The East African wood preservation industry and its partner, Arch Wood Protection South Africa, have taken a giant leap forward in the promotion of quality treated timber in East Africa. A seminar – ‘The Future of the Utility Pole in East Africa’ – was presented by the Tanalised™ team at Arch, together with the Kenyan Wood Preservers Association and local distributor Express Company Limited, on the 25th of June in Nairobi, Kenya with the vision to set in motion a series of steps to improve the quality of treated timber and ultimately increase the lifespan of utility poles.
Doug Sayce, General Manager of Arch Wood Protection South Africa, explains the decision behind the hosting of the seminar, “Wood preservation in East Africa is a dynamic and growing industry that plays a significant role in infrastructure projects, employment and economic growth in rural areas. There is therefore a need for the wood industry to ensure the continued and sustainable long-term growth of treated timber”.
The seminar looked at ways to improve the quality of wood preservation treatment in East Africa, particularly the treatment of transmission poles. It focused on the timber treatment process and the importance of quality control in the treating plant environment, and also touched on the contentious issue around the perception that treated poles did not deliver the desired product life span. This provided a valuable opportunity for Arch to unveil some of the tools in its battery of resources to improve quality control.
The seminar was well attended by business owners, treatment plant managers, wood scientists, certification bodies and end-users of treated poles. An important participant in the seminar was Annie Gatukui, the Supply Chain Manager, Logistics at the Kenya Power & Lighting Company, who impressed upon the participants to make a concerted effort to improve the service life of utility poles.
Godfrey Ali, Chairman of the Kenya Wood Preservers Association (KWPA), said, “The seminar was very informative and well organised. The presentations were impactful and delivered powerful tools to equip us to take on the treated timber market. It could not have come at a better time than this”.
Daryll Ehrke, Export Manager at Arch Wood Protection, concluded, “This is the first seminar of its kind to bring industry players in East Africa together, and we are pleased with the positive feedback received. Developing a long-term sustainable treatment industry, the acknowledgement by the local industry that there is a need to improve the standard and quality of treated poles, and the understanding that customers will use more timber poles if they can be assured of the long-term performance of treated timber are among the positive outcomes of the seminar that we believe will have a positive impact on the future of wood preservation in East Africa”.