North American and global softwood lumber markets are forecast to continue expanding in 2014, but at a slower rate than was previously forecast.
There’s no rest for the wicked, or apparently forestry entrepreneurs. The forestry legend came out of retirement to reopen the sawmill in White River.
Cats, both domestic pets and feral cats play a "starring role" with about 70% of total mortality to their credit.
Pulp mills and sawmills in Latin America had among the lowest wood costs in the world in the 2Q/13, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly.
Foothills Forest Products invests to capture more value and cut trim loss in half.
Foothills planer line...
Foothills planer line
Faller training - undercuts...
Faller training - undercuts
Welcome home to forestry...
Welcome home to forestry
CFI tests chainsaw...
CFI tests chainsaw
Dec. 9, 2013, Ottawa - Following the recent detection of Asian long-horned beetle in an industrial area near Pearson International Airport, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has established a regulated area in Mississauga and Toronto as part of its plans to eliminate the pest. The Agency is cooperating with other authorities including the City of Mississauga, the City of Toronto, and the City of Brampton, as well as, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Natural Resources Canada to determine next steps. The regulated area includes the region bordered in the north by Finch, in the east by Martin Grove: in the south by Highway 401 and in the west Dixie; an area of approximately 20 square kilometres. With the regulation of this area, there are now restrictions on the movement of nursery stock, trees, logs, lumber, wood, wood chips and bark chips from certain deciduous trees identified as hosts of the ALHB. and firewood of all species. Unless authorized by a Movement Certificate issued by the CFIA, the movement of these items out of the regulated area is prohibited. These restrictions are necessary to prevent the spread of the ALHB. Moving firewood or other restricted wood products, even just a few kilometres, is a common way for invasive insects and diseases to spread. Any person who fails to adhere to the movement restrictions may be subject to a fine, prosecution or both. The beetle, which is native to Asia, attacks and kills healthy deciduous trees, especially maple. Their larvae feed within the trunk and branches of trees and eventually fill the trees with holes, causing the trees to die. Adult beetles feed on the leaves, bark and branch tips. Additional information is available on the CFIA website at www.inspection.gc.ca/pests.
Dec. 9, 2013 - A couple months ago, Canadian Forest Industries had the opportunity to accompany Réjean Girard and his sons, logging contractors, to Finland for a ceremony to celebrate Ponsse’s 9,000th forest machine and the launch of the company’s newest harvester for the North American market (for the full article, go to page 10). It was an exciting opportunity to have a seat in a Scorpion harvester as it sliced through a well-manicured hill of trees leaving neatly stacked logs in its wake. A forwarder followed, climbing effortlessly over mounds of tree limbs and loading the logs into the trailer bound for the roadside. At the headquarters, we met the Vidgrén family. Einari Vidgrén was born on a farm in Northern Finland in 1943. After the Second World War, when Finland won its independence, the country needed its young people to harvest the wood in the Northern forests to rebuild the country. Einari wanted to build a machine that would be able to withstand the gruelling conditions the loggers worked in. He and his friend, Erkki Tarvainen built the first Ponsse machine together – a machine that is still on display at the Vidgrén family farm. We toured the modern Ponsse factory in Northern Finland and then visited a Finnish logging site to watch the machines in use. But the event that was the most eye opening was a visit to a small vocational high school in Kuopio that has a partnership with the company. The forest machine manufacturer and the forestry school have joined in an effort to educate the next generation of foresters. In 2012, Ponsse was looking for some space in which to hold a workshop that would be close to both the factory and its local customers. A local forestry school had plenty of space and was willing to come up with an arrangement well suited to the company. Ponsse opened the workshop and now has two professional mechanics working there full time to service local machines. The students work alongside the professional mechanics both in the workshop and in the field. “For the school, the arrangement gives benefits in terms of quality of instruction and learning – working with real machines enhances learning,” explains Paula Oksman, the HR director at Ponsse. Housing the professional workshop has other advantages for the school as well; the partnership enhances its image within the industry and provides additional funding for the programs. But the greatest advantage that comes from working so closely with an educational facility is that the graduates have much more experience with the machines themselves. These students have worked side by side with professional mechanics on the Ponsse equipment. They have harvested in the local forest on the company’s machines. Their experiences have provided direct feedback to the company and vice versa. As I listened to the teacher present the history of the school and their vision for the future, a mechanic worked quietly in the background. Before long, a group of teenage boys had entered the workshop, milling around and waiting for their next class to begin. As young and inexperienced as they appeared, they represent something that Finland has managed to capture and that continues to evade us in Canada: a generation of skilled workers who have chosen to work in forestry. We have a well-documented skills shortage in Canada. As we visit sawmills across the country, we’re told how difficult it is to recruit people whose skills are transferable to other industries. Many have left during the downturn and aren’t looking to come back. What is required now is an investment in the next generation of skilled workers – this investment may require some out-of-the-box thinking to convince them to choose a career in forestry. Amie Silverwood, Editor
Dec. 9, 2013 - There’s no rest for the wicked, or apparently forestry entrepreneurs. Forestry legend Frank Dottori admits that when he gave up the reins at Tembec eight years ago for a consulting gig, the plan was not to fade into semi-retirement. Still, he didn’t expect to own and operate a large sawmill either. Yet when the group he was advising stepped away from a negotiation to restart a sawmill in White River, he found himself stepping in and taking over the agreement. Canadian Forest Industries caught up with him at the White River Forest Products sawmill, where he explains why restarting a mill that has been closed for seven years is challenging even for the most experienced forestry entrepreneur. Dottori first looked into the White River sawmill (located in Northern Ontario halfway between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie) when he was the president of Tembec. In early 2000, the company was considering merging with Domtar to create one big forestry company, so he had carefully considered all of its assets. “In this business, you’ve either got to be small and a specialist or you’ve got to be big enough that there aren’t too many sharks that are going to bite you,” he says in explaining the proposed merger. From that research he knew that the White River sawmill had the second highest profit margin among Domtar mills. A solid log supply close to the mill was among the assets the mill enjoyed. With a plan in place to restart the mill, and as the area forest had been untouched in over five years, the mill was granted an annual harvest of 620,000 cubic metres. Dottori notes this is a good volume, plus he expects to be able to buy another 200,000 cubic metres on the open market, if necessary. The fact that these reasonably large logs are typically within 100 kilometres of the mill is a bonus. “When you’ve got a sawmill, that’s the first thing you look at, you’d better have a good wood supply. If you have an oil refinery, you’d better have a good oil supply. So this has got a good wood supply,” he notes. On the downside, the mill had been shut down for seven years, suffered from significant design and equipment inefficiencies, and had a few other problematic details to be sorted out. Chief among these was securing reliable customers for the mill’s chips. The sawmill’s two chip customers, pulp mills in Terrace Bay and Red Rock, had shut down, leaving the sawmill without a market. “You can’t run a sawmill unless you have somewhere to sell your chips,” explains Dottori. “Technically, the mill had no choice but to shut down.” The pulp mill in Terrace Bay was reopened in 2012 after Frank Dottori, as chairman of AV Terrace Bay Inc., purchased it from Terrace Bay Pulp. With the chip sales secured by this hungry customer, the sawmill’s prospects were drastically improved. With a good supply of wood, customers for the chips and the price of lumber climbing, the sawmill had the three of the four key components required to run a profitable mill. Financing was the next big hurdle. Dottori shows some frustration when discussing financing options available to today’s forest sector. “Basically there aren’t any. The banks won’t touch you until you don’t need the money. We explored options, but basically the project is self-financed.” In other words, The Bank of Frank. As a result, getting the mill started and up to speed is critical to any short- and mid-term modernization plans. “Going forward, we know how to make it a low-cost mill but the question was can we find the money to do it? The first thing you’ve got to do is start it,” says Dottori, adding that expansion or modernization investments will likely be coming from cash flow. Restarting the millAlthough the mill had been shuttered for years, that did not discourage Dottori from jumping in. When he walked through the closed mill, his experienced eye didn’t locate any red flags or immediate hurdles to production. “This is a really nice mill,” he said to himself. “It’s big, maybe a little bit too big.” But he thought it had a lot of potential. The logs currently enter the mill precut to either eight- or 16-foot lengths, although once the existing slasher deck is rebuilt that will change. At that point 40 per cent of the wood that comes into the yard will be pre-slashed, with the slasher able to handle the rest. For now, the mill buys primarily tree-length wood that is gang slashed into whatever length the market requires. After slashing and debarking on Nicholson and Cambio debarkers, logs are sent to feed bins for the three saw lines. There’s the Optimil Pee-Wee line, which can take up to 10 inches in diameter in eight- to 16-foot lengths. There’s also an Optimil large-log canter that can take logs that are up to 30 inches in diameter (which are usually white spruce) and 10- to 16-foot lengths. Cants go to an inline a bull edger, with boards managed on a board edger with side chipping heads. Edging is one of the mill’s bottlenecks he expects to be upgraded in time. Smaller logs are processed on a HewSaw line, which runs logs that are up to 12 inches in diameter at eight-foot lengths. This line has been extensively upgraded since the mill opened, including new optimization equipment from HewSaw partner ProLogic+. The line has started producing this fall. Dottori says the machinery suppliers have been very accommodating in helping him get the mill running. “HewSaw came to the table with solutions and payment terms that fit our needs, and others like Samuel Strapping have been great to work with in getting equipment running or running better. Basically they ask what do you need to get running, how can we help, and the work gets done – that’s customer service.” Next the lumber travels through the 35-bin sorter, which should handle around 120 pieces of wood per minute but maxes out at 105 before it starts to clog and cause problems. It will be upgraded. The mill has three dryers: two inside the building and one outside. The planer mill is massive, running a relatively new Coastal planer that Dottori says is a good machine. White River has also purchased a new VAB planer optimizer, which will be in operation this fall. Widening bottlenecksLooking ahead, there are a few kinks in the sawmill’s logistics that need to be ironed out. Dottori explains that when the HewSaw line was added, the downstream flow was not able to handle the extra production. The added capacity the second line provides slows to a bottleneck in the sorter. The problem was that the sorter could handle only 100 pieces per minute, regardless of their size and length. It was made for 16-foot logs. When the HewSaw line was added to produce eight-foot lumber, the volume of lumber off that line was half that per piece compared to the random lines. But after making a million-dollar investment in lumber-handling gear, Dottori expects to have solved the bottleneck issue. “Now, we’ve got to run the mill differently,” he says, explaining the mill’s logistics. “We could run the HewSaw and one other line – not all three lines. When you run three, you choke the sorters. So we’ve got to run it according to the wood mix. Small wood, we’ll run the HewSaw; when we’ve got big wood, we run the big lines.” Dottori plans to upgrade the older large canter line to improve recovery. It’s currently at 5.2 cubic metres/1,000 board-feet, but his objective is to eventually get it down to around 4 cubic metres/1,000 board-feet or less. His current focus, however, is on restarting the mill and making it profitable by year end. Trends in lumber pricing are helping on that front. The startup hasn’t gone without challenges, however, since much of the software has stopped working and some suppliers no longer exist. Also, after years of being shut off in the mill, much of the programming no longer exists. Jumping quartilesDottori plans to invest around $15 million over the next couple of years to fix the mill’s logistics, ease the sorter bottleneck, and upgrade some of the equipment, such as debarkers and scanners. He is also looking at adding a millyard slasher and sorter system to sort the logs by size before they are carried into the mill by a side entry deck. This would clean up some of the debris that litters the mill and jams the conveyers, allow for a more efficient system, and increase the mill’s capacity. He has engineering firms looking into other options as well. Overall, the goal is to move the mill up into the next quartile for operating efficiency and unit costs. So far, the forestry mogul is pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the reopening has been to this point. The team managed to attain 270,000 board-feet/day in November on one 10-hour shift. The long-term plan is to produce 300,000 board-feet per 8-hour shift running two lines, or 120 million board-feet/year by April. “At the rate it’s going,” Dottori muses, “we’ll probably be there a lot faster than we anticipate. I’ve got to watch I don’t get too excited about these things.”
Dec. 3, 2013, Vancouver - Canfor Corporation will proceed with capital investments totaling approximately $36 million to improve efficiency and recovery in its Houston, British Columbia sawmill. The investment will include upgrades to primary and secondary breakdown lines and advancements in scanning and optimization technology. "Our newly-strengthened fibre position in the Houston region allows us to proceed with this significant investment," said Canfor Corporation President and CEO Don Kayne. "These capital improvements are designed to ensure we are able to operate a world-class facility in Houston for the long term, in all market conditions." Canfor Corporation recently announced a fibre exchange agreement with West Fraser Mills Ltd. which, when concluded, will see the Company add approximately 324,500 cubic metres of replaceable forest licence allowable annual cut in the Morice Timber Supply Area. Since 2010, the Company has invested more than $650 million in modernizing its British Columbia lumber, pulp and paper mills.
Dec 9, 2013 - Wood Resources International and the Western Forestry and Conservation Association are organizing a conference on January 23, 2014 titled: "Mapping the Course – Timberlands, Forest Products Processing and Energy Issues for 2014." The conference will be held at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, WA, located close to Portland, Oregons's airport. Please join us for this one-day conference for in-depth discussions and analysis on forest products market challenges, opportunities, threats and issues in Western North America for 2014 and beyond. Industry experts and analysts from the US and Canada will address topics such as: - Strategic issues for timberland owners in 2014. - Where will the wood come from? Timber supply in the US Northwest and beyond. - Perspectives from the paper, lumber and biomass sectors in Western North America. - Looking ahead: Issues in the pellet sector. - Evolving lumber economics and wood quality in British Columbia. - Navigating the export landscape: China in 2014 and beyond. - Follow the money: Investor strategies in the timberlands, processing and energy sectors. - Global market drivers affecting Western US and Western Canada. For the full program and to register, please go to the Western Forest Industry Conference 2014. If you have any questions, please contact either Richard Zabel at WFCA (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tim Gammell at WRI (email@example.com).
Dec. 6, 2013, Toronto - To adapt to Canada's constantly changing construction landscape, industry is seeking safer, more energy-efficient and affordable construction materials and technologies, as well as more effective decision-making tools. In response, the National Research Council of Canada launched new research programs to help the construction industry develop, validate and facilitate the market adoption of new products and systems. "Canada is on track to become one of the largest urbanization markets in the world by 2020," said Dr. Morad Atif, General Manager of the Construction portfolio at the National Research Council, to manufacturers, builders, building owners and engineering firms at Construct Canada in Toronto. "At NRC, we provide an agile business environment and research and technology-based solutions to address the industry's specific needs for high performance buildings and infrastructure." Among other initiatives, the new research programs will make it possible to construct economical and safe 5- to 12-storey wood buildings. The National Research Council plays a leading role in the development and deployment of building regulations and building product evaluations. One of the new programs will increase market access and intensify collaboration with provinces, territories and industry to facilitate the implementation of regulations resulting from the National Model Construction Codes. Efforts are focused around client-driven research and development, and demonstration and validation projects. Clients and collaborators have access to multi-disciplinary technical expertise, product evaluation services and state-of-the-art national laboratories. Mid-Rise Wood Buildings The National Research Council is partnering with construction product manufacturers and building owners to develop technologies in order to support an increasing demand for wood buildings between 5 and 12-storey in height. NRC will provide clients with technical solutions to create wood-based construction products with improved durability, fire safety, acoustic performance, cost-effectiveness, and speed of construction. For more information, go to http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/solutions/collaborative/mrwb.html
Dec. 3, 2013, Ottawa – Students from across the country have won a Green Dream Internship summer job after participating in a social media contest organized by FPAC. The Green Dream Internship social media contest invited students to apply for a four month paid summer 2014 position with one of nine leading forest product companies. Students had to submit their application online and solicit Facebook votes in order to gain an interview for the job of a lifetime. FPAC set up the contest through TheGreenestWorkforce.ca, an online resource tool that provides information on the dynamic direction of the forest products industry and career opportunities on offer right across the country. "Under Vision2020, the forest products industry has a goal of recruiting at least 60,000 new employees by the end of the decade," says the President and CEO of FPAC, David Lindsay. "There is no better way to reach young people than by engaging them through social media. We received a significant number of high caliber applications from students all across the country. It was gratifying to see the passion and dedication many of the students have for the industry, and we are confident about attracting the quality talent needed to join our industry now, and in the future." All of the 18 interns will receive an iPad mini and will be required to blog about their experience in the forest sector for the Greenestworkforce.ca website. This is the second time the Green Dream Internship contest has been held. The first group of eight interns completed their paid summer internship placements in the forest industry in August 2013, and blogged about their experience. Their blogs can be read at: http://thegreenestworkforce.ca/index.php/blog/ "We invite all Canadians to visit the GreenestWorkforce.ca website to see the exciting direction of the forest products industry and to apply for career opportunities now available," says Lindsay. The winning candidates: AV Group: Chemical Engineer, Atholville, NB - Winner: Ahmed Ahmed, Toronto, ONCanfor: Electronics Engineer, Mackenzie, BC - Winner: Chris Hill, Millgrove, ONCanfor: Mechanical Engineer, Bear Lake, Prince George, BC - Winner: Kevin Lee, Oakville, ONMillar Western: Environmental or Chemical Engineer, Whitecourt, AB - Winner: Elizabeth Tice, Markham, ONMillar Western: Woodlands Operations and Roads, Whitecourt, AB - Winner: Kyle Rosychuk, Edmonton, ABMillar Western: Silviculture Assistant, Whitecourt, AB - Winner: Emily Harten, Sault Ste Marie, ONTembec: Forestry Intern, Chapleau/Timmins, ON - Winner: Chantel Spicer, Nanaimo, BCTolko: Human Resources Intern, Vernon, BC - Winner: Jeremy Woo, Vernon, BCWest Fraser: Chemical Engineer, Slave Lake, AB - Winner Navjot Sanopal, Surrey, BCWeyerhaeuser: Timberlands Forestry Intern, Grande Prairie, AB - Winner: Brooke MacKenzie, Inverhuron, ONWeyerhaeuser: Timberlands Forestry Intern, Princeton, BC - Winner: Riley Finn, Vancouver, BC Companies are still conducting interviews on a few positions due to the high number of excellent candidates! FPAC will post the other selected students to TheGreenestWorkforce.ca Facebook page in the coming days.
Dec. 3, 2013, Montreal - FPInnovations has joined efforts with the Collège communautaire du Nouveau Brunswick, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the New Brunswick Economic Development Dept. to stimulate wood products development and commercialization in the province. For more information, go to http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Innovations+hooks+with+college+develop+forestry+program/9236716/story.html
Dec. 10, 2013 - North American and global softwood lumber markets are forecast to continue expanding in 2014, but at a slower rate than was previously forecast. The rapid expansion of North American lumber demand and an imbalanced supply chain that occurred in the second half of 2012 and first quarter of 2013 became more balanced (but still somewhat volatile) for the remainder of 2013, allowing supply to catch up and prices to moderate (but still at favourable levels). With the uncertainty surrounding the U.S. government shutdown in October, and the potential of a second shutdown in January 2014, the U.S. economic recovery continues to be more of a wildcard. A lumber market super-cycle, in which demand overwhelms supply and prices soar, is still expected; but is now projected for later in the forecast. Nevertheless, tightening supply side dynamics in North America still dominate the five-year outlook. "Recent announcements of mountain pine beetle-related mill closures in the B.C. Interior and North American companies' continued export expansions into Asia have shone a spotlight on the dynamics of the evolving business environment for wood producers," explained Russell Taylor, President. "Over the next few years, the timber supply base will continue to tighten across North America and will continue to do so until the end of the decade." While the demand for lumber and panels from the U.S. housing industry is steadily increasing, lumber and panel producers in 2013 increased output at a slightly higher rate than overall demand, causing prices to retreat for three months starting in 2013/Q2 and later at the end of the year. "Although the lumber and panel industries have room to expand output over the next two years," said Taylor, "by about 2016, steadily rising demand (led by U.S. housing starts) is expected to absorb all of the available output, leading to supply chain shocks that should create substantial and sustained price increases, including record-level lumber prices." There will continue to be price volatility as more limited and higher cost capacity is added and/or more expensive imports increase in 2016 and beyond.
Nov. 21, 2013, Vancouver - Ainsworth and Louisiana-Pacific ("LP") have each received a request for additional information from the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") in connection with the previously announced plan of arrangement involving the proposed acquisition by LP of all the outstanding common shares of Ainsworth. The effect of the second request is to extend the waiting period imposed by the HSR Act until 30 days after Ainsworth and LP have substantially complied with the second request, unless that period is extended voluntarily by the companies or terminated earlier by the DOJ. Ainsworth will continue to cooperate with the DOJ as it conducts its review of the proposed arrangement. The closing of the arrangement remains subject to a number of conditions, including the expiration or termination of the waiting period under the HSR Act and the receipt of other regulatory approvals and clearances including under the Canadian Competition Act. Subject to obtaining required regulatory approvals and clearances and the satisfaction or waiver of other closing conditions, it is now anticipated that the arrangement will be completed during the first quarter of 2014.
Dec. 10, 2013 - Boise Cascade's Oregon EWP facility is one of the largest laminated veneer lumber (LVL) and I-joist manufacturing plants in the world, and must meet the needs of over 60 dealers across North America. Unfortunately, their existing single bander configuration could not process product as quickly as it was being delivered. This resulted in a bottleneck that slowed down operations. As it turns out, Samuel Strapping Systems had previously outfitted one of the White City plant's sister mills in New Brunswick, Canada. Armed with this previous experience, Boise Cascade approached Samuel Strapping Systems and asked them to provide a solution. In response, Samuel Strapping Systems offered a top-sealing strapping machine set up with a VK30 polyester strap head and a CD12SJ powered dispenser, which was installed on the same production line as another brand of strapping machine. When asked about the performance of the Samuel Strapping bander, Dennis Ekstrand, Manager of EWP Maintenance and Construction, said, "after we put the bander in with the second bander, we reduced our cycle time by approximately 33 per cent. Additionally, the [Samuel Strapping] cycle rate exceeds the cycle rate of the other brand." Boise Cascade EWP took a great risk in bringing Samuel Strapping Systems in, considering that Boise now had to deal with a completely new set of spare parts for a totally different brand of strapping machine. But that risk has paid off. "We put the numbers together and it looks like the ROI is under two years," Dennis says. "I've followed the life cycle of that [New Brunswick] strapper, and the life cycle is very good. Very low maintenance, real reliable, and a quick cycle rate." When asked what the White City plant's next step would be, Dennis said, "I've asked for potential capital in 2014 for another strapper, so I can take advantage of the [Samuel Strapping machine's] higher cycle rate." This additional investment should increase the cycle time even more, while also improving the overall uptime of the plant's strapping line. Boise Cascade is a large, vertically integrated wood products manufacturer and wholesale distributor of wood products and other building materials with widespread operations in the United States and Canada. The company is headquartered in Boise, Idaho. Boise Cascade Engineered Wood Products manufactures and markets engineered wood products, which are building products with improved structural characteristics and use our forests more efficiently.Samuel Strapping Systems is one of Canada's leading suppliers of industrial packaging supplies and solutions. Their products cover multiple industries, including the forestry, metals, container, and print, and feature a full range of packaging solutions such as strapping, stretch wrapping, coding and labeling, and baling.
Dec. 2, 2013 - An American store that sells discount hardwood flooring, Lumber Liquidators is the subeject of a class-action lawsuit filed by one of its shareholders. The lawsuit accuses company executives of making false and misleading statements about the sourcing of its wood products. Lumber Liquidators, based in Toano, has been under investigation by federal authorities on suspicion of importing illegally logged wood products from Russia, through China, as well as importing wood flooring tainted with excess formaldehyde, the suit says.