Russia looking to double lease terms of forest areas to attract investors

Russia looking to double lease terms of forest areas to attract investors

March 30, 2015 - The head of the Federal Forestry Agency of the Russian Federation, Ivan Valentik, would like to have lease terms with tenants increased from

Top 20 lumber producers rankings are out

Top 20 lumber producers rankings are out

The latest Wood Markets annual survey of the "Top 20" Canadian and U.S. softwood lumber producers in 2014 shows modest gains by the industry...

Softwood lumber export tax rate increase triggered

Softwood lumber export tax rate increase triggered

The trigger for an increase in the export tax rate for Canadian softwood products going to the U.S. has been reached and will be enforced on softwood lumber as

Plenty of biomass - Satellites say

Plenty of biomass - Satellites say

Mar. 11, 2015 - There has been much controversy and speculation that the demand for biomass as a fuel source is driving deforestation and degradation...

Canada certification leader...still

Canada certification leader...still

The latest forestry certification stats show Canada continues to be far and away the leader in forest sustainability.

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In the forest with Island Timberlands...
CFI Editor Amie Silverwood goes into the forest near Nanaimo, B.C. with Island Timberlands.
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Adapting to an evolving wood diet...
CFI Editor Amie Silverwood discusses how Ilnicki Bros is adapting to a changing wood diet in the forests near Williams Lake, B.C.
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New technology for dust suppression...
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Safety and efficiency with Murray Latta...
Conor McElveen discusses the renewed commitment to safety and efficiency that can be seen in the latest product releases Murray LattaProgressive Machine Inc.

Harvesting

The Waratah 622C 4x4 gives Dickinson the flexibility of single and multi-stemming, allowing efficient  movement between smaller and larger stems. Stem solutions for logging

“We got a little more volume this year, so we were in the market for a new harvesting head.” That was the starting point for Seth Dickinson of Dickinson Logging, who knew he needed to make a smart equipment purchase to respond to the increase in business. Dickinson is a sub-contractor for Ecko Logging and cuts for the West Fraser mill in Hinton, Alta. The operation cuts 28,000 to 30,000 cubic metres per month, with Seth and his team processing and skidding. They cut a mix of pine and spruce, with a little bit of aspen, all in the three-to-five metre range. The pine and spruce are cut to 12, 14 and 16-foot lengths, while the aspen is cut to eight feet. Last July, as the company went back to work in the forests south of Hinton, Dickinson purchased a Tigercat 630E skidder to replace his older model (the first one sold in Alberta), but that only solved half the problem. With a Link-Belt 240 running a Waratah 622B harvesting head that had almost 19,000 hours on it, he knew he needed another solution. “I was looking at the new (Tigercat) H855C and the Waratah rep in town was telling me about the new 622C and how good it should work for me.” It turned out that the Wajax distributor in Hinton had a Waratah 622C in stock. Seth had worked with rep Barry McBride before, and was very happy with his previous experience using a Waratah harvesting head. Before long, Dickinson had the 622C in the forest.   Laser-like startOne of the first things he noticed was the laser find edge system. “We had to cut a cookie with the old head,” Dickinson says. “With this one, the laser find edge is really good and the mill really likes what we produce.” Dickinson also noticed a significant new development between the 622B and the 622C, one that has already proved beneficial in the wood mix being cut by the company. “The link arm on the C, between the drive arms, is slotted,” Dickinson explains. “With the B, it’s hooked solid. I find that the slotted version really works nice because it gets a good grip on the tree.” The 622C 4x4 has both single-stem (5 to 66cm) and multi-stem (5 to 28cm) capabilities, which help Dickinson move from small to larger diameter wood, a challenge he has faced in the past. “You can pick two trees up and shuffle them back and forth in the head, individually, to line them up so that you’re not cutting too much off for cookies. It’s really accurate.”   That accuracy and versatility has been a major selling point for Dickinson, and has significantly increased his profitability. “When we first started cutting back in July, the block we were cutting in was really, really poor,” Dickinson says. “We were just barely getting by with the B. We were doing between 1,000 to 1,200 trees per eleven-and-a-half-hour shift. With the C head, it put us up to 1,400 to 1,700 in that time period.” Now that Dickinson has had a few months of operation with the 622C, he’s started to discover some of the other benefits of his new harvesting head. “The C has a whole new valve in it, it’s much cleaner and easier to work on. You don’t have to take anything apart to get at something to do maintenance.” And while the head has, by itself, been a huge benefit for the logging contractor, the equipment he paired it with has also made a noticeable difference. “The combination of the Tigercat 855 and the Waratah 622C is really good. The carrier has a lot of horsepower and a lot of flow. It really runs the head nice, and it’s super fast.” The smart purchase Dickinson needed to expand his business is already paying dividends in the forest and on the bottom line.    

Is your JHSC relevant?

As workplace safety issues have grown more complex, joint health and safety committees (JHSC) can be an effective means of controlling hazards. But a JHSC will only be effective if it is given the tools to succeed. Employers should be reviewing the JHSC findings in the same way as they would review profits, quality control or down time. In response to the three-week wildcat strike by about 1,000 steelworkers in 1974 at Elliot Lake’s Denison uranium mine, the Government of Ontario appointed a Royal Commission headed by James Ham to review mine safety. The Ham Commission concluded that Ontario’s responsibility system was deficient in two ways. Divided jurisdictions made it difficult to determine who was responsible and, as the commission put it, “the worker as an individual, and workers collectively, have been denied effective participation in tackling these problems; thus the essential principles of openness and natural justice have not received adequate expression.” The Ham Commission recommendations resulted in the creation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in 1979, the provincial law governing health and safety in the workplace, and the internal responsibility system, which has essentially been the blue print for occupational health and safety across Canada. Ham set out three principles as the defining characteristics of the internal responsibility system. Implementation of JHSCs with the power to inspect, investigate and, with less clarity, the power to make decisions respecting health and safety; An individual’s right to refuse unsafe work; The right to be informed of substances used in the workplace which could be harmful. Most legal regimes in Canada prescribe to the above three rights through their occupational health and safety acts and regulations, yet they are not always adhered to or enforced by the regulators. Workers often complain that their JHSC is under-utilized. Common complaints include: not being involved in investigations, not getting the legislated training, not having the required number of worker representatives or even meeting at all (in some cases, even getting workers to sit as JHSC members can be difficult). To be respected and valued in the workplace, JHSCs must not only investigate incidents (including near misses), they must also put a heavy emphasis on prevention. The committee must also be properly trained and given the time to conduct effective job hazard analysis programs. I’ve observed many examples of excellent JHSCs where labour and management work well together to identify and eliminate hazards. These committees generally have clear objectives in mind, extensive training (including management members who are often overlooked), are proactive versus reactive, and engage the workforce to help identify and correct hazards. Achieving more than legal compliance can bring about a sustainable improvement to the health and safety of workplaces. Identifying the hazards and controlling them (using the hierarchy of control) is key to ensuring there won’t be any incidents. The first level of control is to eliminate the hazard wherever possible. If this is not possible, the hazard should be substituted with a non-hazardous substance or procedure. If this is not possible, the hazard should be reduced through an engineering control (for example, guarding). If this is not possible, an administrative control, such as training, should be provided. Lastly, if the superior controls are not effective, personal protective equipment should be utilized. We have unfortunately seen tragic consequences when the proper controls have not been utilized due to the perceived costs involved. However, using superior controls will provide the most protection and, in most cases, be the most cost-effective. To ensure your JHSC is relevant in today’s workplace, aim for more than legal compliance. When JHSCs develop clear goals, proactive and positive prevention programs, engage employees and develop a track record of bringing about real improvements in the workplace’s health and safety, a reduction in injury and illness will undoubtedly follow.   Ron Corbeil is the United Steelworkers District 3 health, safety & environment coordinator, which encompasses the four western provinces and the northern territories. Ron is based in Burnaby, B.C.    

Sawmilling

Top 20 lumber producers rankings are out

March 27, 2015 — The latest Wood Markets annual survey of the "Top 20" Canadian and U.S. softwood lumber producers in 2014 shows modest gains by the industry in both countries as lumber demand continues to rise slowly (but steadily) in the U.S. as well as in key export markets. 

Ten steps to successful drying draws solid crowd

March 25, 2015 – More than 50 people registered across Canada, U.S. and the U.K. to hear successful drying expert and consultant, Peter Garrahan, present Canadian Forest Industries’ inaugural webinar, “Ten Steps Toward Successful Drying,” sponsored by Innovated Control Solutions (ICS) and hosted by edtor Andrew Macklin.

Industry news

Russia looking to double lease terms of forest areas to attract investors

March 30, 2015 - The head of the Federal Forestry Agency of the Russian Federation, Ivan Valentik, would like to have lease terms with tenants increased from 49 to 98 years, as a way to increase investment in Russia’s forestry sector, according to an article published by Lesnaya Industriya, a Russian trade magazine for forestry sector professionals and businesses working in logging, woodworking, furniture production and wooden home construction.

Softwood lumber export tax rate increase triggered

March 24, 2015 - The trigger for an increase in the export tax rate for Canadian softwood products going to the U.S. has been reached and will be enforced on softwood lumber as of April 1, 2015.

Canadian building permits values down in January

March 24, 2015 - The value of seasonally-adjusted building permits issued by Canadian municipalities declined 12.9 per cent to $6.1 billion in January, compared to the previous month, and were down approximately $960 million when compared to January 2014 ($7.09 billion), according to a recent report by Statistics Canada.

U.S. housing starts down 17 per cent

March 23, 2015 - Housing starts in the U.S. experienced a 17-per-cent decline in February, according to a recent report by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Wood Panels

Prices for hardwood chips traded overseas up 1.3 per cent

March 24, 2015 - Globally traded hardwood chips for the manufacturing of pulp and wood-based panels have trended downward for much of the past three and a half years. However, this trend broke in late 2014 and early 2015 when prices slowly started to increase.

Louisiana-Pacific reports 2014 losses

Feb. 13, 2015 - Louisiana-Pacific Corporation reported losses in the tens of millions for both its fourth quarter and year-end results for 2014. Total sales for the fourth quarter of $454 million, 5 percent lower than the year ago quarter. Total sales for the year were $1.9 billion, 7 percent lower than the previous year. Loss from continuing operations for the fourth quarter was $43 million ($0.30 per diluted share) and a loss of $73 million ($0.52 per diluted share) for the year. Non-GAAP adjusted loss from continuing operations was $32 million ($0.23 per diluted share) for the fourth quarter and a loss of $60 million ($0.42 per diluted share) for the year. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations for the fourth quarter was negative $17 million compared to positive $24 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. For the year, EBITDA from continuing operations was $44 million compared to $330 million the previous year. Cash and cash equivalents were $533 million as of December 31, 2014. “The fourth quarter was a tough quarter for LP as OSB prices drifted downward, log outages affected our siding production and EWP sales slowed as dealers aggressively managed their inventories at year-end,” said Curt Stevens, CEO. “But, there are some positive signs that housing activity will improve including: increase in consumer confidence (lower energy prices); actions by the government to lower the cost and increase the availability of mortgages; lower mortgage rates; and a better outlook for jobs.” For the quarter ended December 31, 2014, LP reported net sales of $454 million, down from $480 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. For the fourth quarter, the company reported an operating loss of $49 million as compared to $22 million in 2013. For the fourth quarter of 2014, LP reported a loss from continuing operations of $43 million, or $0.30 per diluted share, compared to a loss of $19 million, or $0.14 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2013. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of 2014 was negative $17 million compared to positive $24 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. For the year ended December 31, 2014, LP reported net sales of $1.9 billion compared to $2.1 billion in 2013. For the year ended 2014, the company reported an operating loss of $78 million compared to income of $203 million in 2013. For 2014, LP reported a loss from continuing operations of $73 million, or $0.52 per diluted share, compared to income of $177 million, or $1.23 per diluted share, for 2013. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations for the year was $44 million compared to $330 million for 2013.

Remanufacturing

Stella-Jones reports Q4 2014 and annual results

March 26, 2015 — Stella-Jones Inc. (TSX:SJ) ("Stella-Jones" or the "Company") today announced financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2014.

UCS acquires White-Wood distributors

Feb. 24, 2015 – The UCS Forest Group of Companies (UCS) announced that they have reached an agreement to acquire the assets and ongoing business activities of the British Columbia business unit of White-Wood Distributors Ltd. UCS does business in Canada as Upper Canada Forest Products Ltd. “We are delighted with the opportunity to service the customers and support the suppliers that have been dealing with White-Wood throughout British Columbia,” stated Warren Spitz, President & CEO of UCS. “I would like to offer my thanks to Mark Yusishen for choosing us as White-Wood’s successor in this market. Our corporate strategy to grow in key markets continues across North America and we are very excited about this most recent opportunity.” “Our decision to complete this transaction with Upper Canada was based in part on our shared values and commitment to excellence in customer service’” commented Mark Yusishen, President & CEO of White-Wood. “We are confident that our valued customers in B.C. will continue to be well-served.” This is the third acquisition in the past 10 months for the UCS Forest Group, which recently acquired Reimer Hardwoods operations in Alberta and the Atlas Lumber Company in Los Angeles, California. Upper Canada Forest Products has serviced the British Columbia market for over 20 years and operates from an 80,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Burnaby and a second facility in Kelowna. In a timely manner, White-Wood’s operations will be integrated into Upper Canada’s facilities.

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