Midway Ltd (Midway)
World Class Woodfibre
Business View Oceania interviews Tony Price, Managing Director at Midway Ltd, for our Clean and Green focus.
Midway Ltd (Midway) are Australia’s largest high-quality woodfibre processer and exporter. Founded in 1984 to minimise and monetise waste produced on traditional forestry and timber processing sites, Midway is committed to environmental, cultural, social, and economic sustainability. The company seeks to use global trade opportunities to generate high and consistent returns for stakeholders, support the Australian economy, and solidify environmental best practices alongside sustainably managed forests.
In the 38 years since their founding, the company has set up and maintained a plethora of plantation, processing, and logistics branches throughout Australia- managing over 90,000 hectares of plantation estate. Experience and territorial spread allow Midway to manage Plantation Softwood, Plantation Hardwood, and Native Hardwood plantations efficiently with ease, covering land selection, establishment, and maintenance through to harvest, processing, and distribution. Plantations are managed directly by Midway, and through its subsidiary, Plantation Management Partners, and contractors are engaged for harvest and haul of plantation products to processing sites in Geelong (NSW), Brisbane (QLD), Portland (VIC), Port Melville (NT), and Bunbury (WA). Midway exports FSC and PEFC certified woodfibre products from six different Eucalyptus species to Asian markets for use in the global pulp and paper industry.
Tony Price is Managing Director at Midway. “Historically, the forestry sector would harvest their logs and leave residue to build up in the forest. Similarly, processing plants would write off residue as waste, collect it, and burn it. In the early 80’s, industry leaders gathered to explore their options for commercialisation, and they realised that woodfibre and woodchips could be potentially processed and exported. Through that gathering, Midway was born. We now directly employ around 170 staff and support well over a thousand external contractors; we have seen steady growth over the years from very humble beginnings in a market that didn’t really exist in Western Australia before us, so I’m very proud of that.”
Mr. Price shares some of the industry challenges Midway has combatted over the years. “Forestry is a cyclical business, so there are downturns in demand that we have to deal with every so often. Our success also grows alongside that of our partners, clients, and suppliers, so the effects of things like natural disasters and the recent pandemic on markets we work in therefore affect us as well.” In rising to these challenges, Midway utilises the strength of their collaborative relationships and strict regulations surrounding best practices. The company fulfills certification requirements in Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, Quality Management Systems, Australian Forestry Standards, AFS and FSC Chain of Custody Standards, and FSC’s Requirements for Sourcing FSC Controlled Wood. Full certification details can be viewed on their website. In marking themselves as unique amongst other forest product providers, Midway sites their broad suit of woodfibre products, producing a wide variety of woodchips that range in value from premium quality Tasmanian Blue Gum through to common Acacia. The company is also the only listed integrated forestry provider in Australia.
Mr. Price continues, “We really value the contribution that all of our service providers make to our success, particularly our harvesting and logistics operators. We use external contractors for this, so they rely very heavily on us for their businesses, and obviously we rely very heavily on them for the efficiency of our operations. It’s a very collaborative arrangement. We also have an exceptional team that look after our marketing. Customer relations is fundamentally important in our sector and, given that many of us have been in the industry over two decades, we are generally quite well known. Maintaining those business relationships to be positive and mutually beneficial is crucial.” Midway holds memberships with a number of Australian associations, the Australian Forestry Products Association (AFPA) and its Victorian and Tasmanian state branches, FSC Australia, the Forest Industries Federation of Western Australia (FIFWA), Timber Queensland, and Responsible Wood (PEFC Australia). The company also works hard in regional communities to support local workers and sponsor trail locations, organisations, sports teams, and events.
Midway fosters values that surround safety, equality, and sustainability. Internal operations are undertaken with honest, integrity, and respect in mind. Mr. Price explains, “Our values represent what we stand for and determine our behaviour when we deal with staff, clients, and stakeholders. Forestry can be and has historically been a pretty dangerous place sector to operate in, so safety is fundamental for us, and we take our environmental responsibilities very, very seriously in all our areas of operation. Everything that comes from our forests is biodegradable, so we are pushing for our products to replace single use plastic in every possible medium. We are also seeing a resurgence of paper products replacing plastic, for example in single-use plates and utensils, and that is very positive. We are glad to support these changes, and the entire industry reaps its economic benefits, so it’s valuable for everyone involved.”
Moving forward, Midway plans to continue sourcing expansion opportunities into the softwood market whilst growing their hardwood foothold organically. The company is also considering expanding their expertise into other commodity sectors, Mr. Price explains. “We are discussing with some external parties the possibility of moving into other resources areas like grain, biochar, and activated carbon. We have a site in Geelong that has great potential to service a move like that; we are looking very closely at what we can do to support the need to develop a carbon economy through our existing operations. We are already underway with investors in the Southern areas of Western Australia to put in a major plantation expansion project for the sequestration of carbon.”
Midway defines their mission as, “To become the leading supplier of woodfibre to the Asian markets by offering consistently high quality woodfibre from sustainably managed forests”. The company aims to realise this mission by maintaining their current best practice regime, enacting plans for future business development, continuously striving for more effective and efficient ways to add value to the market, and representing the Australian forestry sector in quality, experience, safety, and sustainability.
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AT A GLANCE
Midway Ltd (Midway)
What: Processor and exporter of quality Australian woodfibre products
Where: Midway is headquartered in Sydney, Australia
Merrett Logging – (08) 8737 3438
Merrett Logging remains a family owned business that has garnered industry recognition for quality and excellence in forestry and haulage with an emphasis on creating and maintaining strong business partnerships. Latest technologies in the forestry & haulage sectors are embraced to better equip our people with a focus on safety, productivity, and efficiency.