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Eastern Canadian mills seek outlet for residuals
Sawmills in Eastern Canada have been running at record high levels in 2016, with production reaching levels almost 10% higher than in 2015 and almost 40% higher than five years ago, according to the North American Wood Fiber Review. This has been very good news to the forest industry, with sawmills running at 97% operating rates in late 2016, according to the WWPA. However, there are also worrisome developments regarding the large volumes of residual chips that are being generated and where the chips can be sold. For more, click here...
4/28/2017


This week (April 28) in Through a Knothole
Most Canadian companies were hit with a 20% retroactive countervailing duty when the U.S. Department of Commerce issued its preliminary ruling this week -- In Part 3 of a four-part series on industry compensation, retail sales managers' average earnings slipped in 2016 from the previous year -- North American structural panel production rose 4.4% in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same quarter of 2016 -- Joe Pruski has joined the editorial staff at Random Lengths as a reporter/editor. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
4/28/2017


UP derailment requires 'extensive repairs'
CASTELLA, Calif. – A train derailment in Shasta County could shut down a northern California railway for up to a month. KRCR reports the derailment happened Tuesday around 11:30 a.m. 18 miles south of Mt. Shasta in the upper Sacramento Canyon along Interstate 5. The train was crossing a bridge over the Sacramento River when the derailment occurred. One of the estimated 10 cars that derailed was still on the bridge following the incident. A Union Pacific Railroad representative said all the derailed cars were empty and there were no spills of any hazardous material. For more, click here...
4/28/2017


Two killed in lumber train derailment
Police say a train derailment in the tiny community of Woss on northern Vancouver Island killed two people and injured three others on Thursday. Dave Rushton, the community’s regional elected representative, said the cause of the accident is under investigation but early reports indicate a crew was on the tracks when the rail cars approached without warning. For more, click here...
4/21/2017


This week (April 21) in Through a Knothole
For the first time in modern-day countervailing duty investigations, New Brunswick has been included in the process -- In Part 2 of Random Lengths' annual compensation survey, wholesale/distribution sales managers' average income in 2016 dropped from a record level in 2015 -- U.S. housing starts in March fell 6.8% from an upwardly revised February reading -- The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed preliminary countervailing duties on Chinese hardwood plywood imports. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
4/21/2017


Commerce imposes preliminary CVD on Chinese hardwood plywood
The U.S. Department of Commerce said on Tuesday it had made a preliminary finding of subsidies in imports of hardwood plywood products from China and will impose countervailing duties ranging from 9.89% to 111.09%. The investigation follows petitions from six privately owned U.S. plywood producers into the imports, which are used in wall panels, kitchen cabinets, table and desk tops, and flooring. For more, click here...
4/19/2017


Washington sawmill returns to production
It was about a year ago that the owners of Mary’s River Lumber Co. in Montesano, Wash., announced its mill would close. As a result, 38 people lost their jobs, the city lost revenue and the facility basically went idle. In the case of mills, when they shut down, they don’t always open again. So residents logically saw the end of a Montesano mainstay. The mill had been in operation for more than 40 years. It was in December last year, some nine months later, that dismay became fanfare as the city announced a pending deal with Fox Lumber, a Montana company, to revive the mill. The company had planned to hire back some 30 of the people who had lost their jobs when the mill closed in March 2016. Now four months later, the mill is employing 29 people. For more, click here...
4/19/2017


This week (April 14) in Through a Knothole
Random Lengths' annual compensation survey begins a four-part series with mill managers -- The effort by the CN Railway to keep cars on what it deems "high-velocity" tracks has some distributors and wholesalers scrambling to cover customers' needs -- Anomalies have once again surfaced in statistics tracking the flow of softwood lumber between the U.S. and Canada, as well as U.S. lumber imports from offshore -- Forestry officials in Alabama are increasingly concerned about beetle infestations this year after record-setting drought. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
4/14/2017


CLT: 'Greatest thing since sliced wood'
Cross laminated timber, or CLT, is being touted as a revolutionary and environmentally friendly building material that can support structures reaching 12 stories and potentially higher, and could be the game-changing economic factor that timber communities have been looking for since the industry began to decline three decades ago. “It’s the greatest thing since sliced wood; that’s my tag line,” said former state senator Brian Hatfield, Gov. Jay Inslee’s personal pick for studying ways to breathe life back into the state’s wood products industry. For more, click here...
4/11/2017


This week (April 7) in Through a Knothole
Revisions in export data have added intrigue to whether CVD duties will be declared retroactive -- North American softwood lumber exports to China are off to the slowest two-month start in seven years -- The approach of the preliminary determination in the CVD case was the hot topic of conversation at the Montreal Wood Convention -- A column for Inland Red Cedar #3&Btr boards graded on both faces debuts in the Lumber Price Guide -- Retailers' sales expectations leveled off in March after a strong jump in February, according to a monthly survey. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
4/7/2017


U.S. Forest Service promotes CLT
The U.S. Forest Service is working to build markets for innovative forest products. One of these products, cross-laminated timber, also known as CLT, offers an opportunity for raising tall buildings with wood, opening up a completely new market for wood products. And there’s tremendous opportunity to increase the market share for wood-based construction. Because of its high strength, CLT is an advantageous alternative to traditional building materials such as concrete, masonry, and steel. Because CLT panels resist compression, they are well-suited for building multistory structures, especially mid-rise buildings. For more, click here...
4/5/2017


Argentum leads growth capital investment in Conner Industries
Conner Industries, Inc., a national lumber processor and leading provider of integrated packaging solutions, announced Tuesday that it has received a substantial growth capital investment from Argentum and other existing investors, as well as a group of new investors. Members of Conner’s management team, including its chairman, CEO and certain executives, also invested personally in the round of financing. Conner also announced that concurrently with the closing of the growth capital investment, its senior lender, Wells Fargo, has renewed its $18 million line of credit. For more, click here...
4/4/2017


This week (March 31) in Through a Knothole
A restriction on the CN Railway and wood products producers' response to it riled Western S-P-F traders -- Lumber importers in the Pacific Rim took a wait-and-see approach regarding potential duties on Canadian exports to the U.S. -- U.S. Western Red Cedar producers have ratcheted up their prices due to a recent increase in log costs -- Federal lawmakers have introduced a pair of bills that incentivize the construction of tall wood buildings. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
3/31/2017


This week (March 24) in Through a Knothole
Formal negotiations to reach a new Softwood Lumber Agreement have yet to materialize just one month before the preliminary CVD determination is due -- Eastern S-P-F producers are exploring their options as decisions on imposition of duties move closer to reality -- Southern Pine plywood prices are in recovery mode after recent annual declines -- Revised import data from the U.S. Census Bureau has resolved a months-long discrepancy in statistical reports measuring Canadian lumber exports to the U.S. -- The U.S. International Trade Commission has postponed its preliminary determination of an anti-dumping duty investigation associated with hardwood plywood imports from China. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
3/24/2017


Universal's Mordell advises forestry students about career in lumber industry
Michigan State University alumnus Mike Mordell is executive vice president for international operations for Universal Forest Products International, a Universal Forest Products company. He says the lumber industry features a dynamic supply chain and that the business operates a lot like the stock market. “We might not be as sexy as dot-coms or Silicon Valley, but we’re integral to how the world and the economy operates." For more, click here...
3/22/2017


Canfor plans to make oil from wood waste
Canadian logging giant Canfor Pulp has announced its developing the first ever commercial-scale biocrude oil plant. Biocrude is a synthetic fuel under investigation as a substitute for petroleum. Canfor says the biocrude will be nearly indistinguishable from traditional crude oil. "In the next few years we'll be announcing a project and building a real facility that will produce upwards of 400,000 barrels of oil a year," said Bret Robinson, president of Canfor Pulp. For more, click here...
3/20/2017


This week (March 17) in Through a Knothole
Producers of LVL, I-joists, and glulam beams have raised prices on the heels of the strong rally in lumber and structural panels in February -- Negotiations surrounding the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber trade issue will take center stage regarding issues that will affect traders in the second quarter -- Last year's shipments of lumber to the U.S. from European suppliers were at the highest rate since 2008 -- For the second year in a row, a large increase in lumber production in Quebec led to a jump in North American lumber output -- Led by a surge in the West, housing starts in February rose 3.0% from January. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
3/17/2017


This week (March 10) in Through a Knothole
A bark beetle infestation in the Sierra Nevada region of California has killed millions of trees -- Led by a surge in imports, the supply of softwood lumber to the U.S. market in 2016 rose 9.5% -- WWPA report: After emotional start to year, U.S. economy and wood products demand expected to grow steadily in 2017 -- After shattering records the previous two years, U.S. imports of MDF from offshore faded in 2016 -- A column for Inland Red Cedar #3&Btr boards graded on both faces will be added to the Random Lengths Lumber Price Guide. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
3/10/2017


Global lumber trade up 66% since recession
Global softwood lumber trade increased 12% year-over-year to reach a new record-high of 121 million cubic meters in 2016, per estimates by Wood Resources International. Since the global financial recession in 2009, there has been a steady climb in international trade of lumber, with shipments the past seven years having increased as much as 66%. While it is no surprise that China is a major driver for the dramatic rise in lumber shipments worldwide the past seven years, it is interesting to note that the U.S. has actually increased softwood lumber imports more than China. For more, click here...
3/7/2017


Senate, House introduce Timber Innovation Act
WASHINGTON – The Senate and House today introduced the “Timber Innovation Act” to the support of the American Wood Council (AWC), American Forest Foundation (AFF), Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC), National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) and Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (SLMA). Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jim Risch (R-ID), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Susan Collins (R-ME), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Steve Daines (R-MT) Angus King (I-ME), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the Senate bill. The House bill was introduced by Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ralph Abraham (R-LA), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Gregg Harper (R-MS), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Peter Welch (D-VT). For more, click here...
3/7/2017


This week (March 3) in Through a Knothole
The reported price of green Douglas Fir 2x10 has been at a premium to dry Fir 2x10 for more than a quarter -- Last month's surge in prices of Southern Pine dimension was strong, but not unprecedented -- Western Fir plywood has made inroads against Southern Pine plywood in the Los Angeles market recently -- According to a monthly survey, retailers have adjusted their lumber sales expectations sharply higher. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
3/3/2017


Idaho sawmill wins national award
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, has named Bennett Lumber Products, Incorporated as the Small Business of the Month for February. The company, which has mills in Princeton, Idaho, and Clarkston, Wash., will be recognized in the Congressional Record of the U.S. Senate. “Bennett Lumber epitomizes the entrepreneurial spirit of Idaho,” Risch says. “It is not easy to grow and adapt in the ever-changing regulatory climate that impacts small business owners, especially those who deal with natural resources, but these challenges have not kept Bennett Lumber from thriving while at the same time making great efforts to manage land and forests sustainably. I am proud of the work that Bennett Lumber continues to do in Idaho and Washington, and am pleased to distinguish this company as the U.S. Senate Small Business of the Month.” For more, click here...
3/2/2017


Lumber top commodity gainer in futures in February
Lumber futures scored the biggest gain among major commodities for the month of February, as Donald Trump’s first full month as U.S. president fed uncertainty surrounding the nation’s lumber trade dispute with Canada. Random length lumber for May delivery was trading at $365.90 per 1,000-board-feet Tuesday afternoon, set for a roughly 10.9% gain for the month. Year to date, prices have climbed nearly 16%, based on the most-active contracts, after jumping almost 23% in 2016, according to FactSet data. For more, click here...
3/1/2017


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