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Firefighters hold back wildfire in northern Alberta
Firefighters are holding back a wildfire from the northern Alberta community of Janvier and the Chipewyan Prairie First Nation. The municipal hamlet, the First Nation and the Métis community are about 120 kilometres south of Fort McMurray and have been on an evacuation alert since Wednesday. For more, click here...
5/25/2018


Hampton enters sales agreement with Sun Mountain
Hampton Lumber announced today that it will be the exclusive North American sales agent for Sun Mountain Lumber’s solid and fingerjoint products. Like Hampton, Sun Mountain Lumber is a family-owned company. Formed in 2004, Sun Mountain Lumber operates facilities in Deer Lodge, Mont., and offers a full range of solid and fingerjoint stud trims in Douglas Fir and ESLP/WW. “We’re happy to have formed a partnership with Hampton to handle all our lumber sales for us,” said Sherm Anderson, owner of Sun Mountain Lumber. “We thank all our current customers and hope they will continue that relationship with Hampton Lumber Sales.”
5/24/2018


Two wildfires reported in B.C.
Two significant wildfires are burning in B.C., one of them forcing an evacuation alert. The Avery Hill fire was sparked on Wednesday afternoon and is already 60 hectares in size. The BC Wildfire Service has classified it as an out-of-control fire. The fire is burning about 55 kilometres northwest of Kamloops, not far from the location of last year’s Elephant Hill fire. A second wildfire is burning about 35 kilometres west of Lillooet near Xusum Creek and is 25 hectares in size. For more, click here...
5/24/2018


Softwood Lumber Board wins strong support for continuation
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that domestic manufacturers and importers of softwood lumber have voted overwhelmingly to continue the efforts of the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB). In the referendum conducted by USDA from April 17 to May 14, to determine the future of the softwood lumber industry’s market promotion check-off known as the Softwood Lumber Board, a super-majority of manufacturing and importing companies established a strong new mandate to advance the program for another term. In a notice to the trade issued today, USDA reported that 78% of companies participating in the referendum representing 94% of volume voted to continue the program. For more, click here...
5/23/2018


Softwood imports to China have more than tripled in 10 years
With limited domestic forest resources, China continues to be a major importer of forest products in order to meet its growing domestic demand for logs, lumber, chips, pulp, and paper. In 2017, import volumes of both softwood logs and softwood lumber reached all-time highs despite slowing activity in the house construction sector. Over the past 10 years, the total importation of softwood logs and softwood lumber has gone up 3.5 times in roundwood equivalents (RWE), according to the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). For more, click here...
5/23/2018


Oregon senators urge inclusion of Timber Innovation Act in next Farm Bill
Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today submitted a bipartisan letter urging the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to include the Timber Innovation Act, which supports the development of mass timber products for building construction, in the next Farm Bill. “We have been working to establish Oregon as a hub for mass timber products, using local timber and bolstering our forest products economy,” Merkley said. For more, click here...
5/23/2018


Long fire season forecast for Canada
Federal wildfire researchers say most regions in Canada could be facing a long, hot, fiery summer. Wildfire starts and the amount of land burned were below average for the first few weeks of the season, but dry weather is turning things around, said Richard Carr, a fire research analyst with Natural Resources Canada. “We’ve had a long, lingering winter and a bit of a slow start to the fire season, but the numbers are higher than the same time last year.” For more, click here...
5/23/2018


Trucking shortage felt in overall economy
Joyce Brenny, chief executive of Brenny Transportation in Minnesota, gave her truck drivers a 15% raise this year, but she still can't find enough workers for a job that now pays $80,000 a year. A year ago, when customers would call Brenny, she could almost always get their goods loaded on a truck and moving within a day or two. Now she's warning customers it could take two weeks to find an available truck and driver. Shipping costs have skyrocketed in the United States in 2018, one of the clearest signs yet of a strong economy that might be starting to overheat. For more, click here...
5/22/2018


This week (May18) in Through A Knothole
Reported prices for most Southern Pine timbers hit record-shattering levels in May after climbing sharply in early 2018. The gains so far this year have outpaced those in the broader Southern Pine dimension market.-- It took a while, but seasonal demand has kicked in to gear in Canadian Eastern S-P-F markets. -- Volatility came to the fore as Western S-P-F #2&Btr 2x4 shot up $44 in the May lumber futures market the day before its expiration and then fell $37.30 on the day of the contract close. All this and more, but only in your full weekly report.
5/18/2018


This week (May 11) in Through a Knothole
A common refrain from veteran lumber traders in this historic market run has been, "We have never seen one like this before." With a look back at other record runs, and accounting for all the factors at work today, it is easy to make the case that this one is unprecedented. -- Early prognostications for the 2018 North American wildfire season suggest significant fire threat across much of the U.S. and Canadian West. -- U.S. softwood lumber imports from offshore soared to a 12-year high in the first quarter. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
5/11/2018


Education programs seek to woo youngsters to industry
Fourth-generation logger Loren German knew since he was a young boy that he wanted to work in the woods. But he had one piece of advice for a gaggle of third-graders who had gathered around his feller buncher to learn how it works. “Learn computers,” he told the class from Columbia Elementary School near Redding, Calif. “At the age of 30, I had to learn computers, and it’s harder when you’re older.” German, who works for Creekside Logging Co., in Redding, was among 16 industry pros who recently provided a unique field trip for Northern California schoolchildren – an inside look at an actual logging operation. For more, click here...
5/4/2018


New study predicts 'significant' wildfire growth
Expect significant growth in the amount of area burned annually by wildfires across western North America in the coming decades, according to a study that included two University of Arizona researchers. The team, which included professor Donald Falk in the UA school of Natural Resources and the Environment and regents professor emeritus Thomas Swetnam in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, used nearly 35 years of data on climate and area burned in the western half of the United States and Canada to create its model. For more, click here...
5/4/2018


This week (May 4) in Through a Knothole
Recent market developments have reduced the amount of Western S-P-F available to customers in the U.S., and Coast Hem-Fir #2&Btr 2x4 has been the most notable beneficiary of the scarcity of Canadian shipments -- One of the most consistent results in Random Lengths' annual compensation survey is mill sales managers' reliance on the open market -- Canadian softwood lumber exports to China plunged 22% in the first quarter compared to the first three months of 2017 -- The American Lumber Standard Committee's Board of Review has placed the West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau's European lumber grading program on probation for one year -- Retailers' sales expectations tied an all-time high from nearly 20 years ago, but current inventory levels dropped to their lowest levels of the year. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
5/4/2018


CN Rail plans to buy cars to meet growing forest products demand
CN Rail says it will purchase 350 lumber cars to meet growing demand in forest products business. The new cars will be manufactured by National Steel Car Ltd. at its assembly plant in Hamilton, Ont., with deliveries expected to begin in September. CN says it is also looking at an option to purchase or lease an additional 300 cars, which have a maximum load capacity of 129,000 kilograms. For more, click here...
5/2/2018


CP Rail workers to vote on strike May 14-23
A union representing some Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. employees says workers will vote on the railway's final offer later this month. Teamsters Canada says in a statement that the Canada Industrial Relations Board will conduct the vote from May 14 to May 23. Doug Finnson, president of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, called the final voting day on which results are expected to be known "judgement day." The union urged members to reject the offer, after which it will attempt to resume negotiations. For more, click here...
5/2/2018


WCLIB's European program given one-year probation
Following a hearing on April 26-27, 2018, in Washington, D.C., the American Lumber Standard Committee Board of Review placed the West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau's European lumber supervisory program in Europe on probation for one year. "We are pleased with the Board of Review's decision," said WCLIB Board president Rod Lucas. "We believe the below grade issue from a small number of our European member companies has been resolved and that all of the production currently entering the United States with WCLIB grade stamps is on grade. In this next year, we plan to take all steps necessary to prevent any reoccurrence of this recent episode."
5/1/2018


U.S. lumber demand forecast to continue rising
U.S. softwood lumber demand is expected to continue its upward trajectory from the lows of the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, reaching an all-time high by the mid-2020s, according to a newly released U.S. Lumber Outlook Study by ForestEdge LLC and Wood Resources International LLC. For more, click here...
4/30/2018


This week (April 27) in Through a Knothole
Radiata Pine shop has often traded at premiums to Ponderosa Pine in the past decade, but the latter sold consistently above the former last year amid unrelenting upward price momentum -- Wood products retail managers' income shifted mildly in 2017, unfazed by severe trends in the greater softwood lumber market -- First-quarter North American structural panel production rose 1.8% compared to the same period of 2017, APA -- The Engineered Wood Association reported -- A hearing April 27 in Washington, D.C., was expected to determine the way forward for producers and importers of European softwood lumber under scrutiny for grading quality. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
4/27/2018


Christmas tree farmers vote on 'checkoff' program
Christmas tree farmers across the U.S. will begin voting May 1 on whether to continue funding a research and promotions “checkoff” program for the crop. The referendum will accept votes until May 31 from roughly 1,500 growers who sell more than 500 trees per year and are thus subject to the 15 cent per tree assessment. For more, click here...
4/27/2018


Air support to Northwest wildfires could be delayed
Sen. Maria Cantwell questioned the acting head of the U.S. Forest Service, Vicki Christiansen, this week. Among the senator’s top concerns: There may not be air support for fires in the West this year. Cantwell, D-Wash., said during a meeting of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that air tankers can catch wildfires before they grow into expensive catastrophes. Aircraft can douse wildfires with retardant or use water dipping buckets. For more, click here...
4/26/2018


Lumber mills voice concerns over possible CP Rail strike
Alberta’s forestry sector, already facing challenges from softwood tariffs imposed by the United States and the growing threat of the mountain pine beetle, fears a labour disruption at CP Rail could make a tough situation even worse. “We have a challenge in getting rail cars at the moment — the rail system in Canada is maxed out,” said Paul Whittaker, the CEO of the Alberta Forest Products Association. Lumber producers have been hit by the same backlog of rail cars as the agriculture sector, leading to large stockpiles at sawmills and lost profits. For more, click here...
4/25/2018


CN's new CEO works to ease congestion
Canadian National Railway Co.’s new boss is moving quickly to overcome service shortcomings that have curtailed profit and angered customers. The company is weighing the purchase of 500 “centerbeam” cars to accommodate rising lumber shipments and more than 500 hopper cars to renew the grain-hauling fleet starting next year, said interim Chief Executive Officer Jean-Jacques Ruest. Canada’s largest railroad is also in talks with General Electric Co. to speed locomotive deliveries and potentially exercise an option for 60 more. For more, click here...
4/24/2018


Canadian Pacific unions call strike ‘inevitable’ hours after deal lauded
After agreeing at the last minute to stave off a strike, unions at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. are urging their members to reject the company’s offer and say it’s only a matter of time before they walk off the job. For more, click here...
4/23/2018


This week (April 20) in Through a Knothole
A record run in Douglas Fir sanded plywood prices has caught the eye of panel traders who see the potential for more strength in the months ahead -- A banner year in the softwood lumber industry in 2017 was reflected in wholesale/distribution managers' reported income, according to Random Lengths' Compensation Survey -- Price spreads between #2&Btr 2x4 studs stamped Douglas Fir and Fir&Larch have been inconsistent over the past decade, while the species themselves have been largely interchangeable -- U.S. housing starts through the first quarter averaged a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.318 million units, up 6.5% from the same period of 2017. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
4/20/2018


CP Rail braces for "short-term pain" of potential strike
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. is prepared to live with the “choppiness" of a looming strike of train conductors rather than consent to a labor deal that cripples its long-term earnings power, Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel said. A walkout would begin at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time Saturday and affect more than 3,300 employees, including conductors and electrical workers, among others. On Tuesday, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers each gave Canadian Pacific a 72-hour notice of their plan to strike. For more, click here...
4/19/2018


CN to acquire 350 boxcars to serve growing demand
CN today announced it will acquire 350 premium boxcars to serve growing demand from industrial customers across its North American network. “These additional boxcars, combined with our new locomotives, hundreds of new train crew members, and track expansion investments, will help give us the capacity and network resiliency we need for pulp, paper and metals customers,” said Doug MacDonald, vice president of bulk at CN. The leased 50-foot, high-capacity plate F boxcars, equipped with 12-foot plug doors, are expected to be delivered beginning in late summer with all the cars in service by the end of 2018. For more, click here...
4/19/2018


Teamsters union gives strike notice to CP Rail
Two unions representing about 3,400 workers at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. have formally served the company with 72-hour notice of their intent to strike. The notice comes at a difficult time for the railway, which is under pressure from shippers to move backed-up grain shipments and supply more locomotives to the pipeline-constrained oil industry in Western Canada. For more, click here...
4/18/2018


Fire erupts at Wyoming sawmill
An afternoon fire that began at the sawmill in Saratoga, Wyoming, continues to burn Monday night. Firefighters from around the area are battling the blaze, which is being fanned by strong winds. The fire reportedly started behind the mill, in an area where wood chips and logs are stored. For more, click here...
4/17/2018


Demand for skilled workers persists in forestry
A job seeker looking for work in the forestry sector would have hit the jackpot after stopping by EACOM’s recruitment website in April, where there were posted no fewer than 31 job openings across its various locations. Production supervisor, millwright, industrial electrician, operation forester, planer supervisor, mobile equipment mechanic, human resources advisor: they’re all on the list and all in demand at the forestry company. “We’re really having a hard time with skilled and unskilled labour, and this isn’t just a problem of EACOM,” said Christine Leduc, the company’s director of public affairs. “It’s not even just a problem of the Ontario industry; it’s a problem of the national industry.” For more, click here...
4/16/2018


CP Rail may strike
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. could see thousands of workers walk off the job as soon as April 21 after the union representing conductors and locomotive engineers authorized strike action on Friday. The union’s decision comes as Canada’s major railways work to alleviate a grain backlog that has infuriated many producers in Western Canada. For more, click here...
4/13/2018


In concrete jungle, architect pushes for "plywood for giants"
Timber is coming back in the Northwest. I don’t mean old growth forests. Those have been holding steady for a couple of decades. I mean architecture. Cross-laminated timber, or CLT, is a material a true modernist can love — and not just for furniture and finishes. It’s very strong, and too beautiful to hide inside walls. It’s meant to be the wall — to hold off the elements and hold up the building, too. For more, click here...
4/13/2018


This week (April 13) in Through a Knothole
According to Random Lengths' annual compensation survey, younger blood filtered gradually into a veteran group of mill sales managers in 2017 -- So far in 2018, the price trend in dry Douglas Fir 2x6 9-foot studs is a nearly perfect bell curve -- Ponderosa Pine board traders have anticipated a seasonal push in sales for nearly two months, but it has proven elusive. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
4/13/2018


New juniper wood standards boost market potential
Oregon State University scientists have concluded an exhaustive series of tests on western juniper lumber and opened the door to commercial wood markets for an invasive tree that has spread widely across Central and Eastern Oregon and other parts of the Great Basin. The test results were accepted in February by the American Lumber Standards Committee, a nonprofit organization whose accreditation program forms the basis for the sale of most softwood lumber sold in North America. For more, click here...
4/11/2018


B.C. premier delivers message at COFI meeting
Premier John Horgan told the crowd at the Council of Forest Industries that this government is committed to the forest sector and will do what it can to ensure its continued success. Earlier in its State of the Union address, the CEO's of three major timber producers spoke of changes coming to the industry. New developments in home construction. It also spoke to the need to continue with new market development, something Premier Horgan agreed with. For more, click here...
4/9/2018


Oregon aims to reach the sky -- with wood
Oregon is betting that the skyscrapers of the future will be wooden, not the steel-boned towers seen today. Foresters, architects, engineers and state officials have invested heavily in "mass timber" technologies that allow wooden structures to stand taller and do so safely. New buildings in Portland have pushed the national record for an all-wood structure to eight stories, and a 12-story building is coming soon. For more, click here...
4/9/2018


B.C. lumber exports to U.S. down 20% in March
The federal government says softwood lumber shipments from British Columbia to the United States plunged 20% in March from a year ago amid railway transportation problems. Global Affairs Canada says the country’s largest lumber-producing province exported 514.4 million board feet to the United States last month, down from 614.7 million board feet a year ago. For more, click here...
4/9/2018


Montreal condo project embraces challenges of timber-based construction
Montreal’s trendy Griffintown neighbourhood has experienced a flurry of new condominium construction over the past few years. Amid all those developments there is a new kid on the block: the eight-storey Arbora condominium-apartment complex. While on the outside appearing not much different from its neighbours, Arbora on closer inspection turns out to be quite special. The three buildings making up the complex are built with wood skeletons instead of the standard steel or concrete. For more, click here...
4/6/2018


This week (April 6) in Through a Knothole
For the first time in nearly seven years, the North American softwood lumber industry will vote on whether to continue the Softwood Lumber Check-Off Program -- Price volatility in green Douglas Fir has reached its highest level since 2006 -- Transportation shortages were at the forefront of the recent Montreal Wood Convention, where Canadian railway officials pledged improvements with additional staff and capital investments -- Two changes to the Random Lengths Lumber Price Guide take effect with this issue -- According to a monthly survey, retailers adjusted their sales expectations higher, while inventories of lumber and structural panels remained at or below month-ago levels. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
4/6/2018


B.C. may be in line for another active wildfire season
It's still early in the year, but preliminary forecasts from federal government scientists suggest B.C. may be in for another active wildfire season. The Canadian Wildland Fire Information System released its latest seasonal forecasts this week, predicting that most of the southern half of B.C. will be more vulnerable than normal to wildfire throughout June, July and August. For more, click here...
4/6/2018


Universal plans new manufacturing plant
A wood products provider announced Tuesday it is going to invest $6.1 million and create 120 new jobs in Orangeburg County, S.C. over the next five years. Fortune 1,000 company Universal Forest Products is locating in the John W. Matthews Industrial Park in the 75,000-square-foot speculative building located at the park's entrance. The company will operate in Orangeburg County as UFP Cameron LLC and is expected to come online in the fourth quarter of 2018. The facility will be dedicated to manufacturing products for the industrial market. For more, click here...
4/5/2018


Will lumber stocks continue to soar in 2018?
Lumber stocks have been soaring. With the U.S. housing market steadily recovering, and strengthening demand from China, companies like Canfor Corporation (TSX:CFP), West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd (TSX:WFT), and Interfor Corporation (TSX:IFP) have been booming. Increasing returns, stronger pricing, and improving efficiencies have sent these stock prices soaring in the last few years. For more, click here...
4/4/2018


This week (March 30) in Through a Knothole
The American Lumber Standard Committee's Board of Review will hold a hearing April 27 to discuss the West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau's recent performance associated with grading European softwood lumber imported to the U.S. -- The strong market run in structural panels that gained steam at the start of 2018 has slowed in recent weeks and many traders are busy assessing their next moves -- Many Southern Pine lumber mills have ramped up MSR production over the last year or more to accommodate the species' expansion into non-traditional markets -- Commodity green Douglas Fir dimension items have experienced a volatile start to 2018, but for 6- and 8-inch cuttings, it's been nothing but price increases. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
3/30/2018


B.C. trade minister criticizes CN Rail service
Hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of grain, lumber and other products are sitting idle in northern B.C. due to a months-long backlog on CN rail lines, causing industry groups to warn Canada is losing its competitive edge in international trade. The province's trade minister has also asked the federal government to step in, saying CN's "unreliable" rail service is hurting the region. For more, click here...
3/29/2018


Washington state lawmakers boost mass timber
Rural communities and forest landowners received a big boost from the Washington Legislature this session with the passage of legislation that will lead to an increase in the use of mass timber products in commercial and residential construction. Mass timber products like cross-laminated timber (CLT) have been on the upswing in Washington in recent years. Last year, Vaagen Brothers Lumber of Colville. Wash., and Katerra, a California company, each announced they were building CLT factories in Eastern Washington, and CLT is increasingly being used in buildings around the state. However, one impediment to the wider use of mass timber products in construction has been that building codes have not been updated to account for the new building materials. Senate Bill 5450, passed overwhelmingly 45-2 in the Senate and 91-6 in the House, rectifies this, directing the Washington State Building Code Council to adopt rules allowing for the use of mass timber in construction. For more, click here...
3/28/2018


Report: U.S. lumber consumption could reach record high by 2030
A newly released study by ForestEdge and Wood Resources International forecasts that U.S. softwood lumber demand will grow at an annual rate of 2.3% through 2030, which will be higher than the report's projection of real GDP. The study’s Base Case demand scenario suggests that U.S. lumber consumption will reach an all-time high by 2030. For more, click here...
3/23/2018


Toronto planning for province's first tall wood building
Toronto is about to be home to the province’s first tall wood building. Last year, George Brown College purchased waterfront land from the City of Toronto. Their intention was to construct Ontario’s first Tall Wood institutional building. The plan is to build a 12-storey, carbon neutral facility that will be home to a Tall Wood Building Research Institute. For more, click here...
3/23/2018


Spending bill includes major wildfire overhaul
The spending bill Congress is considering includes a major, bipartisan effort to overhaul how the U.S. government spends money to fight wildfires on federal land. The provision in the omnibus appropriations bill, released publicly late Wednesday, is meant to cut down on a practice known as "fire borrowing" in which agencies like the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management move money meant to reduce fire risks and use it to fight fires. It also would allow federal agencies to access disaster funds for particularly expensive fires. For more, click here...
3/23/2018


This week (March 23) in Through a Knothole
When prices of framing lumber and structural panel items soar to record levels, credit limits can be stretched to their max -- Shock and confusion gripped the Cedar market following a March 15 U.S. Customs and Border Protection announcement that it would enforce the softwood lumber duties on shakes and shingles from Canada -- Composite panel manufacturers will face a June 1 deadline to comply with the EPA's TSCA Title VI formaldehyde emissions standards -- Unrelenting demand from truss manufacturers has contributed heavily to the record run in Southern Pine 2x4 prices since the middle of 2017 -- The Southern Pine 2x4-8' stud market has experienced an uptick in demand and upward price momentum in 2018 that is approaching record levels. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
3/23/2018


Swanson Group seeks assistance through Dept. of Labor
Potentially hurt by competition with Canadian softwood lumber, Swanson Group, a wood products company based in Glendale, asked the U.S. Department of Labor to help affected workers. Shelly Forsberg, a petition coordinator with the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, said a staff member at Swanson Group had asked her to file the petition, estimating about 36 employees may be laid off as a result of cutbacks to the business while it tries to compete with Canadian imports. Forsberg said she could not confirm if the layoffs have happened. For more, click here...
3/22/2018


Global trade of lumber hits record high in 2017
Global trade of softwood lumber reached a record-high in 2017 as demand for wood continued to increase in the U.S., China and Europe, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. For more, click here...
3/22/2018


CLT panel fails during construction
Construction on portions of the new College of Forestry building at Oregon State University has been halted after a large section of subflooring made of cross-laminated timber gave way between the second and third stories. University spokesman Steve Clark said no one was injured in the March 14 incident at Peavy Hall, the Corvallis Gazette-Times reported. He said the university plans to hire an engineering firm to determine a cause and to evaluate whether any other cross-laminated structural elements in the building are at risk. For more, click here...
3/22/2018


This week (March 16) in Through a Knothole
With framing lumber prices hovering at or near record levels as the second quarter begins, many traders will monitor myriad factors for signs indicating how much downside risk the market harbors in the months ahead -- Transportation struggles have plagued lumber and panel markets for months, and traders share their most harrowing tales -- Even though it was late to the party, the low-grade market has picked up steam over the past two months, and drawn more traders' attention -- North American lumber production in 2017 increased 2.2% to 62.2 billion board feet, led by gains in the U.S. -- U.S. housing starts in February fell 7.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.236 million units, as the volatile multifamily sector dropped sharply from an elevated level the previous month. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
3/16/2018


U.S. imposes duties on Canadian newsprint
The American government hit the Canadian forestry industry with more duties late Tuesday as it upheld countervailing duties on Canadian newsprint. The United States Department of Commerce said in a statement that a preliminary investigation found Canadian exporters underpriced uncoated groundwood paper by between 0% and 22.16%. Uncoated groundwood paper includes newsprint, as well as book publishing, printing and writing papers. For more, click here...
3/14/2018


Coalition urges Ottawa not to intervene in grain rail backlog
A coalition of business associations are urging Ottawa not to intervene in a months-long backlog of grain shipments, saying the move would only cause widespread delays for other commodity shippers on Canada’s highly integrated rail system. In a letter obtained by the Financial Post Tuesday, a coalition of seven business associations urged Transportation Minister Marc Garneau to instead focus on Bill C-49, the sweeping Transportation Modernization Act currently making its way through the Senate. For more, click here...
3/14/2018


Comprehensive study on U.S. market outlook available soon
A new 218-page report by ForestEdge LLC and Wood Resources International LLC titled: "Future Suppliers of Softwood Lumber to the U.S. Market - Demand and Supply Outlook to 2030" will be released on March 16. For more information, contact Hakan Ekstrom at 425-402-8809 or Robert Hagler at 703-838-3636.
3/14/2018


CP Rail crews hold strike vote
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.'s unionized train crews are holding a strike vote amid protracted contract talks that threaten chief executive officer Keith Creel's declared desire for better labour relations. A strike mandate could strengthen the negotiating position of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, as CP works to clear a backlog of western grain under pressure from customers and the federal government. "The employer continues to demand what we see as significant concessions in virtually all areas of the present collective agreement," the union said in a memo to members notifying them the voting will begin on March 16. Note: Access to this story requires a subscription to the Toronto Globe and Mail. click here...
3/14/2018


Montreal Wood Convention adds program on rail, trucking issues
The Montreal Wood Convention has announced that representatives from CN Rail and Canadian Pacific and major Canadian trucking company Robert Transportation will take stock of the situation and engage in a discussion with participants at the convention March 21. For more information, go to www.montrealwoodconvention.com.
3/14/2018


Lawsuit dismissed regarding 4x4 lumber
A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit accusing Home Depot Inc. of deceiving shoppers about the size of its 4x4 lumber. U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman in Chicago rejected plaintiff Mikhail Abramov’s claim that the largest U.S. home improvement retailer should be held liable for selling lumber as 4 inches thick by 4 inches wide, when the dimensions were actually 3-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches. For more, click here...
3/13/2018


AWC sings praises of mass timber
American Wood Council President and CEO Robert Glowinski issued a statement following Governor Jay Inslee signing SB 5450, which directs the state of Washington to enact the tall wood building code changes when adopted by the International Code Council. The move will help jump start mass timber construction in the state. “Mass timber is a new category of wood product that will revolutionize how America builds. Beyond its aesthetic qualities, wood is among the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly of all building materials. Wood products store carbon, keeping it out of the atmosphere indefinitely, thereby reducing a building’s environmental footprint. “The entire construction industry is changing. AWC applauds Washington state for helping pioneer better places for us to live and work.”
3/13/2018


This week (March 9) in Through a Knothole
Lumber available to the U.S. market in 2017 increased a slim 1.7% from the previous year, as imports from Canada fell by more than 1 billion board feet -- The framing lumber market has been chronically short of inventory dating back to last summer when severe fire seasons shut down logging and closed mills for weeks -- Four U.S. producers of hardwood plywood filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce asking the agency to investigate claims that importers are circumventing recently issued duty orders -- The price spread between 2x6 8- and 9-foot stud trims has reached epic proportions in green Douglas Fir. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
3/9/2018


Canadian officials criticize service from national railroads
Current service levels from Canada’s two largest railways are disappointing and they’re putting this country’s reputation as a reliable shipper at stake. That was the message in a letter sent to Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP) from Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Transport Minister Marc Garneau Tuesday, three months after Garneau urged the two railways to ensure goods kept moving. The ministers said they have “serious concerns” about current levels of service in Western Canada. For more, click here...
3/9/2018


CN Rail's new CEO apologizes for service
Canadian National Railway Co. is apologizing for failing to keep grain shipments moving reliably by rail, and says it’s taking immediate steps to clear the backlog — including mobilizing more train cars and workers. The move comes just two days after CN dumped its president and CEO amid growing complaints that the backlog of shipments is compromising Canada’s reputation as a reliable exporter, costing sales and putting farmers in a cash-flow crunch. For more, click here...
3/8/2018


Softwood Lumber Board releases annual report
The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) has released its 2017 Annual Report which highlights its most successful year yet and shows its accomplishments in what it has set out to do—protect and grow markets, sell more lumber, and accrue benefits for the entire softwood lumber industry. Highlights include: SLB-funded initiatives generated 1.02 billion board feet (bbf) of incremental softwood lumber demand in 2017; Since its inception in 2012, the SLB has created more than 3.6 bbf of new demand and resulted in an incremental $1.33 billion of revenue; The SLB has delivered a total return on investment of $19.74 in incremental revenue for every $1 spent since 2012. For more, click here...
3/7/2018


Western ports clogged by rail slowdown
The backlog of crop shipments that has raised tensions between the railways and grain industry has clogged West Coast ports with ships waiting to be loaded. For several days there have been as many as 35 ships at anchor around the Port of Vancouver and another handful at the Port of Prince Rupert awaiting trains to arrive with wheat, canola and other western crops destined for overseas buyers. Robert Lewis-Manning, president of the Chamber of Shipping in Vancouver, said the slowdown in rail shipments means vessels are being forced to wait up to a month before their holds are filled with grain. One vessel arrived on Dec. 31 and had to wait until last weekend for its cargo, he said. For more, click here...
3/7/2018


Wood-infused concrete being studied
Purdue University researchers studying whether concrete is made stronger by infusing it with microscopic-sized nanocrystals from wood are moving from the laboratory to the real world with a bridge that will be built in California this spring. The researchers have been working with cellulose nanocrystals, byproducts generated by the paper, bioenergy, agriculture and pulp industries, to find the best mixture to strengthen concrete, the most common man-made material in the world. For more, click here...
3/2/2018


This week (March 2) in Through a Knothole
Amid a historic run in which the Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite Price set an all-time high this week, prices of engineered wood products have followed a far more stable path -- As the Western Canadian industry moves past the devastation caused by the mountain pine beetle, another bug threat is emerging in the form of the spruce beetle -- Supplies of ES-LP boards have tightened over the past year, leaving buyers few options for sourcing the species -- Mortgage rates are starting to catch the attention of analysts who suggest rising rates may have been a key factor in drops of new and existing home sales in January -- Despite complaints about prices and availability, retailers have raised expectations for lumber and structural panels sales over the next three months. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
3/2/2018


Eacom forester setting path for women
Jennifer Tallman didn’t set out to be a trailblazer for women in forestry. “I never really thought about that I was setting the path, but it just kind of turns out that way,” said Tallman, who is the first woman to serve as EACOM’s chief forester for Ontario. Working at the Timmins sawmill, she was appointed to the position in the fall. For more, click here...
2/27/2018


This week (February 23) in Through a Knothole
Southern Pine lumber has expanded into relatively new markets within North America in recent months, and many traders see solid potential for the trend to sustain itself or gain momentum through 2018 -- Insatiable demand has pushed Eastern S-P-F #1&2 2x4 prices to new heights in 2018 -- Prices of Inland Red Cedar boards have been on an upward track for the past seven years, and traders expect the run to continue as spring buying ramps up -- The size of new single-family homes built in the U.S. declined in 2017 for a second consecutive year, a trend signaling the new-home market may be normalizing after the Great Recession. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
2/23/2018


Japanese company planning 70-story timber tower
Japanese timber company Sumitomo Forestry has revealed plans for the world's tallest wooden building in Tokyo, a 350-metre skyscraper that would also be the country's highest. Sumitomo Forestry, the lumber arm of one of Japan's largest corporations, is proposing the 70-story hybrid timber skyscraper to mark the company's 350th anniversary in 2041. Named W350, the ambitious tower would be almost four times higher than the world's current tallest timber building – the 18-storey Brock Commons Student Residence in Vancouver, Canada. For more, click here...
2/22/2018


SmartLam expands to Maine
SmartLam, a Montana-based company that is the first manufacturer of cross-laminated timber in the United States, announced Thursday it plans to expand its operations to the East Coast by opening a new manufacturing facility in Maine. Located in Columbia Falls, Mont., SmartLam is among the six companies the Maine Technology Institute announced Thursday would receive collectively $10.5 million through the Maine Technology Asset Fund 2.0 program. The program is funded by the $45 million R&D bond approved by voters last June. For more, click here...
2/19/2018


This week (February 16) in Through a Knothole
OSB buyers who expected more supplies in 2018 have been surprised by tight availability, which has led to a price run -- U.S. exports of treated lumber to Mexico and offshore destinations set a record for the fourth consecutive year in 2017 -- Housing starts opened the new year on a strong note, with the seasonally adjusted annual rate of starts jumping to 1.326 million units -- Shipments of the newly published Random Lengths Big Book and Yearbook are underway to buyers who placed pre-publication orders -- A robust year propelled by increased sales and prices culminated in a notable fourth quarter in 2017 for a number of wood products companies in North America. All this and more, only available in your full weekly report.
2/16/2018


Scientists introduce bulletproof super wood
Scientists have successfully engineered wood with bulletproof competence that could be the sturdy construction material of the imminent future. The super wood plank has akin characteristics to carbon-fiber and can be utilized in building edifices, cars and bulletproof jackets. For more, click here...
2/14/2018


USDA sets referendum dates for lumber promotion program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced today that, as required by statute, it will conduct a referendum for eligible U.S. manufacturers and importers of softwood lumber to vote on whether to continue the Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order. The referendum will be held from April 17 through May 14, 2018. For more, click here...
2/14/2018


This week (February 9) in Through a Knothole
As of this week, 350 of the 1,674 reported prices (21%) in the Random Lengths lumber and panel guides are at record highs -- Sawmill capacity utilization has been in a pronounced recovery mode since bottoming in 2009, but growth trends have flattened in the past several years -- U.S. softwood lumber imports from overseas hit a decade high in 2017 on the strength of a fifth consecutive annual hike. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
2/9/2018


Washington logger trapped in sinkhole
Bill Burke spent nearly 24 hours underground after falling into a 16-foot sinkhole while working as a logger in the state of Washington. “Next thing I know, one foot went down and then both my feet went down. And next thing I know, I’m up to my arms. And then all at once, all the sticks and everything that was holding me up broke, and down I went,” Burke told Q13 Fox. He tried for hours to escape but any attempts were futile. For more, click here...
2/9/2018


Truck driver shortage impacts Canadian industry
MONTREAL — A shortage of truck drivers is hampering the country’s forest sector as shipments have been delayed and at least one producer was forced to slow production because of a lack of wood chips. Weyerhaeuser Co. chief executive Doyle Simons said Friday that availability of transportation services has been a challenge, especially in the past quarter. For more, click here...
2/5/2018


This week (February 2) in Through a Knothole
The framing lumber market recorded the strongest price increases in January since the spotted owl-fueled price spikes 25 years ago -- The Southern Pine Composite Price has seen its share of ups and downs since the beginning of 2016, but prices of boards in that species have shown little downside -- Europe's more than decade-long expansion into the Chinese softwood lumber market gained momentum in 2017 -- The strongest start to a year in decades prompted retailers to adjust their sales expectations sharply higher, according to a monthly Random Lengths survey. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
2/2/2018


Truck freight rates soar in January
As shippers and brokers deal with a shortage of trucks to carry freight, small-business truckers are poised to make more than they have in years. It’s a big turnaround from recent years, when there wasn’t enough freight demand to fill up all the nation’s trucks and drivers struggled to get attractive rates. This year will be the best for the trucking industry since 2005, said David Ross, an analyst at Stifel Financial Corp. “There are real serious constraints on capacity – mainly a lack of sufficient amounts of qualified drivers – that should drive trucking rates much higher as we move through the year.” For more, click here...
1/30/2018


This week (January 26) in Through a Knothole
Recent discounts of Western S-P-F and White Fir/Hem-Fir #2&Btr 2x10 to their 2x4 counterparts have hit record levels -- By all accounts, the prospects of negotiating a new Softwood Lumber Agreement between the U.S. and Canada anytime in the foreseeable future are not good -- North American structural panel production in the fourth quarter fell 1.7% compared to the third quarter, but rose 4.2% versus the same quarter in 2016 -- Some traders believe the scarcity of Ponderosa Pine shop could cause more buyers and sellers to establish program business. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
1/26/2018


Continuous kiln installed at Ontario sawmill
A newly installed continuous dry kiln at EACOM’s Timmins sawmill is expected to increase output and improve energy efficiency, giving the company a competitive edge as it battles against countervailing and anti-dumping duties imposed by the U.S. Installed in September, the continuous dry kiln is the first of its kind in eastern Canada. It continually pushes lumber through the kiln, eliminating a bottleneck in the system, while keeping the energy output roughly the same. Production at the sawmill is expected to grow from 130 million board feet to 160 million board feet annually. For more, click here...
1/24/2018


Oregon mill producing Mass Plywood Panel
While heavy rains were pelting Santiam Canyon Thursday afternoon, Jan. 18, there was a warm bustle of activity at one brightly-lit site between Lyons and Mill City. Albany Eastern Railroad pulled into a rail stall. Representatives from a German manufacturer were fine-tuning equipment inside a covered, 4-acre plant. Employees of Freres Lumber worked with the visitors in a month-old mill to test tools ready to crank out an innovative product. It's been a busy year for the 95-year-old Freres Lumber Company: the construction of one mill; a blazing destruction of a drying facility, which was promptly rebuilt and is back in operation; and the marketing of a new product, Mass Plywood Panel. For more, click here...
1/24/2018


This week (January 19) in Through a Knothole
Producers, importers, and grading authorities are working through an unknown volume of European lumber in the U.S. found to be off grade -- Trends in domestic markets will likely provide the clearest indication for North American softwood lumber exporters' prospects overseas in 2018 -- Housing starts in the U.S. fell in December from an elevated reading in November, but total starts for 2017 finished at a preliminary 1.202 million units, a 2.4% increase over 2016. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
1/19/2018


Spotted owl focus shifts to marijuana industry
Pot smokers, beware: The northern spotted owl, the bird that brought down the Pacific Northwest timber industry, is circling California’s newly legalized marijuana market. A study led by University of California Davis researchers and released Thursday found that two owl species—the northern spotted owl and barred owl—are being exposed to high levels of rat poison from illegal marijuana grows in northern California. For more, click here...
1/12/2018


This week (January 12) in Through a Knothole
Amid expectations of a U.S. economy set to roar in 2018, the home improvement market is poised to do likewise -- With demand for lumber and panels expected to grow in 2018, traders are keeping a close eye on what many perceive as a chronically undersupplied distribution system -- Buyers of Southern Pine plywood have dealt with tight supplies of sanded items in recent months, which many tie to the 2017 hurricanes -- Retailers' sales expectations were mostly unchanged from the previous month, according to a monthly Random Lengths survey. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
1/12/2018


Canadian newsprint producers hit with CVD
Newsprint is the latest Canadian product to be hit with preliminary countervailing duties from the United States. The U.S. Department of Commerce slapped an overall tariff of 6.53% on about 25 Canadian plants, mostly in Quebec and Ontario, following an investigation that began in August 2017. Canada is the largest exporter of newsprint in the world, with a market dominated by Resolute Forest Products (TSX:RFP), Kruger and Catalyst Paper Corp. of British Columbia. For more, click here...
1/10/2018


Tolko resumes rebuilding Williams Lake sawmill
Work is underway at Tolko Industries Ltd. Lakeview Division in Williams Lake where the sawmill building was damaged by fire at the beginning of November. The Tolko board has approved the sawmill’s reconstruction, said Tom Hoffman, Tolko’s manager of external and stakeholder relations. “There was no work done between Christmas and New Year’s and they are starting again on Monday, Jan. 8,” Hoffman told the Tribune. For more, click here...
1/9/2018


This week (January 5) in Through a Knothole
Given tight inventories of homes for sale and the labor needed to get more homes on the market, housing analysts forecast another moderate increase in U.S. housing starts in 2018 -- Canadian lumber production shifted further from British Columbia to the eastern provinces in 2017, continuing a trend that began in the fall of 2014 -- Some Southern Pine lumber mills firmed quotes on wider widths in December and early January in response to a projected reduction in the average diameter of logs they will be processing in the near term. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
1/5/2018


Biewer adds wholesale division
Biewer Lumber, St. Clair, Mich., has launched a new division within the Biewer family of companies, Biewer Trading. The Biewer Trading wholesale division was initiated in order to strengthen Biewer’s relationships with both customers and suppliers by bridging the gap between the two entities and continuing the pursuit for superior customer satisfaction. For more, click here...
1/5/2018


Fire reported at New Hampshire mill
A fire at a wood products manufacturing mill in Springfield, N.H., spread quickly to four alarms Wednesday night. The first report of the blaze at the Durgin and Crowell Lumber Co. mill came in at 7:30 p.m. The company located at 231 Fisher Corner Road supplies planed wood to many local and regional customers. For more, click here...
1/4/2018


Staff back to work after Ontario mill fire
Officials at the Kenora Forest Products say staff are back at work after a massive fire roared through two kilns this past weekend. About 20 firefighters and volunteers were called to the lumber company just after midnight on Saturday to find two drying kilns engulfed in flames. On Tuesday mill manager Glen Hansson said all employees are at work this week as they dry lumber with one kiln and try to determine what to do with the excess wood. For more, click here...
1/3/2018


Substance abuse top concern for sawmills
Substance abuse might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of workplace health and safety, but workers, and managers in the sawmill industry say it's one of their biggest concerns. Workplace Safety North recently held a risk assessment workshop with experts in the industry. They examined 86 health and safety concerns. A survey of workers and managers determined that substance abuse — including alcohol, recreational drugs and prescriptions drugs — was the number one safety risk. For more, click here...
12/21/2017


Rome Christmas tree so ugly only Charlie Brown could love it
Rome’s official Christmas tree is shedding needles so quickly it has become a jolly joke for city residents. The 21-meter- (70-foot-) high tree, which was lit up on December 8, started dropping needles at a fast clip as soon as it was hoisted into the middle of bustling Rome’s main square, Piazza Venezia. Romans have dubbed the tree “The Mangy One.” They’re also needling Rome’s mayor about the forlorn-looking specimen, which cost 48,000 euros ($57,000) to transport from South Tyrol, an Italian Alpine region. For more, click here...
12/20/2017


The future of architecture is lumbering toward us
The future smells like Spruce. I'm on the third floor of T3, an innovative office building that will soon be home to an Amazon, but the familiar whiff of wood is everywhere, oozing from the brawny beams and knotty softwood decking that support the floor above. This 220,000-square-foot structure in Minneapolis, its design led by British Columbia's Michael Green Architecture and StructureCraft, will house tenants seeking the latest in office space. Here, that means glue-laminated beams and nail-laminated timber floors. It means wood. "It's changing the paradigm of what the future of office buildings might look like," says Michael Green, its lead architect. For more, click here...
12/15/2017


This week (December 15) in Through a Knothole
Historically higher prices and tight supplies of Western S-P-F this year have resulted in a fair amount of substitution -- Softwood lumber duties on Canadian shipments to the U.S., winter weather, and tight log supplies in some producing regions will be key to trading in the first quarter -- With the final countervailing and anti-dumping duty rates now set, the focus in the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber dispute now shifts to the appeals process -- Even with a production dip in British Columbia, North American lumber output through the first three quarters of 2017 was slightly ahead of last year's pace. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
12/15/2017


Future unclear for Montana mill
More than a month after the SK Fingerjointer, Inc. burned to the ground, officials in Libby, Mont., say it’s still too early to tell what will happen at the old Stimson Lumber Co. site. Tina Oliphant, executive director of the Lincoln County Port Authority that was leasing the finger jointer facility to SK Fingerjoint, says the company is still evaluating its options moving forward and has not decided if it will rebuild. “No decisions have been made yet,” she said. For more, click here...
12/13/2017


This week (December 8) in Through a Knothole
The U.S. International Trade Commission voted 4-0 that the U.S. lumber industry was injured by imports from Canada, finalizing the countervailing and anti-dumping duties -- Lumber mills in B.C. and the Pacific Northwest are battling tight log supplies and escalating prices that are holding them back from increasing output -- Softwood lumber manufacturing in the U.S. is linked to an estimated 775,674 jobs with a payroll topping $46 billion, according to a recent report from Forest Economic Advisors -- Seasonal influences continue to control sales expectations for retailers, as survey respondents adjusted levels sharply lower in a monthly Random Lengths survey. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
12/8/2017


ITC affirms duties on hardwood plywood imports from China
Today, the International Trade Commission (ITC) issued its final determination, activating significant tariffs on the imports of Chinese hardwood plywood, voting 4-0 that the domestic industry is materially injured, or threatened with material injury, by reason of these dumped and subsidized imports. Earlier this month, the Department of Commerce also made final determinations against Chinese hardwood plywood and set an anti-dumping duty of 183.6%, as well as countervailing duties ranging up to 194.9%.
12/1/2017


Congress gears up for fight over mass timber legislation
The battle over the 2017 Timber Innovation Act is gaining momentum in Washington, D.C., where two new Senate sponsors and four new Congress members have signed on to it since this past May. The pending legislation would provide funding for research into innovative wood materials and mass timber structures above 85 feet. The bill’s proponents are hoping that it will be an impetus for transforming cities and towns across the country with a bevy of mid-rise and high-rise mass timber buildings. For more, click here...
11/29/2017


Moody's predicts 2018 lumber prices will outweigh cost of duties
Sustained high lumber prices in 2018 will cover the cost of final duties imposed by the US government on Canadian lumber imports, benefiting North American producers and timberland owners, Moody's Investors Service says in a new report. "The continuation of tight lumber markets will allow the estimated $1.2 billion of duties to be collected in 2018 to be passed on to the U.S. consumer via elevated lumber prices," says Ed Sustar, a Moody's Senior Vice President. "This is credit positive for our rated Canadian and U.S. lumber producers, as high prices will outweigh the cost of the duty." For more, click here...
11/29/2017


Softwood Lumber Board touts demand growth
Lumber is an integral part of your business and how America builds its housing. The Softwood Lumber Board’s (SLB’s) mission is to make it much more than that. Our unique programs are showing what is possible when building with wood across residential, commercial, mid-rise, appearance, and even tall building segments. In doing so, we are supporting and expanding the healthy, vibrant markets you need to grow sales. So far since 2012, our investments have resulted in 2.59 billion board feet of new demand—reflecting a fivefold increase through 2016. For more, click here...
11/28/2017


Oregon veneer plant back online after fire
Workers displaced by a disastrous fire at Freres Lumber Co.’s Plant 4 on June 26 are now back at work in their usual capacities in the veneer production facility in Lyons, Ore. Freres crews and contractors worked at lightning speed and, in a remarkable four months’ time, brought the plant back online, producing its dry veneer used internally and sold all over the Pacific Northwest. “After four months and a lot of hard work, we’re up and running again,” says Kyle Freres, Freres Lumber Vice President of Operations. “It has not been without trial and tribulation, however. We had hoped to be online last month, but a large-scale electrical failure held us up. On November 2, the electrical problem was resolved and we are now, thankfully, operating again.” For more, click here...
11/22/2017


Oregon senators criticize bill's wildfire provisions
Following the Senate Appropriations Committee’s release of its draft 2018 Interior and Environment bill, Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden on Tuesday called the bill’s wildfire provisions insufficient to prevent a repeat of 2017’s funding squeeze, reiterating their call for a full, long-term fix to wildfire suppression and prevention funding. Currently, the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies must raid funding from other programs to pay for wildfire suppression during bad wildfire years when suppression costs exceed the budgeted cost for fighting fires. For more, click here...
11/22/2017


Canfor announces expansion at Georgia sawmill
Canfor Southern Pine announced today that it will make a $28 million expansion to its Moultrie, Ga., facility. Formerly Beadles Lumber Co. Canfor, a Canadian-based firm, purchased 50% of the Beadles operation in Moultrie and Thomasville in 2014 and now owns 100%. Cantor chose Moultrie for its expansion and has already begun installing new equipment. For more, click here...
11/21/2017


Report: Strong global earnings at softwood mills in 2017
WOOD MARKETS’ (FEA-Canada) 8th biennial global benchmarking survey has once again placed the U.S. South at the top. The U.S. South was the highest margin sawmill region in North America – a place it has held since 2008 – as well as the top global earner again in 2016 and for the second quarter of 2017. All regions covered in the global sawmilling industry in 2016 and in 2017 showed good results; the average global earnings (EBITDA) at “average” sawmills actually dipped slightly from US$21/m3 (US$34/Mbf – nominal) in 2014 to US$18/m3 (US$29/Mbf) in 2016 but improved to US$24/m3 (US$39/Mbf) by 2017-Q2. For more, click here...
11/21/2017


This week (November 17) in Through a Knothole
With the final countervailing and anti-dumping duty amounts now set in the U.S. softwood lumber case against Canada, the final leg of the yearlong affair is just weeks away -- With many prices at record levels, Cedar buyers are beginning to make purchases for the first quarter of 2018 -- Canadian housing starts in 2017 are on pace to finish solidly above their 2016 level, but a cool down is in store for 2018 -- Housing construction in the U.S. bounced back sharply in October after a severe hurricane season slowed the market in September -- Publicly traded wood products companies in North America reported some of the best quarterly earnings in recent memory during the third quarter. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
11/17/2017


Tolko commits to rebuild fire-damaged sawmill
Tolko Industries Ltd. said it is committed to rebuild its Lakeview Division sawmill where a fire damaged offices in the building earlier this month, but confirmed the sawmill could remain closed until next May. “It’s hard to say exactly how long the mill will be down for at this time as the engineering for the rebuild has yet to be completed,” general manager Troy Connolly stated in an e-mail Wednesday. “It could be as long as six months.” For more, click here...
11/16/2017


China's focus on green building opportunity for B.C.
Forest Minister Doug Donaldson provided an update yesterday on the forestry trade mission underway in China and Japan. Donaldson says talks have been efficient, with China trying to focus on carbon emissions reduction by increasing proportion of prefabricated construction in new structures to 30 percent in the next 10 years. China has a ban on harvesting wood and the need for more product has gone up. For more, click here...
11/16/2017


Teton West Lumber shutting down
Teton West Lumber, a remanufacturer and office wholesaler in Cheyenne, Wyo., has announced that the company will be closing. An announcement to their customers says, "After 43 years, Teton West Lumber finds itself in the unenviable position of having no workable plan to transition our company to the future. We regretfully announce that the companies will be liquidated over the next few months, beginning December 1."
11/16/2017


Fire destroys Alabama planer mill
Grayson Lumber's planer mill in Houston, Ala., was destroyed by fire November 11. The company is uncertain how long it will take to rebuild.
11/15/2017


Commerce announces final duties on hardwood plywood imports from China
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced Monday the affirmative final determinations in the antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of imports of hardwood plywood products from the People’s Republic of China (China). The Commerce Department determined that exporters from China sold hardwood plywood products in the United States at 183.36% less than fair value. Commerce also determined that China is providing unfair subsidies to its producers of hardwood plywood products at rates ranging from 22.98 to 194.9%. As a result of today’s decisions, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits from importers of hardwood plywood products from China based on the final rates. For more, click here...
11/14/2017


This week (November 10) in Through a Knothole
Canadian softwood lumber exports to the U.S. plummeted to a two-year low in the third quarter as the most severe fire season in history disrupted production in British Columbia through much of the summer -- U.S. softwood lumber imports from offshore soared to the highest three-month total in more than nine years in the third quarter -- A new California fuel tax that will tack on a projected 32 cents per gallon on diesel went into effect November 1. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
11/10/2017


Fire destroys small mill in Montana
A fire has destroyed a lumber mill in Libby that officials say employed 30 people and was one of the last lumber companies in town. Two structures are a complete loss after a fire broke out Sunday. Lincoln County Undersheriff Brandon Huff said they got the call just after 2 p.m. for a fire at SK Fingerjoint, Inc, a mill with 30 employees. For more, click here...
11/7/2017


Tolko updates fire at B.C. mill
The fire at Williams Lake proved itself stubborn as flare-ups continued over the weekend and into early Monday morning. The fire, located largely in the offices' section of the sawmill, continued to burn between the ceiling and roof. Given the location of the fire, it was difficult to get at from the outside and hard to safely access the inside of the building to fight the fire. The Williams Lake Fire Department attended the scene several times to aide in extinguishing flare-ups and monitor the location of the fire. As of this evening, the area is smoldering but under control. For more, click here...
11/7/2017


Fire reported at Tolko sawmill in B.C.
Emergency crews continue to battle a fire at Tolko’s Lakeview sawmill in Williams Lake, B.C., Friday morning that erupted Thursday evening around 6:30 p.m. The 150 Mile House Volunteer Fire Department arrived Thursday evening to assist the Williams Lake Fire Department, already on scene. At around 10:30 p.m. Thursday the company’s communications advisor, Janice Lockyer, confirmed in a written statement that there was an active fire, but that no one was injured and the safety of the employees was the top priority. For more, click here...
11/3/2017


This week (November 3) in Through a Knothole
The U.S. Department of Commerce issued its final determinations in the countervailing and anti-dumping duty cases, with the final rates averaging 20.83% -- The 2017 market left an indelible mark on the memories of nearly all traders, but the key question moving forward is whether this year's record-setting price run changes the way buyers approach the market in 2018 -- Chinese softwood lumber imports cooled moderately in the third quarter from the record-setting second quarter, but hovered at historically high levels amid steady to strong overall demand -- Retailers have trimmed their sales expectations for the late-fall and winter, but they are still more optimistic than year-ago levels, according to a monthly Random Lengths survey. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
11/3/2017


B.C. fires impacting exports
Damage that the worst forest-fire season in B.C. has done to the province’s forest industry is showing up in trade statistics that show overall exports down 14% to the end of August, according to B.C. Stats. Understandably, the fires that raged across B.C.’s Interior and consumed 12,158 square kilometres of forests, pushed timber companies out of the woods, diverting their employees to fight forest fires instead of harvesting logs for processing. For more, click here...
11/1/2017


This week (October 27) in Through a Knothole
Prices of Western S-P-F #2&Btr 2x4 and 2x6 are in the midst of an historic run, but they still have a ways to go to hit or top their all-time highs -- Demand for Southern Pine MSR has surged since the middle of September, and producers are scrambling to keep pace with a sharp hike in new inquiries -- Nearly two months after hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast, many residents in Texas and Florida are still waiting for inspectors to assess damage to their homes so they can potentially receive federal assistance -- Eastern White Pine lumber producers have found it increasingly difficult to discard residual chips, and the effects are being felt across the supply chain. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
10/27/2017


B.C. man files lawsuit over logging impact on sasquatch habitat
A sasquatch tracker from Golden aims to take the provincial government to court to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt (or a guy in a gorilla suit) that the legendary creature roams the B.C. wilderness. In a civil lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday, Todd Standing accused the B.C. Ministry of Environment and B.C. Fish and Wildlife Branch of “dereliction of duty pertaining to the interests of an indigenous wildlife species.” The Bigfoot researcher said he will provide physical evidence, video and eyewitness accounts to prove the hairy primate’s existence and asked the court to require a government biologist to accompany him into “known sasquatch habitat” for three months to further prove his claims. For more, click here...
10/27/2017


Wildfire fight brings Northwest Democrats and Republicans together
The four Democratic senators from Oregon and Washington have found common ground with Idaho’s two Republican senators in a bill to reduce wildfire risks near communities. The legislation directs federal land managers to focus tree-thinning and brush-removal projects in areas where wildfire would pose the most risk to people, homes and businesses. It also allocates $100 million to help local governments and tribes in high-hazard areas prepare for fires. For more, click here...
10/24/2017


Oregon reman plant burns
A fire at a Creswell, Ore., mill lit up the night sky Sunday as firefighters from the South Lane, Goshen, Pleasant Hill and Eugene Springfield departments rushed to a location in the 82000 block of Butte Road. Creswell Forest Products’ office and warehouse went up in flames as well as a 40- to 50-foot evergreen tree out front. The fire burned the office’s computers and supplies in the warehouse, including a forklift, said Capt. Aaron Smith of South Lane Fire and Rescue. For more, click here...
10/23/2017


NAWLA helps get wheels under traveling forest exhibit
A while back, NAWLA was approached by the folks from Truth About Trees (who’ve had a steady presence at the Traders Market and Leadership Summit over recent years) and the Omaha Children’s Museum about a unique partnership opportunity. “Forever Forest” is a traveling children’s museum exhibit that will be weaving its way across North America over the next ten years. For more, click here...
10/20/2017


This week (October 20) in Through a Knothole
Attempts to negotiate a new Softwood Lumber Agreement appear to be stuck in neutral -- Chronic truck shortages and widespread uncertainty surrounding delays in shipping are key factors in negotiations among Southern Pine lumber traders -- North American structural panel production rose 0.9% in the third quarter, according to APA -- The Engineered Wood Association -- Market factors were different when hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, but composite prices for structural panels soared then to similar levels experienced this year following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma -- Hurricanes hitting the Southeast were cited for September's 4.7% drop in the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in the U.S. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
10/20/2017


California mill damaged in fire
Firefighters will be conducting an arson investigation Wednesday morning, to determine the cause of a fire at Thunder Mill Molding in Yreka, Calif. CAL FIRE said they were called to a structure fire on the 500 block of East Oberlin Road in Yreka at approximately 6:45 Tuesday night. When they arrived on scene, they found Thunder Mill Molding engulfed in flames. Fifteen engines surrounded the fire and knocked it down before 8 p.m. CAL FIRE said 50% of the mill was burned down by the end of the fire and that there were no injuries reported. Firefighters remained on scene overnight to mop up and watch any fire spots.
10/18/2017


Forest exhibit will travel across the U.S.
The Omaha Children’s Museum is hitting the road. For the first time, the museum has created a traveling exhibit that will appear in select cities throughout the nation. “Forever Forest” opened a six-month run on Saturday in Omaha, and then it will spend the next decade visiting children’s museums and other venues across the country. The exhibit is all about trees, from the forest to your home. It’s designed to help kids learn about where wood comes from, how it’s processed and transported and all the ways it can be used. NAWLA is a major sponsor of the exhibit. For more, click here...
10/17/2017


Report: U.S. industry failing to invest in research and development
A group of industry analysts finds the U.S. forest products industry has fallen far behind in producing new things out of wood. “Many traditional forest product markets have matured or declined,” the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities report stated. “Yet the sector’s research and development funding — essential to innovation — has fallen and its R&D capacity has withered.” For more, click here...
10/16/2017


This week (October 13) in Through a Knothole
In the second half of 2017, 2x6 has been the hottest dimension item across nearly all North American species -- Traders are scratching their heads over why stud prices are lagging behind gains in random dimension -- Surging post-hurricane demand in Florida has fueled a sharp hike in reported prices of Southern Pine #2 4x4-8s -- Traders of Cedar shakes and shingles have grown weary over battling insurance companies over fire safety of wood roofs. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
10/13/2017


Fire hits Oregon particleboard plant
Production lines at Timber Products’ Medford, Ore., particleboard plant are silent following a two-alarm fire Tuesday night. Timber Products Vice President David Smith, who was in Medford Wednesday to inspect the damage, wasn’t sure when the plant’s 96 employees would return to action. “It’s too early to tell right now when we’ll reopen,” Smith said. “We’re still evaluating the facility.” The company’s plywood and veneer mills, adjacent to the particleboard facility at the northeast corner of Sage and West McAndrews roads, remained in operation. For more, click here...
10/12/2017


Study: Glulam viable option for bridges
Glulam timber bridges are viable and cost-effective options for replacing bridges on low-traffic county and township roads. That’s what South Dakota State University researchers at the J. Lohr Structures Lab concluded after testing a full-scale glulam timber girder bridge. Glulam, short for glued laminated, means the structural members are made of layers of wood strips bonded with glue. For more, click here...
10/11/2017


Judge strikes down Menards 4x4 lumber deception lawsuit
A federal judge has struck down Illinois lumber buyers who sued Menards over claims it deceived them about the size of 4x4 lumber boards. The judge said no reasonable consumers would regard Menards' lumber descriptions the way plaintiffs Michael Fuchs and Vladislav Krasilnikov did. The plaintiffs are seeking more than $5 million, saying they were "misled" because boards marketed by their nominal size descriptions such as "4 x 4," were actually 3-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches in size. For more, click here...
10/10/2017


This week (October 6) in Through a Knothole
Wood products markets in 2017 are shaping up to be memorable, with close to 300 of the reported prices of lumber, panels, and veneer at record highs -- Prices of OSB have experienced an historic run that has lasted for most of 2017. As the fourth quarter opens and traders look ahead to prospects for 2018, the onset of new production makes projections more challenging -- Longtime Random Lengths editor Burrle Elmore died October 2 at the age of 74 -- A number of factors dating back to last fall have disrupted the flow of logs to mills across the West, causing wide variance in log decks heading into the fourth quarter -- Market runs fueled by forest fires and hurricanes have kept retailers off balance and unsure of how to proceed with purchasing, according to a monthly Random Lengths survey -- Fir&Larch #2&Btr 2x12 from Canadian sawmills in the Southern Interior of B.C. has been added to the Random Lengths Lumber Price Guide. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
10/6/2017


U.S. and China lead lumber price increases worldwide
Increased demand for softwood lumber worldwide has pushed lumber prices upward, particularly in the U.S. and China during the first half of 2017, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. For more, click here...
10/2/2017


Production cost margins worldwide outlined
Production cost margins for sawmills in Brazil, Russia, and Finland have fallen during the first half of 2017, while they increased to their second-highest level in 13 years in the U.S.South in the 2Q/17, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. For more, click here...
10/2/2017


Weather brings wildfire relief in majority of West
Cool, damp weather has brought relief from wildfires in the northwestern U.S., northern Idaho and western Montana, but the fall fire season is getting underway in Southern California, forecasters said Sunday. The risk of big wildfires will be above average for Southern California through December, the National Interagency Fire Center said in its monthly forecast. For more, click here...
10/2/2017


This week (September 29) in Through a Knothole
Lumber and panel traders are assessing a number of market factors arising from the destructive Atlantic hurricanes -- Mills and government officials in B.C. are beginning to quantify the damage done from the worst fire season on record in the province -- As a result of hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean, the spread between Southern Pine and western Fir plywood has closed dramatically -- The price of Douglas Fir veneer CD 1/8-inch 54s is on the cusp of setting a new all-time high. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
9/29/2017


New CLT plant planned in Washington
Katerra, a high tech construction firm, will open a new factory in Spokane Valley, Washington, where it will produce mass timber products including cross-laminated timber (CLT) and Glulam. The materials will be used in its modular building manufacturing process. For more, click here...
9/27/2017


Fire reported at Maine sawmill
A fire in the basement of the Maibec Lumber Sawmill in Masardis, Maine, early Saturday morning caused some damage to production lines, but should only impact production at the facility for a short time. No one was hurt in the incident. The fire began around 2:30 a.m. Fire departments from Ashland, Masardis, Portage, Mapleton and Presque Isle all responded. The fire was extinguished by 5 a.m. Mill Manager Nathan Whitney said production on one of the lines should be up and running by Monday morning. The line where the fire first began will be down for about a week, as the floor, hydraulics and electrical lines are repaired. For more, click here...
9/26/2017


This week (September 22) in Through a Knothole
Softwood lumber production in the South has outpaced the West for several years, but the region may be poised to carve out an even greater share of U.S. output -- Softwood lumber and structural panel traders will spend much of the fourth quarter gauging how their markets adjust to a severe wildfire season in the West and historic hurricane damage in the Gulf region -- Housing starts in the U.S. continued to underperform early 2017 forecasts, with August showing a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.180 million units -- Analysts predict economic growth will continue at a slow pace in the next two years, and as a result, lumber consumption will increase only gradually -- OSB prices aren't at record levels, but traders would be hard-pressed to find a longer upward trend than the one that has spanned the majority of 2017 -- The recreational vehicle industry is in the midst of a record-breaking year for shipments, and composite panel producers are feeling the effects. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
9/22/2017


B.C. forest industry assesses wildfire impact
British Columbia's wildfires, still not fully under control, have already scorched the equivalent of the entire year's timber harvest in the province's Interior. The state of emergency was lifted over the past weekend, but uncertainty remains for industry, workers and communities as the province begins to assess where it will find the timber to keep forestry mills running. "What's important for people as they come back to their homes and they want life to get back to normal, they want to go back to work and for many, that means coming back to work in our mills," said Susan Yurkovich, president of the Council of Forest Industries. For more, click here...
9/20/2017


This week (September 15) in Through a Knothole
Rebuilding in storm-ravaged areas of South Florida in Hurricane Irma's wake will have little direct impact on demand for OSB, traders say -- Sales of CCX sheathing to Canada helped kick-start this summer's market run in western Fir plywood -- A hearing regarding the injury phase of the CVD/AD case against Canadian lumber imports was held, but a ruling isn't expected until late in the year -- North American lumber production reached 31.514 billion board feet in the first half of the year, a 2.2% gain over the like period of 2016 -- As dealers focus their attention on business prospects in the fall, sales expectations and inventories have been pared, according to a monthly Random Lengths survey. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
9/15/2017


Demand for softwood lumber growing worldwide
International trade of softwood lumber is on pace to a new record high in 2017 if the trend from the first six months continues in the second half of the year. Of the 10 largest lumber-exporting countries in the world, Russia, Finland, Austria, and Ukraine increased shipments the most year-over-year during the first half of 2017. Russia alone has accounted for 22% of global lumber trade so far in 2017, which is up from 15% 10 years ago, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. For more, click here...
9/15/2017


Oregon wood products companies relieved to see end of fire season in sight
As Oregon’s wildfire season wanes, Lane County wood products companies are tallying the damage from the fires and related logging restrictions — burned trees, depleted log inventories and temporary plant closures. Both Eugene-based Seneca Jones Timber Co. and Springfield-­based Roseburg Forest Products lost thousands of trees last month in the Horse Prairie Fire in Douglas County, which has burned through private and federal Bureau of Land Management forests. Fires throughout the state and extremely hot and dry conditions prompted authorities to impose complete or partial restrictions on logging and other work on public and privately owned lands, hampering timber output. With recent cooler weather, however, complete bans have been lifted, allowing loggers to return to work. For more, click here...
9/15/2017


Trucking firms predict tight capacity as loads head to storm zones
Major trucking and logistics firms like XPO Logistics Inc, Daseke Inc and United Parcel Service Inc said capacity will shrink due to a rush of construction and repair shipments to big-box retailers and households across the storm-crippled U.S. Southeast, as analysts warned of higher shipping prices. The demand for lumber, generators, cleaning supplies and appliances for households and home improvement retailers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas as a result of damage from Hurricane Irma will fill trailers and containers not already claimed by shipments for the holiday shopping season. For more, click here...
9/14/2017


B.C. forest industry faces long road to recovery from wildfires
Recovering from a historic wildfire season is expected to take British Columbia's forest industry at least five years, the province's Forest Ministry said on Wednesday. The ministry said in a statement that although wildfires will likely remain active into the fall, plans to help the industry rebound are already underway. For more, click here...
9/13/2017


Timberland managers urged to take aggressive action to prevent wildfires
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke directed all Department of the Interior bureaus, superintendents, and land managers at all levels to adopt more aggressive practices, using the full authority of the Department, to prevent and combat the spread of catastrophic wildfires through robust fuels reduction and pre-suppression techniques. This year-to-date, 47,700 wildfires have burned 8 million acres across the country, with the majority of the devastation in the states of California and Montana. High-profile fires in Yosemite and Glacier National Parks have caught national headlines, however millions of acres of forest and grassland have burned in recent months. For more, click here...
9/13/2017


This week (September 8) in Through A Knothole
Like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and other storms over the years, Hurricane Harvey's eventual impact on softwood lumber and structural panel markets will manifest itself gradually, take years to unfold, and may never be accurately measured. Lumber supplies to the U.S. market in the first half increased 3.0% from the like period of 2016 to 24.140 billion board feet, the highest level since 2007. North American softwood lumber exports to China rebounded in July after a sluggish first half. All this and more, but only in your full weekly report.
9/8/2017


This week (September 1) in Through a Knothole
Random Lengths was published this week in an abbreviated 8-page format, excluding the Through a Knothole section. This is customary for the week preceding the Labor Day holiday. Our regular 12-page format will resume next week with the September 8 issue.
9/1/2017


Wildfires continue to scorch Oregon
Wildfires in Oregon are burning an area roughly equivalent to half the state of Rhode Island, affecting air quality throughout the state and forcing the evacuations of more than 4,500 people, fire authorities said Wednesday. Two dozen fires in southern, eastern and central parts of the state had scorched a total of 571 square miles (1,478 square kilometers). For more, click here...
8/31/2017


Oregon wildfires prompt air hazard warning
Wildfires are burning thousands of acres across the state, prompting evacuations and air hazard notices in several areas. Northern winds carried smoke from southern Oregon and northern California wildfires as far upstate as Portland, where it blanketed skies in an acrid haze. The metro area was under an air quality alert until 7 p.m. Tuesday. The air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Air quality also suffered in central and southern Oregon. On Tuesday afternoon, air quality in Applegate Valley near Medford was ranked fourth worst in the nation. For more, click here...
8/30/2017


B.C. premier: 'No end in sight' to fire season
Premier John Horgan said British Columbians can take comfort that emergency personnel are doing everything in their power to address the absolutely disastrous fire season that has unfolded. But, he did warn that “it’s still August, it’s still very, very hot and no end in sight.” For more, click here...
8/30/2017


Fire restrictions prohibit logging in some parts of Oregon
Extreme fire conditions have prompted officials in Oregon to close some sections of the state to all logging activity. On Monday, the Coos Forest Protective Association announced they have upgraded to a Level 4 shutdown in Southwest Oregon, which prohibits use of chainsaws, among other things. Also, some parts of Douglas County in southern Oregon will go to a Level 4 shutdown as of September 1. To view a map from the Oregon Department of Forestry that details various forest closures throughout the state, visit click here...
8/30/2017


Wildfire prompts evacuation notice in Oregon
With a Level 1 Chetco Bar Fire evacuation notice issued Thursday for his community, Brookings (Ore.) City Manager Gary Milliman takes some comfort knowing that preparations for this moment already had been made. "The city has been actively engaged in getting prepared for more than a week," Milliman said Friday morning. The growing Chetco Bar wildfire prompted officials to issue a Level 1 warning for Brookings, a city of about 6,500 residents, at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Level 1 means people should be prepared to leave their homes. For more, click here...
8/25/2017


Evacuations ordered near Kelowna, B.C.
Evacuations are underway east of Kelowna due to a new wildfire burning in the Highway 33/Philpott Road region. An evacuation order has been issued for the entire area of Joe Rich, from Walker Hill on the Highway 33 western boundary of Kelowna, to Big White Road to the east, and Mission Creek and Joe Rich Creek along the south, according to Central Okanagan Emergency Operations. About 474 properties and 1,100 people are affected, but should conditions worsen, more could be forced to evacuate. For more, click here...
8/25/2017


This week (August 25) in Through a Knothole
Framing lumber prices have been eroding in many species, but the market run that lasted for most of the first seven months of 2017 will go down as one of the strongest in the past 25 years -- The recovery from the worst fire season on record in British Columbia will take years, and with it could come further reductions in the province's annual allowable cut -- Many Southern Pine buyers have gradually shifted purchases toward #1 in traditional #2 applications this year to take advantage of higher quality lumber and historically narrow price differences between the grades -- When Congress returns from August recess, a reauthorization of the Farm Bill will likely include numerous provisions relating to the forestry and forest products industries -- Southern Pine radius-edge decking prices have posted nine consecutive monthly average gains since November, the longest string of uninterrupted hikes on record. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
8/25/2017


Wildfires combine to create largest blaze in B.C. history
Over 400 firefighters are working to contain the largest wildfire in British Columbia’s history. Kevin Skrepnek of the B.C. Wildfire Service said 19 fires merged in an area west of Quesnel in the Interior, creating a single fire estimated to be 4,674 square kilometres in size. Coordinating a response has been a challenge because the fire measures more than 130 kilometres from one end to the other, he said, adding that 25 helicopters and 73 pieces of heavy equipment are being used. For more, click here...
8/22/2017


This week (August 18) in Through a Knothole
When prices of framing lumber escalated throughout much of the first half of the year in the western U.S., many buyers anticipated that mills would ramp up production to meet increased demand. However, a lack of labor and logs have kept production flat -- Western S-P-F #2&Btr 2x6 prices have recently been at a premium to #2&Btr 2x4 for the first time since early 2016 -- As summer heat persists across much of the Northwest, the amount of Ponderosa Pine developing blue stain increases. And some traders are embracing a niche market for blue stained lumber -- U.S. housing starts slipped 4.8% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.155 million units. Steady declines in the multifamily sector fueled the drop -- A number of North American wood products companies reported their highest profit margins since the second quarter of 2013 amid the spike in lumber prices. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
8/18/2017


Oregon forest fire prompts evacuations
Residents in a Douglas County community were evacuated from their homes Wednesday night as wildfires scorched over a thousand acres near the Umpqua National Forest. Fire officials issued level 3 evacuation notice for the Dry Creek and Illahee area. They urged residents to leave immediately as the Umpqua North Complex fires burned across 1,410 acres Wednesday evening. For more, click here...
8/17/2017


B.C. nearing worst wildfire season on record
British Columbia is poised to face its worst wildfire season as flames scorch thousands of hectares of land and costs rise to deal with the devastation. BC Wildfire Service spokesman Kevin Skrepnek said an estimated 8,450 square kilometres of forest, brush and grassland has been burned since the start of the wildfire season on April 1. That compares with a record loss of 8,550 square kilometres in 1958. "(It's) safe to say we are on track for this to be the worst season on record for that area burned," Skrepnek said. For more, click here...
8/16/2017


Oregon wood chip mill fire could burn for days
Firefighters from 11 midvalley fire agencies rushed to a predawn fire Sunday at the Wood Recovery Lumber Mill near Highway 99N at 29229 Milliron Road in Junction City, Ore. The fire was reported at 1:49 a.m. Sunday. A log deck and warehouse were among the parts of the business burning when crews arrived. Lane Fire Authority Chief Terry Ney predicted that the fire probably would burn for days. Nicol said equipment at the mill and some fire department equipment also were damaged. Several online business data­bases said the mill operator, Goshen Inc., was founded in 1992 and is a single operation in Junction City that is more commonly known as Wood Recovery. It manufactures wood chips. The business, which reportedly is sited on 30 acres, has $1.4 million in annual revenue and employs 13 people. For more, click here...
8/14/2017


B.C. considers closing wide swath of Cariboo backcountry
A mix of dry conditions and forecast lightning has officials in British Columbia considering closing access to a vast section of its backcountry to mitigate the wildfire risk. Restrictions on access to all Crown land in the Cariboo fire centre would go into effect at noon on Friday as the province continues to battle what Premier John Horgan has said is the worst fire season since the 1950s. A final decision was scheduled to be made Friday morning. There were 148 fires burning in the province on Thursday with the majority of new starts in recent days attributed to lightning. For more, click here...
8/11/2017


This week (August 11) in Through a Knothole
Unless strong compromises are made in the next few days, the prospects of a new U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement being reached before NAFTA talks begin August 16 appear slim -- The Southern Pine board market continues to trend away from its more volatile past as prices advance toward historically high levels -- U.S. softwood lumber imports from offshore reached 432 million board feet in the first half, up 38% from the 2016 pace. All this and more, available only in the full weekly report.
8/11/2017


Fire damages Idaho mill
ATHOL, Idaho – Fire erupted at a sawmill along U.S. Highway 95 Wednesday morning, sending plumes of black smoke into the air and suspending operations as firefighters arrived. There were no reports of injuries. Employees were on break when the fire started in the planer mill building at about 10 a.m. One worker said damage appeared to be significant. The mill site includes a fingerjoint mill owned by Merritt Bros. Lumber Co. Inc. and the planer mill that is being leased from Merritt by Vaagen Brothers Lumber Inc. out of Colville. For more, click here...
8/10/2017


No end in sight for B.C. wildfires
Wildfires are continuing to tear through British Columbia one month after the provincial government declared a state of emergency. Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek says the province has seen 904 fires since April 1 and most of the major blazes wreaking havoc are ones that prompted the state of emergency declaration July 7. That includes the massive 1,100-square-kilometre Elephant Hill fire near Ashcroft, B.C., that is believed to be human caused and remains under investigation. For more, click here...
8/8/2017


This week (August 4) in Through a Knothole
Analysts have pared their midyear outlook for new housing construction in the U.S., citing sluggish overall first-half growth, including lower output in the multifamily sector -- Southern Pine #2 and #3 2x6 have traded in a historically narrow price range in the last three months, which has prompted widespread substitution between grades -- Duties, tough spring breakup conditions, and wildfires in the B.C. Interior have propelled prices of Fir&Larch 2x4 to record highs in both #1 and #2&Btr -- After a brief pullback in optimism last month, retailers have renewed their high expectations for sales of lumber and panels, according to a monthly Random Lengths survey. All this and more, available only in the full weekly report.
8/4/2017


B.C. wildfire season worst in six decades
This year’s wildfire season has become British Columbia’s worst in six decades, and a provincial spokesman says the action is far from over. Kevin Skrepnek of the B.C. Wildfire Service said Thursday that 4,910 square kilometres of forest, bush and grassland have been torched, making 2017 the second worst in recorded history in terms of land destroyed. “I think it’s important for everyone to remember we are only in early August at this point,” Skrepnek told reporters during a daily wildfire conference call. For more, click here...
8/4/2017


Extreme heat could fuel more fires in B.C.
Fire officials were hoping for a reprieve but as temperatures are set to soar, it doesn’t look like that’s coming. More than 150 wildfires are still active in the B.C. province, and the Cariboo Region has been hardest hit with more than 200 fires this summer that have resulted in 325,000 hectares being scorched. Fire officials are concerned the extreme dry heat could fuel more fires across the region. For more, click here...
8/2/2017


Canadian officials to view Williams Lake fire damage
Crews fighting wildfires across British Columbia are once again preparing for challenges brought on by sweltering, windy weather as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to see fire damage for himself. Trudeau, Premier John Horgan and several federal cabinet ministers are set to visit Williams Lake on Monday. About 10,000 people from the Interior community were forced from their homes more than two weeks ago as flames threatened to cut access to highways. The group is to meet with military and RCMP members from a command centre in Williams Lake before visiting the fire centre and having a look at the fire zone from the air. Residents of Williams Lake have been returning home for the past few days, but others in the region are still under evacuation orders. For more, click here...
7/31/2017


This week (July 28) in Through a Knothole
To the surprise and frustration of various parties, the U.S. Department of Commerce has yet to grant an extension to the deadline in the final decision in the countervailing and anti-dumping duty cases -- Even before wildfires broke out in British Columbia, structural panel prices were strengthening. Although only a few panel mills shut down because of the fires, those closures helped fuel another surge in prices -- North American structural panel production totaled 16.710 billion square feet (3/8-inch basis) during the first half of 2017, the highest level for the period since 2007 -- Chinese softwood lumber imports hit a record 7.05 million cubic meters in the second quarter, fueled primarily by a sustained surge in shipments from Russia -- Random Lengths has mailed out questionnaires to those companies listed in the 2017 Big Book for updating their listings in the 2018 edition. All this and more, only in the full weekly report.
7/28/2017


Thousands of evacuees return to Williams Lake, B.C.
Thousands of people who rushed out of their homes as a wildfire neared Williams Lake are being allowed to return to the Interior British Columbia city, but with a warning that they could be forced to leave again. Mayor Walt Cobb said he couldn’t be happier an evacuation order that went into effect on July 15 was being lifted on Thursday. “The wildfires near our community are not 100% contained and due to the changing weather conditions an evacuation could happen,” he said. “So welcome home and please be as orderly in your return as you were during the evacuation.” For more, click here...
7/27/2017


Weather extends evacuation order in B.C.
Thousands of residents from Williams Lake, B.C., who hoped to be heading home soon after being displaced by wildfires nearly two weeks ago will have to be patient a while longer. Hot, dry weather in the foreseeable future for southern parts of the province prompted officials to say Wednesday that the wildfire crisis will likely get worse through the summer. Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said crews are still monitoring the situation around Williams Lake but because of weather conditions, the B.C. Wildfire Service is likely to recommend a delay in lifting the evacuation order. For more, click here...
7/27/2017


Fire evacuees await clearance from B.C. officials
The mayor of Williams Lake, B.C., says the city is ready to welcome thousands of residents home, as soon as fire officials give the okay. About 10,000 residents of the Interior city were forced to leave more than a week ago when flames from several wildfires threatened to cut highway access. Chris Duffy with Emergency Management BC says the hope is for Williams Lake residents to return "early to mid-week." For more, click here...
7/25/2017


B.C. wildfires stabilize; 30,000 still evacuated
Wildfire crews in British Columbia continue to keep a close eye on the weather, but despite predictions of strong winds and lightning, conditions remained relatively stable over the weekend. The B.C. Wildfire Service website shows 18 new fires were reported Sunday, most of them in the Kamloops and southeast fire centres. All those fires remain small, with about half believed to have been sparked by lightning. The wildfire service lists at least four fires as human-caused. Evacuation orders for areas around 100 Mile House and Princeton were downgraded to alerts over the weekend, allowing many people to return home. More than 30,000 are still displaced by about 150 wildfires in the central and southern Interior. For more, click here...
7/24/2017


This week (July 21) in Through a Knothole
B.C. Interior communities affected by scores of wildfires had only a slight reprieve this week, and continued uncertainty of supply drove lumber and panel prices higher -- Just over halfway through the year, 2017 has been a winner for most framing lumber producers. At the leading edge of that price resurgence has been green Douglas Fir -- U.S. housing starts rebounded in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.215 million units. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
7/21/2017


B.C. premier extends state of emergency for wildfires
B.C. Premier John Horgan extended the provincial state of emergency for wildfires by an additional two weeks and boosted aid payments to those who were forced to evacuate their homes. Horgan emerged from his new government’s first cabinet meeting at the legislature to announce additional payments of $600 for each household for every 14 days evacuees are unable to return home due the wildfires raging in the province’s interior. More than 45,000 people have been forced from their homes as more than 150 wildfires continue to burn in B.C.’s Interior. For more, click here...
7/19/2017


B.C. officials assess evacuation orders
More than a week after out-of-control wildfires sparked a mass exodus of about 40,000 people in the B.C. Interior, some residents who fled their fire-stricken communities learned they could be going home. Residents of the Village of Cache Creek — one of the first communities ordered to leave their homes and businesses — were told Monday they would be allowed to return to their homes on Tuesday afternoon. For more, click here...
7/19/2017


Wildfires in B.C. an ongoing threat
Wildfires sweeping across British Columbia, the world’s biggest exporter of softwood lumber, sent timber prices surging and forced the closure of two copper mines in the western Canadian province. More than 375 fires have swept across the province, burning forests, displacing an estimated 37,000 people from their homes, and forcing sawmills and mines to shut down or evacuate. Lumber futures on Monday jumped by the exchange limit in Chicago to the highest in more than two months. For more, click here...
7/18/2017


This week (July 14) in Through a Knothole
Wildfires burning across the B.C. Interior have halted logging operations and forced curtailment of numerous mills, tightening supplies and driving up lumber and panel prices -- Rumors have circulated that Canada and the U.S. are close to a new SLA, but sources are divided on the validity of the reports -- Preliminary duties on Canadian lumber shipments to the U.S. have failed so far to spur an increase in Canadian exports offshore -- Traders of Southern Pine plywood and framing lumber have mixed views on why the sales pace in that region has been sluggish lately -- Retailers have tempered their sales expectations after reporting a 2017 high the previous month. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
7/14/2017


B.C. evacuation alerts could last for weeks
There are approximately 10,000 people in B.C.'s Cariboo Regional District under evacuation orders, and 10,750 under evacuation alert, including all of Williams Lake. Those alerts and orders may be in place for some time to come. Al Richmond, chair of the Cariboo Regional District, said they could be in place for weeks because of a lack of precipitation in the forecast for B.C.'s Interior, where crews are battling over a dozen large wildfires. For more, click here...
7/14/2017


Fire testing completed on mass timber building
Five full-scale mass timber fire tests in a multi-story apartment building have been completed with promising results. The International Code Council Ad-hoc Committee on Tall Wood Buildings provided the five fire scenarios that were tested in each of the two one-bedroom apartments constructed using mass timber. The test scenarios included various arrangements of exposed and unexposed cross-laminated timber (CLT) with open doors between living and sleeping areas. Additionally, automatic sprinkler systems' effectiveness was evaluated. For more, click here...
7/13/2017


BC firefighters brace for lightning, wind
Firefighters on the front lines of British Columbia’s raging wildfires are bracing for expected lightning and wind today, with all eyes on Williams Lake where more than 10,000 people are under an evacuation alert. Residents of the Central Interior community have been told to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, with municipal officials warning that today’s ominous weather forecast could push fires toward the city at a rapid pace. More than 14,000 people have been displaced by about 200 fires burning across the province, and Bob Turner of Emergency Management BC says the province is preparing for the possibility of mass evacuations. For more, click here...
7/12/2017


BC wildfires force further mill curtailments
More than 300 wildfires in British Columbia have forced Canadian lumber mills to shut as hot, dry weather sparked blazes across swaths of western Canada and the U.S. Norbord Inc., the largest North American producer of oriented strand board used in residential construction, suspended production at its mill in 100 Mile House in central B.C. but stressed that, for now, the mill is safe. On Monday, West Fraser Timber Co., one of Canada’s largest lumber producers backed by billionaire Jim Pattison, said it shut three locations in B.C. -- 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Chasm. For more, click here...
7/11/2017


Roseburg announces plans to build EWP plant in SC
Oregon-based Roseburg Forest Products will expand its operations in the southeastern United States with construction of a new engineered wood products plant in Chester, S.C. Roseburg publicly announced the project July 11 at a joint news conference with officials representing the state of South Carolina and Chester County. “This is an exciting strategic growth opportunity in a business that has done well for us,” Roseburg President and CEO Grady Mulbery said. For more, click here...
7/11/2017


Thousands flee wildfires in California, Canada
Wildfires barreled across the baking landscape of the western United States and Canada, destroying a smattering of homes, forcing thousands to flee and temporarily trapping children and counselors at a California campground. In California, two major wildfires have sent nearly 8,000 people fleeing to safety. In British Columbia, firefighters were contending with more than 200 wildfires that had destroyed dozens of buildings, including several homes and two airport hangars. The three biggest fires, which ranged in size from five to eight square miles, forced thousands of people to flee. For more, click here...
7/10/2017


This week (July 7) in Through A Knothole
Unresolved issues associated with the collection of recently announced preliminary duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports to the U.S. have kept traders in a cautious mode. Western Red Cedar traders will be among the first to deal with the late-August period when countervailing duties come off Canadian lumber exported to the U.S. Some Cedar mills already have order files extending to the fall. Reported prices of Southern Pine random #2 2x4 have fallen more than $100 in all three zones over the past two months. The downward spiral have come as little surprise to many traders. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.
7/7/2017


This week (June 30) in Through a Knothole
Random Lengths was published this week in an abbreviated 8-page format, excluding the Through a Knothole section. This is customary for the week preceding the Fourth of July holiday. Our regular 12-page format will resume next week with the July 7 issue.
6/30/2017


Norbord acquires wood allocation for curtailed OSB mill
Norbord Inc. (TSX and NYSE: OSB) today announced that the Quebec Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks has granted the company a wood allocation for its curtailed Chambord, Quebec OSB mill that will take effect April 1, 2018. "We are very pleased to have secured a wood allocation for our Chambord, Quebec mill so soon after acquiring it in the fall of 2016, and this is an important first step toward restarting production at the mill," said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord's President and CEO. For more, click here...
6/27/2017


Fire reported at Oregon veneer plant
Multiple fire departments have responded to a fire at a lumber mill in Lyons, Ore. Firefighters from surrounding cities responded to Freres Lumber Co., Plant 4, Monday afternoon after the fire was reported. The company posted on their Facebook page that as of 6:25 p.m., the fire was not yet under control. Everyone was able to get out safely and no injuries have been reported. On Tuesday morning, a Freres source said the fire was in the veneer plant and did not impact the plywood plant. For more, click here...
6/27/2017


This week (June 23) in Through a Knothole
The chief forester of the B.C. Ministry of Forests has announced a reduced annual allowable cut for one of the key timber supply areas in the province -- In the quarterly Trader's Notebook, key issues affecting wood products traders will include reactions to the combined CVD and AD duties and potential developments in any negotiations -- Prices of Ponderosa Pine shop have surged in 2017 after declining considerably in 2015 and floundering through much of 2016 -- The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed anti-dumping duties on Chinese hardwood plywood imports -- Most regions in Canada and the U.S. will experience normal fire risk this season, forecasters say. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.
6/23/2017


Menards, Home Depot sued over descriptions of lumber size
Menards and Home Depot stand accused of deceiving the lumber-buying public, specifically, buyers of 4x4 boards, the big brother to the ubiquitous 2x4. The alleged deception: The retailers market and sell the hefty lumber as 4x4s without specifying that the boards actually measure 3½ inches by 3½ inches. For more, click here...
6/22/2017


Idaho plans to use mass timber for new arena
The momentum for mass timber continues to gain strength and speed, with last week’s announcement that the University of Idaho will build its new $30 million basketball arena from wood. Why? Because Idaho wants, and needs, to stand out from its recruiting season competitors – and the new basketball arena might do the trick. “It ties in with our land grant mission. It ties in with the timber industry. It ties in with our need for a facility. This is really resonating with people,” UI Athletic Director Rob Spear told the Spokesman-Review’s Peter Harriman. For more, click here...
6/21/2017


Tolko announces restart of OSB mill
Tolko Industries Ltd. is pleased to announce that the company is restarting its oriented strand board mill, located near High Prairie, Alberta. The mill has been closed since 2008 when North American housing starts fell to a generational low, resulting in a loss of markets for oriented strand board. With markets improving and optimism that housing starts will maintain upward momentum, the decision has been made to restart the mill, with production expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018. For more, click here...
6/20/2017


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