operations in a market that’s tough to crack.
Changes to the working environment are traditionally more subtle than what we have seen this year but the philosophy and approach to the moving landscape remains the same; adapt to survive. Out of this, new opportunities will present and the Porter Group prides itself on response and reaction to an evolving situation. Like many of our customers and business partners, we will face this challenge head-on and work tirelessly to support our many loyal sales and rental customer across our territories.