Winning team

Winning team

If the success of Northwest Forest Resources were distilled down to a few words, they would likely be teamwork, investment and attention to detail.

Margin key at Western Forest Products

Margin key at Western Forest Products

Volume production is one thing, but in today’s lumber industry it’s value that pays the bills. And timely value production is what Saltair Sawmill is built for.

Vermeer has a new forestry tractor

Vermeer has a new forestry tractor

FT100 tractor is a multipurpose machine for tree care and landscape contractors.

Komatsu has new harvesting head

Komatsu has new harvesting head

New harvesting head is designed to be highly productive in thinning applications.

tree tenderloin

tree tenderloin

Outside the Coopérative Forestière de Girardville (CFG) Tradition mill, huge trusses of 12x16s, 16 feet in length, are waiting to be delievered.

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Komatsu has a new harvesting head...
The new harvesting head is designed to be highly productive in thinning applications.
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Some environmentalists exaggerate...
Quebec’s forests are not threatened, according to a new documentary and an Economic Note from the Montreal Economic Institute.Video location: QuebecRecording date: August 2014
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FPAC on innovation in forestry...
Catherine Cobden explains what is meant by innovation in forestry
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WorksafeBC cautions workers falling trees...
WorksafeBC cautions workers falling trees

Harvesting

Cat links forestry machines Cat links forestry machines

Sept. 17, 2014 - Cat Product Link, Caterpillar's machine monitoring system, is now standard on all forestry machines. When installed at the factory, the system comes with a three-year subscription to VisionLink, the user interface, at no charge. Product Link is an advanced — but user friendly — remote monitoring technology for equipment. With Product Link, customers know where their equipment is, what it's doing and how it's performing. Armed with this information they can maximize efficiency and lower operating costs. The system has been in use on many forestry products since 2007. Expanding availability and offering the service at no cost, will allow more forestry customers to experience the advantages of Product link on all their Cat harvesting and extraction machines. "We know our forestry customers can benefit greatly by using Product Link. This is a tool that can improve their profitability," said Caterpillar Forest Products President Kevin Thieneman. Product Link is integrated with the Electronic Control Modules (ECMs) on Cat equipment to collect and deliver valuable information. Because logging sites tend to be in remote areas, information will be transmitted via satellite for more consistent communications. Customers will have remote access to equipment information over the web at any time and any place. With Product Link customers can: • Know the location and status of equipment, including alerts if their equipment is moved without their knowledge• Track fuel use and idle time• Monitor equipment efficiency and health, including fault codes• Access fluid analyses results and online parts ordering• Access model-specific daily safety and maintenance inspection checklists. "You want to know what's going on on your jobsite? Punch it up and find out. It's that easy. You get a replacement warning on a filter? Click over to the Cat Parts Store and have filters delivered to you the next day. We're working to better serve our customers in the coming years and Product Link is the key," Thieneman said. As part of orientation on a new machine, Cat dealers will provide training on Product Link. Caterpillar also offers online webinars. "Not long ago people had basic mobile phones and didn't think they needed anything else. Now everyone's got a smartphone and can't live without it. Telematics like Product Link will be mainstream in the near future," Thieneman concluded. For more information, talk to your local Cat dealer.

Winning team

Sept. 16, 2014 - If the success of Northwest Forest Resources of Corner Brook, Newfoundland, were distilled down to a few words, they would likely be teamwork, investment and attention to detail. NWFR was started in 1984 by Eli Reid as a manual logging operation for pulp. “He worked in a camp situation which was the normal thing at that time,” explains Craig Reid, present Northwest co-owner and Eli’s grandson. “He came home on the weekends and worked really hard. He loved the bush and lived it and that’s all he ever knew.” Eli’s sons Melvin, Doyle and Guy (Craig’s father) joined Eli and all worked together in the family business. Around 1994, they went to mechanical harvesting. Along the way, some of their sons joined the business, such as Doyle’s son Trevor (co-owner, mechanic) and Craig’s brother Chad (mechanical repair and maintenance) and long-time foreman Dave Reid. Melvin, Doyle and Guy stayed on until their retirements in 2002, 2006 and 2009, respectively. Six full-time employees and about 25 unionized operators harvest over 143,000 m3 per year with a utilization of 1.22 m3/ha. “We now have six harvesters and three forwarders,” says Craig. “Tigercat is our main equipment supplier, the best we’ve found.” The company has mobile service trailers for repair and maintenance, and over 363,000 hours without a lost-time accident. NWFR innovates with equipment, communication, safety, and production tracking and data management using tech such as FPdat and GPS. In addition to producing pulpwood for the Corner Brook mill for almost 30 years, NWFR has recently been harvesting sawlogs and fuelwood as required by Corner Brook Pulp and Paper (CBPP). For all this and more, NWFR was recently selected as CBPP’s 2013 “Contractor of the Year.” “This is quite an accomplishment, considering the detailed and rigorous evaluation that we do on all our contractors three times each year in our Key Performance Indicator (KPI) program,” says CBPP General Operational Superintendent Tim Moulton. “NWFR was selected as our best contractor based on their superior performance during 2013 in the areas of safety, quality, production, environment, fibre utilization and overall efficiency.” NWFR also recently won the “Atlantic Contractor of the Year” award from the Canadian Woodlands Forum, a not-for-profit organization with the aim of improving the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and profitability of woodlands operations as they contribute towards sustaining a robust, safe, and environmentally responsible wood fibre supply chain. “These awards are a big achievement,” Craig says. “We’ve always tried to be the best we can be, and that’s what you work towards, and this is the best recognition that we could have gotten for what we do. Everyone at the company was very happy, and my uncles and my father were very happy too to see the company in capable hands.” NWFR is also CBPP’s most-improved contractor in terms of their KPI score improvements from 2012 to 2013. KPI scores are based on many operational performance aspects, from safety to mapping and reporting, Craig explains. Corner Brook Pulp and Paper does three KPI contractor evaluations a year, measuring each contractor against strict guidelines. “Corner Brook wants their contractors to be the best,” Craig says. “The evaluations help the business in terms of targeting areas for improvement, and we also receive payment based on KPI performance. We were getting scores in the low-to-mid-80s in 2012, but in 2013 we averaged 98 throughout the year. We are very pleased.” This amazing achievement is a testament to the strong teamwork at NWFR. “It’s a team effort for sure,” says Craig. “My brother Chad was instrumental getting our utilization up and our foreman Dave Reid brings a wealth of experience. They have both been around the business for years and that’s invaluable. We also hired another foreman last year, Chris Curnew, a very experienced and skilled forest technician who has brought us up to date with technology use. Things like GPS and FPDat. He and Dave work as a team within the team and they are very strong together with the in-field layout and management. Wallace Budgell is our excellent night supervisor.” Craig also attributes their strong safety record to teamwork. “We have well-trained employees, and we use a behaviour-based program where operators do a checklist on themselves and each other each week, and we have a safety talk before each shift,” he says. “We have thorough monthly #1 Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) inspections, and passed all three 2013 #2 OHS inspections (conducted by CBPP staff) with an average of 98 per cent.” “Their weekly reporting is always accurate and on time, and they passed all fibre utilization inspections with the lowest residual recoverable volume left on their summer operating areas (1.22 m3/ha),” CBPP’s Moulton explains. “Their high equipment utilization is evidence of this. In 2013, they had the highest average utilization of all contractors working for the company.” In addition, CBPP recognizes that NWFR has done an excellent job with producing high-quality sawlogs for CBPP’s sawmill partners, and has great relationships with land users such as the Western Snow Riders snowmobile club. NWFR takes a great deal of care to ensure that the crossings of groomed snowmobile trails are kept safe and accessible where they meet NWFR logging roads. Community is also important to NWFR and the Reid family. NWFR participates in the “Log a Load for Kids” hockey tournament each year, where money is raised for Janeway Children’s Hospital. In 2013, the NWFR team won the tournament as the highest fundraising group with $7,700 raised. “NWFR is a diversified company,” adds Moulton. “In today’s very competitive forest industry, only the strong and innovative contractors survive. In order to stay strong, contractors have to look at ways to increase productivity and reduce costs and that’s what NWFR does. It has been in existence for 30 years and there is no doubt they will be around for many years to come. The wealth of knowledge in all aspects of the operation from trucking, harvesting, forwarding, to the business side of things will ensure that.” When asked about future plans, Craig says they are focused on keeping this family-run business strong. “We want to be able to continue making a living and retire from the business, and keep it going for generations to come as well,” he says. “It’s a job where we can stay at home, and that’s not easy to achieve in this day and age and we appreciate that.” ‘Log a Load for Kids’ is a fundraiser organized by the Canadian Woodlands Forum that includes a hockey tournament, two golf tournaments and a softball tournament to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. Canadian Woodlands Forum has raised almost one million dollars since 2000 through ‘Log-A-Load for Kids.’ Forestry groups nationwide interested in contributing or organizing an event can go to cwfcof.org.  

Sawmilling

Resolute CEO named to Clean50

Sept. 16, 2014, Montreal  - Richard Garneau, President and Chief Executive Officer of Resolute Forest Products Inc., has been named to Canada's Clean50, recognizing leaders who have made the greatest contributions to sustainable development or clean capitalism in Canada. "This designation represents an important endorsement of Resolute's approach to our business and sustainability strategies, which are directly linked and interdependent," said Richard Garneau. "Sustainability principles and objectives are reflected in our vision, corporate values and the way we do business across the company every day." Canada's Clean50 are awarded annually by Delta Management Group. The awards recognize 50 individuals or small teams, in 16 different categories; Mr. Garneau has been chosen for the manufacturing and transportation sector. Resolute's notable sustainability accomplishments include: Achieving 99.4% of its commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 65% below 2000 levels, an industry-leading goal one year ahead of schedule and the equivalent of taking 1.62 million cars off the road annually. Making significant investments in conservation measures and fuel-switching, including elimination of on-site coal use. Maintaining a leadership position in sustainable forest management and in the engagement of communities and First Nations. In 2013, the company's Opitciwan joint-venture sawmill won the prestigious national Aboriginal Forest Products Business Leadership Award. Significantly improving safety performance over the past several years, reaching world-class levels. Enhancing energy efficiency and investing in clean energy at its operations, reflected in the company's ramp-up of four power generation assets within the past year, among which is a C$65 million cogeneration facility in Thunder Bay (Ontario). Achieving complete transparency of sustainability reporting by using the platinum Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standard. "I am proud of the sustainability goals Resolute and our employees have achieved to date," concluded Richard Garneau. "Carefully balancing environmental, social and economic priorities strengthens our competitiveness, making Resolute a supplier of choice for our customers, and an engaged civic partner in the communities in which we live and work."

Air filtration prevents fires

Sept. 12, 2014 - Dust explosions are always a risk in any wood processing plant, and one that the forest industry takes extremely seriously. In B.C., there were two explosions at sawmills in 2012, and in each explosion, two people were killed and others were injured. These terrible events spurred the creation of a Manufacturers Advisory Group (MAG). It was given the goal of providing the industry with a better understanding of (and improved ability to manage the risks created by) combustible wood dust. The task force was created by the CEOs of BC forest manufacturers representing an estimated 70 per cent of raw wood production in B.C. There were three components to MAG’s mandate. First, members went away and did research into the combustion risks of dust, from both green wood and dry beetle-killed wood. Then, they created best practices for dust mitigation (partly through analyzing what is done in the grain handling industry) and also created an industry-wide auditable standard. “Wood dust has always been recognized as a safety hazard,” says James Gorman, “but what came out of these tragedies and the work that came after, was the recognition by the industry that beetle-killed wood dust has properties that are different than green wood dust.” Gorman is President and CEO of the Council of Forest Industries, which represents most of B.C.’s interior mill operations and was part of the task force creation. “We had the best sawmill safety experts from across the province, and they found that the dust from beetle-killed wood necessitated new dust handling practices and procedures,” Gorman explains. “This unprecedented industry-wide collaboration and the auditable standard led to better dust management through new protocols, better employee training and improvements to existing air filtration systems.” The auditable standard was developed by industry and has been made broadly available by industry and WorkSafe BC (see end of article for link). “It encompasses a mill’s equipment, its systems and all the processes and procedures inside the mill from a dust mitigation perspective,” Gorman notes. “The scope of the audit extends through the entire processing chain, from log delivery into the yard to the time lumber is loaded for shipping out. Action plans and additional follow-ups are included.” In terms of facilitating compliance, MAG has worked collaboratively on this with regulators. “MAG members have demonstrated compliance in their own facilities,” Gorman relays, “and have also worked actively to engage non-members in risk reduction efforts. Many members have also initiated plans to extend these safety enhancements and training to their facilities outside of the province.” MAG received the province’s highest safety honour (the Lieutenant Governor Safety Award) from the B.C. Safety Authority in November, 2013. The awards recognize individuals and organizations who demonstrate exceptional leadership and innovation in the promotion of technical systems safety. Industry commentsCanadian Forest Industries checked with some top companies that make air filtration systems for sawmills to hear about system scope and new developments. In terms of what an air filtration system can accomplish in a mill, Tony Vasilakos, vice president of engineering at Laval, Quebec-based AIREX Industries, says proper dust capture will not only reduce air-borne particulates, but will reduce dust accumulation on sensors and electronics that may cause malfunctioning equipment – which in turn reduces overall maintenance and housekeeping. Brad Carr says dust collection systems in sawmills can capture 90 to 95 per cent of the overall dust produced if there are proper suction pressures, and if the suction hoods are placed correctly. “The five to ten per cent that it can’t get becomes fugitive dust,” explains the president of IES (North Carolina-based Integrated Environmental Solutions). “There is a cost/benefit ratio at work in trying to get that remaining fugitive dust. The cost rises exponentially to try to eliminate that last 10 per cent through filtration.”    He also points out that if you have an open system where you are moving materials with fork trucks and/or assembling materials on a table, filtration becomes impractical.  “You can’t put in a filtration system that would work well enough in these scenarios, and there are a lot of open processes that won’t allow for a hood to be put on them.” There are two basic air filtration options in a mill: central and localized unitary systems, says Carr. “With the central system, you have extensive ductwork throughout the plant,” he notes. “The advantage is that with this approach you have all the waste carried to one point. So it’s collected to one place for removal.” A localized unitary system is used for one piece of equipment or at one process point. “The advantage is that it is less expensive to install because it has less ductwork to install,” Carr notes. “The weakness is that it takes up space on the processing floor and sometimes [building code restrictions won’t allow] you to put it in at all.” Oregon-based Carothers and Sons President Rick Boatwright says the simplest and most efficient dust collection system uses ‘Pulse Jet Technology.’ “[In our system], we use compressed air to clean rows of bags in a predictable manner to offer continuous operation over countless hours,” he says. This ‘smart’ system lets operators know in real time what the system is doing.  Common units include cyclones, cart collectors, shaker baghouses, non-cleaning baghouses and reverse-pulse or reverse-air baghouses. “Each has its advantages, although the unit of choice would be a baghouse with reverse-pulse cleaning due to its high capacity, efficient cleaning and accessibility,” explains Vasilakos. In terms of maintenance, Carr says leaks must be repaired regularly. “There tends to be leaks because the materials that go through the pipes erode the inside of the ductwork,” he notes. “You also have to be diligent to periodically check motors, sensors, dampers, filter media, extinguishers, and actuators.” He also strongly emphasizes the critical importance of pressure checks. “If the filter ductwork is under a positive pressure, then the ductwork will release combustible dust into the room if there is a leak,” he says. “If the filter ductwork is under a negative pressure, then it will lose pressure if there are leaks in the ductwork. This will reduce the suction at the suction hoods, which will cause more fugitive dust to be released into the plant.” Keeping units working properly means regular maintenance, greasing schedules, review of the magnahelic gauge (monitoring the bag accumulation) proper dumping of accumulating bin, and maintaining no water in the compressed air line used for cleaning. Cold weather should not affect air filtration system operations, but any filtered air that is not returned to the plant will increase the amount of outside air that needs to be heated, which will increase the cost of heating the plant. If exhaust air can be returned back into the building, this will save on heating costs.  ”If you can, you need to capture dust at the point it is generated as long as it is fiscally practical,” Carr concludes. “The energy, capital and ongoing services required for a filtration system is a legitimate cost of doing business.”  

Industry news

Electronics on paper opens market

Sept. 22, 2014 - Professor Magnus Berggren's research enables electronics like sensors, displays and antennas to be printed on paper and cardboard, opening up a new, gigantic global market for forest industry products. Today, his pioneering research will be acknowledged when the Swedish King awards him the Marcus Wallenberg Prize in Stockholm. The best-before date printed on the milk carton you left out on the table changes. A package from the freezer tells you that the content is defrosted. Pick up the muesli packet, and you receive a warning via your mobile phone that it contains nuts. And use a simple, cheap, recyclable strip of paper to check whether your sore throat is caused by bacteria. All of these are examples of how electronics printed on paper can simplify your everyday life in the future. A new gigantic market for paperIn combination with small batteries and antennas, which can also be printed on paper and cardboard, we will soon be connecting up to a large number of everyday items around us, and communicating with them. Simple memories and sensors can be printed cheaply, quickly and in large quantities. Market assessors believe that the number of devices that will be connected to the Internet within ten years will be 5-10 trillion, compared with today's figure of approximately 15 billion. Here Magnus Berggren's work will generate a major opening for paper and cardboard, with a new huge global market. Pioneering work acknowledgedMagnus Berggren is being acknowledged for his contributions to fundamental research and a number of applications of electronics on paper. For example, he has developed ion-based electrochemical transistors that work at low voltage and are simple to print on even relatively raw surfaces like paper. Simple medical diagnosis for home useUsing the same basic technology, Magnus Berggren has also developed organic bioelectronics – components that enable communication between biological systems (ions) and electronics (electrons) – for use in medicine and diagnostics. They can also be used in the home as an aid to health care and, as they are printed on paper, they can be recycled after use. Magnus Berggren is professor in organic electronics at Linköping University and leads a group of 35 researchers, while also establishing close collaboration with the research institute, Acreo Swedish ICT. Magnus Berggren is involved in 28 patents and has written more than 80 papers and articles presented at research conferences and published in scientific journals, including Science and Nature. Read the entire motivation for the award at www.mwp.org.

Ontario should blow its horn

Sept. 18, 2014 – Ontario wood industry experts met last night in Burlington for a social evening of chatting and problem solving over drinks and appetisers. The biggest problem on the table was the need to build a bigger tribe of forestry professionals. Yuill McGregor, from North on Sixty and a member of the Ontario Wood Products Association recently returned from BC Wood's Global Buyers Mission where he was blown away by the popular event. He wanted to know why Ontario doesn't have a similar event, even on a smaller scale. "The Ontario Wood Export Association, we're got something like 35 members but BC Wood's got maybe only 100 members," said McGregor. "So it's not a big gulf." McGregor pointed out that there's a lot of greatness in Ontario wood products that isn't currently being showcased to the world. "Ontario wood should start to flex its muscles. Are we happy with where we are? It's the status quo. We could certainly be doing better." Many of the attendees agreed that there hasn't been much promotion of Ontario products but that social events that bring manufacturers together with suppliers and customers can only be good for the industry and help attendees build their businesses. "This is more of a not-for-profit, relaxed atmosphere that's good for the industry," said one attendee comparing it to other venues he's attended as a supplier to the industry. The people in attendance agreed that they would promote the event to help build the industry's resources and partnerships. But even as it was, the group of around 15 manufacturers and suppliers was engaged and committed. Organized and funded by FPInnovations, the social networking group meets once a month at a restaurant in Burlington (next meeting will be on October 22). Attendance is free and open to anyone in the industry, anyone who wants to be in the industry or even who just has a general interest in wood products. The idea is for people to get to gether to find common ground and solve problems but the group has a lot of potential to grow as demand for wood products grows too. Alain Albert is the one who hatched the idea and found backing through FPInnovations to set the wheels in motion. He sees it as a place where customers can meet new suppliers and people can pool resources. In an industry where one tree can provide the fibre and fuel for many end products, it just makes sense for people to work together. "For some reason, the manufacturing crowd here, they're not into joining forces, going out," says Albert. "What we need to do as a group, is to try to make sure that everytime we come out, we drag somebody with us," said McGregor. "And I'm making a commitment right now to do that because what we need to do is we need to build our brand." If you have an interest in Ontario's wood, find out more at wisnet.ca.

China real estate industry update

Sept. 16, 2014 - According to a new report released by National Bureau of Statistics, the total investment in China's real estate development in the first seven months of 2014 was over US$800 billion (5.04 trillion RMB), a nominal increase of 13.7% year-over-year. The investment in residential buildings was over US$545 billion, up 13.3% year-over-year, and it accounted for 68.2% of China's real estate development investment. With a trend of falling prices, this has already attracted some bargain hunters into the market. Government policies on the real estate industry are being gradually loosened to try and prevent a housing market collapse. So far, more than 37 cities have lifted restrictions on purchase restrictions, although eight of larger cities still have kept the purchase restrictions as these markets are still overheated. Also, some commercial banks have re-started preferential interest rates for first-time buyers. Relaxed credit policy will have a direct and positive impact on many property markets. All of these efforts are designed to prop up the sagging real estate market in China, even though it may already be over-priced relative to what many potential buyers can afford to pay. The full report is available through www.woodmarkets.com.

New Senior Economist at RISI

Sept. 16, 2014, Boston - RISI has added Senior International Timber Economist John Turland, to its wood products and timber economic analysis group. Turland comes to RISI from Greenwood Resources Inc., where he most recently held the position of Director of Resource Planning & Analysis. John has over 25 years of experience in the forestry sector, including roles in China, Australia, New Zealand, SE Asia, Fiji, Brazil, Poland and the United States. In his new role, John will work with current Director of International Timber, Bob Flynn, to expand and enhance RISI's International Timber services and offerings. "We are delighted to welcome John to RISI. His wealth of timber economic analysis, forecasting and modeling, along with the extensive experience living in working in some key international timberland markets makes him a perfect fit," said Dan Blenk, Director Wood & Timber Economic Analysis, RISI. "More and more of our clients are looking into, or already are investing heavily into international timber markets, bringing John onto the team really underscores RISI's continued focus and investment in this market," continued Blenk. "I'm pleased to join the RISI International Timber team at a dynamic time as the forest products trade emerges from the global recessionary conditions, and as the level of international timberland investment rapidly increases and diversifies into new investment zones," stated Turland. He continued, "I hope to draw on my forestry investment and management experience to provide additional insight on drivers in timber pricing and the patterns of supply, demand and trade of various timber products." Turland began his forestry career in 1988 at the New Zealand Ministry of Forestry as a forestry analyst. John has also held roles at Forestry Corporation NSW (formerly State Forests of NSW), Poyry, Rayonier New Zealand, World Forestry Institute, Washington State Department of Natural Resources and Greenwood Resources. He holds both a Bachelors and a Masters of Forestry Sciences from the University of Canterbury New Zealand, as well as a Bachelors of Applied Economics from Massey University New Zealand.

Wood Panels

Ainsworth election results

Aug. 14, 2014 - Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. announced the results from its 2014 annual general meeting of shareholders held on August 12, 2014. All of the eight nominees listed in the Corporation's Management Proxy Circular dated July 3, 2014 proposed by management for election to the board of directors at the Meeting were elected to the board. The directors will remain in office until the next annual meeting of shareholders or until their successors are elected or appointed. The results of the vote on the election of the directors are as follows:                                 Votes in Favour                           Votes WithheldName                         #               %                           #                %---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Robert Chadwick   180,106,039   94.74                  9,997,575      5.26Paul Gagne           190,054,174   99.97                      49,440       0.03Peter Gordon        189,052,368   99.45                  1,051,246      0.55Paul Houston        190,053,174   99.97                       50,440      0.03John Lacey           189,990,074   99.94                     113,540      0.06Jim Lake               189,146,915   99.50                     956,699      0.50Gordon Lancaster 190,053,174   99.97                       50,440      0.03Pierre McNeil        189,052,515   99.45                  1,051,099      0.55

Ainsworth remains optimistic

Aug. 13, 2014, Vancouver – Ainsworth Lumber announced higher shipment volumes and a reduction in unit costs in its Q2 financial results. Ainsworth President and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Lake said, "North American OSB market conditions were relatively weak as the spring building season did not materialize as anticipated. North American benchmark OSB prices were stable relative to the prior quarter, although they were nearly 40% or U.S.$130/msf lower than the second quarter of 2013. Despite the slower pace of housing growth in the near-term, we are optimistic about the longer-term recovery and continued absorption of industry supply. The recent slower market environment in North America does highlight the strategic importance of our traditional export market in Japan as well as the progress we are making in markets such as China for new applications of OSB." Financial Results Sales of $117.4 million in the second quarter of 2014 were $10.1 million lower than sales of $127.5 million for the same period in 2013. The decrease in sales was mainly due to a 24% decrease in realized pricing. The impact of the U.S. benchmark declines on our realized pricing was moderated by the effect of a weaker Canadian dollar relative to the second quarter of 2013 and more stable export pricing in Japan, combined with a 21% increase in sales volumes due to additional production from High Level. In the first half of 2014, sales were $225.2 million compared to $269.3 million in the same period of 2013. The $44.1 million decrease was related to a 25% decrease in realized pricing, partially offset by an 11% increase in sales volumes and the same factors noted above. The increase in volume from High Level was partially offset by transportation issues that limited shipments during the first quarter of 2014. Adjusted EBITDA was $13.1 million in the second quarter of 2014 compared to $50.7 million in the same period of 2013, largely as a result of lower realized pricing. Notwithstanding the significant reduction in gross profit, net income from continuing operations in the second quarter of 2014 was $9.5 million higher than the prior year. This increase was largely due to fluctuations in non-cash accounting gains and losses and income tax expense combined with decreased selling and administration expense. Adjusted EBITDA for the first half of 2014 was $23.3 million compared to $113.2 million in 2013, due mainly to lower realized pricing. Net loss from continuing operations in the first six months of 2014 was $2.2 million, compared to net income of $39.3 million for the same period in 2013, representing a decrease of $41.5 million. The decrease reflected lower gross profit, partially offset by fluctuations in non-cash accounting gains and losses and income tax expense. Margins Adjusted EBITDA margin on sales for the second quarter of 2014 was 11.2% compared to 39.8% in the same period of 2013 (10.3% in the first half of 2014 compared to 42.0% in the same period of 2013). The decreases were largely related to lower realized pricing in North America. Benchmark OSB pricing remained stable during the second quarter of 2014, although down significantly from the same periods last year, with North Central and Western Canadian pricing for 7/16" OSB averaging U.S.$219 and U.S. $206 per msf, respectively, representing a decrease of 37% versus the second quarter of 2013. Sequentially, the North Central benchmark price remained flat, while the Western Canadian benchmark price decreased 6% versus the prior quarter. Liquidity At June 30, 2014, Ainsworth's available liquidity, consisting of cash and cash equivalents, was $103.2 million, a reduction of $34.2 million since December 31, 2013 resulting from our seasonal log inventory build, semi-annual interest payment and capital expenditures, combined with the timing of accounts receivable and accounts payable. Outlook While the pace of improvement has been slower than previously expected, we remain optimistic about the medium to long-term outlook as U.S. housing starts recover to more historical levels. Additionally, we continue to experience growth and stable pricing in our traditional export market of Japan. We are also continuing to advance our opportunities in export markets such as China for new applications of OSB. The restart of our High Level mill will allow us to meet the growing requirements of our existing North American and export customers as well as service new market segments over the longer term.

Remanufacturing

Briquettes get a boost in Maritimes

Sept. 9, 2014 – Lewis Mouldings and Wood Specialities Ltd. received $430,500 from the federal and provincial governments to boost its wood briquette production, according to the Chrionical Herald. The family business based in Weymouth, Nova Scotia launched Fiber Fuel to make wood briquettes using residual sawdust and chips from its wood trim business in 2008. The company has not been able to keep up with demand for the fuel. The new funding will help the company add a second wood fibre compressing machine and a biomass dryer, which should be up and running in November. The new equipment is expected to boost the company's briquette production by 400 per cent. The briquette business will take over the extra waste wood that was formerly consumed by the Resolute Forest Products' Queens County paper mill that closed in 2012. For more information, go to http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1234854-lewis-mouldings-gets-cash-for-wood-waste-fuel-business

Moulding bull market rally

Aug. 13, 2014 - A wave of demand is coming and so are higher prices, concludes Peter Butzelaar the Vice President of International Wood Markets Group in his U.S. Clear Pine Lumber and Moulding Market Outlook: 2014-2018.  After enduring four years of declining demand of epic proportions, underlying demand is beginning to re-emerge. "Although not the strong start the industry was anticipating for 2014, the results in the second half of this year should build on the demand gains made in 2013," comments co-author Russell Taylor. WOOD MARKETS is projecting U.S. housing starts to surpass 1 million starts in 2014 followed by an additional 125,000 starts in 2015. As the labour market and income levels improves, housing demand will see accelerating growth as will residential repair and remodelling (R&R) - the two main drivers of moulding demand. However, due to mill closures, supply chain consolidation, and limited supplies of domestic clear pine fiber, traditional moulding supply in North America is forecast to struggle to keep up with demand. For more information on the report, go to www.woodmarkets.com.

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