March 15, 2018 - Norbord Inc. announced today that a shortage of wood will cause it to temporarily suspend production at its oriented strand board (OSB) mill in 100 Mile House, British Columbia.  Norbord currently expects the suspension to commence on or about May 14, 2018 and to continue for approximately one month.

The significant wildfires that the province of British Columbia experienced in the summer of 2017 seriously damaged logging areas surrounding the 100 Mile House mill.  Further, the severe weather conditions this winter have limited loggers' ability to access the forests during the months when the mill typically builds its annual log inventory. Combined, these extraordinary circumstances have impacted Norbord's ability to secure a sufficient wood supply to operate the mill on a continuous basis during this one-month period.

Norbord will continue to supply its customers with production from its other OSB mills and the 100 Mile House mill will continue to receive log deliveries during this period. The Company currently estimates that the curtailment will negatively impact its second quarter 2018 financial results by approximately US$5 million.

The 100 Mile House mill has a stated annual production capacity of 440 million square feet (3/8-inch basis).
March 13, 2018 - The re-opening of the sawmill in White River, Ont., was one of the lumber industry’s rare “good news” stories of 2013. Shuttered six years earlier, the town’s population had dwindled to nearly half its size from the 1990s. Then numbering about 600 residents, the Township of White River and the nearby Pic Mobert First Nation joined forces to create White River Forest Products LP (WRFP). Led by CEO Frank Dottori, the renowned founder of Canadian forestry giant Tembec, the new venture invested heavily in restoring the site and creating a new model of efficiency in Ontario’s north.

The centerpiece of the new mill is the new saw line and the infeed deck with the new debarker. Equipped with 14 scanners to achieve dramatic improvements in the mill’s yield from every tree, the new saw line can out-produce all three of White River’s previous lines put together. The next challenge was to match that efficiency in the yard’s loading capability. For that task, WRFP has turned to Sennebogen 830 M-T purpose-built material handlers.

Robert Acs, the yard manager at WRFP, recalls the effort to move wood as fast as the saw can process it. “We acquired some older equipment with the assets we purchased. We tried upgrading to another material handler but it only lasted six months. We could see it wasn’t working out.”

Getting up to speed
In the meantime, the yard contracted out a loading by-the-hour service with Dan Bolduc of DKR Trucking. Bolduc was operating an 830 M-T, specially designed by Sennebogen to pull a large trailer. The 830 took on the yard’s full range of loading duties: offloading trucks, stockpiling the wood, forwarding logs to the mill on a trailer and loading the infeed from the trailer. 

With a front row view of how Bolduc’s machine did it all, Dottori and the WRFP board soon approved the purchase of another unit from Strongco, the Sennebogen distributor located in Sudbury, Ont. Strongco’s Danny Virgoe explains how the 830 M-T adds to the success of the mill. 
“White River, located in north Ontario deals with cold and harsh weather conditions. Some equipment just isn’t designed for extreme conditions like this. And this part of the world is no place to be looking for repair parts in a hurry,” Virgoe says.

“Uptime is critical,” Acs agrees. “It’s a full day for the bus to deliver in-stock parts from the Strongco branch in Thunder Bay. A week is pretty good if we need anything from the factory. But these are low maintenance machines. They work 20 hours a day, five days a week. We’ve put 13,000 hours on our machine in two and a half years; Dan has 17,000 hours on his 830 — but we haven’t had any major downtime with the machine.”

On the move
Surviving the cold of White River winters is just one of the challenges for the Sennebogen machines. Wicked freeze and thaw cycles in the spring leave the yard in a slippery, boggy condition: tough sledding when you’re pulling a big load. Forwarding from the stockpiles to the deck can be a trip of up to 700 yards. The undercarriage’s higher clearance is uniquely designed for the job, with dual transmissions to drive each axle and with a frame specially reinforced against pulling stresses.

Sennebogen’s elevating Maxcab provides operators with the visibility to keep the site safe while unloading and stacking. The cab’s sliding door and catwalk allows safe entry and exit, especially when the yard is filled with snow and ice. 

Acs notes that the high lift of the material handler further reduces any potential delays in forwarding cycles. 

“We can stack more wood closer to the mill, so that saves travel time,” he says.  

With the upgraded saw line, White River can produce up to 40,000 board feet per hour. Processing black spruce and jack pine logs from 4” to 20” in diameter, its chip volume has been reduced by half. The mill now yields more lumber from each tree. At full capacity, it targets 150 million board feet of FSC-certified products, with about 70 per cent in 16’ lengths of 2 x 4 and 2 x 6.

The return of the mill has led to a rapid resurgence of the town. With 160 employees at the mill, White River is seeing the return of experienced workers like Acs. The town’s population has risen again to more than 1,000, and its most pressing problem these days is housing its new residents.

With the 830 M-Ts in the yard, Acs is keeping up with the saw line. The mill is keeping up with today’s most advanced technology. And now, happily, the town is working to keep up with the mill.
March 5, 2018 - Conifex has recently made a $100-million investment and turned an idled sawmill into a new modern mill complex outfitted with best-in-class technology.

USNR is proud to have been a major supplier on this project, and to partner with Mid-South Engineering to help bring Conifex’s vision to reality. 

Click here to watch a video of the Conifex El Dorado operations.
Feb. 26, 2018 - Steven Freeman recalls the trials and deliberations that led his family to purchase a Sennebogen 830 M‑T log-handler four years ago. “The decision for our second Sennebogen was a lot simpler than the first,” he says. “Our yard is tough: it’s rock, and wood debris, and some mud, and the stud yard is up the hill, 300 to 400 yards from the mill. It’s a cruel environment for a machine.”

Steven represents the sixth generation of his family to manage Harry Freeman and Son Limited, located about 100 miles south of Halifax, N.S., in the midst of Nova Scotia’s white pine forests where they process spruce and eastern white pine. Operating since 1832, the Freeman mill has always taken pride in progressively updating its equipment and processes. Sennebogen designed the 830 M-T specifically for this kind of work, combining excellent reach and lifting efficiency with rugged all-wheel drive trailer-pulling capacity.

Dealing with downtime
Their first 830 was put to work forwarding wood for the stud mill processing 8’ - 10’ (2.5 -3.0 m) logs. Meanwhile, the random wood mill relied on a wheel loader fitted with a log grapple to bring in mostly 16’ (4.9 m) and 12’ (3.7 m) logs. “But whenever the 830 had to come out for scheduled maintenance, it was very disruptive to our production,” Freeman says. “Today, production levels are maintained using our new 830 M-T.”

“We did try another make of log-handler before we bought our first Sennebogen but it wasn’t built as heavy and couldn’t withstand the application.”

Keeping up with mill throughput
The Freeman mill produces approximately 100 million board feet (30,480,000 m) of lumber per year. As Freeman notes, with a staff of more than 150 over two shifts, having a whole crew standing around, waiting for wood, is not a good thing.

“It used to be that before we put the 830 in maintenance, we’d have to lower the tiers for the wheel loader to handle the studs and the log stacks. Our back-up plan wasn’t pretty either — we’d have to hire self-loading trucks to forward the studs from up the hill. They couldn’t keep up with it; it left the mill starved for wood.”
Due diligence
The family conducted its due diligence before ordering another 830 M-T to take over duties in the random yard. Consideration was given to buying a pick and carry machine instead, but the decision moved quickly to adding a second Sennebogen trailer pulling log loader equipped with a Rotobec F1250 HD rotator grapple capable of handling over 1.5 yds (1.15 m) of 16’ (4.9 m) logs.

“First, we knew what we’re getting,” Freeman explains. “Getting the same machine again means we have the same equipment to service and same parts to stock. Our support from Strongco, our Sennebogen dealer, has been excellent. Standardizing on the Cummins engines are helpful. There’s nothing exotic about them for us to maintain. Plus, the 830 gives us the extra flexibility of two machines that can feed the mill, as well as forward the wood.

“With the two 830s working together, we have more than enough capacity now. Our ability to move wood is not a bottleneck anymore and together these two machines have replaced the need for three pieces of mobile equipment required to meet our ongoing production needs.”
Feb. 20, 2018 - Northland Forest Products is a family-owned sawmill nestled among the oilsands giants in northeastern Alberta. In spite of the challenges of operating in the shadow of oil and gas, Northland is thriving.
Feb. 6, 2018 – The Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (BNA) First Nation’s Sawmill Manager Project is receiving $57,746 from the Ontario government to ensure the BNA has a qualified manager to run sawmill operations.

Papasay Value-Added Wood Products is a First Nation-owned sawmill located in the Lake Nipigon Forest, about 180km northwest of Thunder Bay.

The company’s goal is to provide long-term sustainable employment opportunities for BNA Band Members and workers from the region by utilizing the natural resources available in the area to produce rough sawn lumber including birch, cedar, poplar and SPF, as well as value-added products such as columns and posts.
Jan. 23, 2018 - The travelling saw salesman; could there be a more hallowed tradition in the world of saw filing?
Jan. 23, 2018 - In early 2016, northern Ontario business Kenora Forest Products (KFP) re-started the local sawmill, and by year end, had added a second shift in the planer and sawmill to meet production capacity. Much of their staffing success is due to an innovative community partnership with local Aboriginal organizations and provincial health and safety association Workplace Safety North (WSN). 

As part of the mill restart negotiations, the Kenora, business made a commitment to hire Aboriginal workers and surpassed its original target of a 30 per cent Aboriginal workforce to more than 50 per cent. According to the Kenora Daily Miner and News, there are approximately 110 unionized and non-unionized positions at the mill, with additional indirect jobs created in woodlands operations.

Reaching out to community partners
At the early stages of hiring, KFP managers realized they had many positions to fill and understood that many of the new workers would have little to no sawmill experience. They were also committed to ensure local Aboriginal people shared in the economic benefits of the reopening. 

A decision was made to work with community partners to help ensure their workforce had proper pre-employment training to prepare workers for sawmill positions. Community partners included Seven Generations Education Institute, Ozhibii’igewigamig Employment and Training Centre, Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong, Ne-Chee Friendship Centre, and WSN.  

Ozhibii’igewigamig Employment and Training Centre recruits workers
Based out of Kenora, the Ozhibii’igewigamig Employment and Training Centre (a partnership between Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong and Ne-Chee Friendship Centre) was skillfully involved in the planning phase and recruitment. The organization works to create new partnerships with industry to help build strong community workforces. They worked with KFP managers to understand the employee skillsets needed.

From there, the organization recruited individuals, coached and prepared the candidates for job readiness by working on resume writing, interview skills, job expectations and the required personal safety equipment for selected training candidates. Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong and Ne-Chee Friendship Centre also helped by providing some funding for the pre-employment training as well as travel assistance where required.

WSN assesses needs and provides health and safety training courses
Workplace Safety North and KFP managers worked together to select appropriate health and safety training courses to prepare workers for the sawmill environment. The courses included Occupational Health and Safety training, Lockout Awareness, Safe Use of Machinery, Ergonomics, and Violence and Harassment Prevention. Additionally, the new provincial standard for Working at Heights Safety Training was provided for all trainees.  

Seven Generations Education Institute organizes training logistics
Seven Generations Education Institute was involved in organizing the logistics around training dates, classroom locations, and lunches prepared by their culinary students. They also provided training on cultural awareness and communication expectations in the workplace. The awareness workshop helps people better understand the local Anishinaabe culture. Getting to know and understand people’s different cultures helps build a workforce that works together as a team. 

This local employer was extremely successful by “thinking outside the box” versus traditional “do-it-yourself,” and by collaborating with a variety of community partners. A leader in working with community partners, KFP is a subsidiary of Manitoba-based Prendiville Industries, a resource-based company that manufactures a wide range of wood products for the building, mining and construction industries.

For more information, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Based in Dryden, Ont., Penny Ratushniak is a health and safety specialist at Workplace Safety North. Penny is a registered professional forester with over 20 years of forestry experience. She has a forestry degree from Lakehead University and a Bachelor of Education from Queens University, and Seven Generations Aboriginal learning. 
Jan. 9, 2018 - Canadian Forest Industries Top 10 Under 40 contest is an annual tradition, drawing in nominations from coast-to-coast and recognizing young leaders in forestry. 

To individually acknowledge each winner and his or her contributions to the forest industry, CFI is featuring each of our top 10 winners of 2017 over 10 weeks.

This week, we introduce our readers to Chris Kalesnikoff.

He has come a long way from his younger days doing clean-up in the family mill, piling stackers and shovelling sawdust and bark. Today, at just 32, Chris is the chief operating officer of Kalesnikoff Lumber Company in Thrums, B.C.

But his journey to the COO seat involved more than just learning to operate every piece of equipment in the mill. After high school, Chris received a business diploma in Medicine Hat, Alta., on a basketball scholarship, and then later spent a year at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., in their business program while playing basketball at the national level.

“While his first love may have been sports, sawdust always ran in his veins,” Ron Corneil, Chris’ co-worker and coach explains.

Chris returned to Kalesnikoff in 2008 to work as a front line leader in the sawmill. Two years later he took on responsibilities as operations manager and then in 2011 and 2012 led Kalesnikoff’s sawmill modernization project, the largest investment in the history of the company. He has since overseen upgrades to the planer and the installation of a new kiln.

Chris’ other achievements include reducing injury rates to historical lows, formalizing a team-based work system to build on the company’s strong work ethic, and earning the respect of the sawmill team. 

“He is typically one of the first people to arrive at work and one of the last to leave. His open-door policy makes him accessible to everyone in the organization, regardless of the time of day or day of the week,” Corneil says. 

Stay tuned for next week's spotlight on Ali Zarei. 

And read last week's on Sean Dinsmore.
Dec. 13, 2017 - CFI toured Fornebu Lumber sawmill located near Bathurst, N.B., to hear how the mill has improved recovery and boosted feed speeds through a combination of a change in culture and capital projects. General manager Michael Godin and Safety & Training co-ordinator Christian Fournier gave us a warm welcome!
Dec. 8, 2017 - Two Canadian-based companies, both in recent years having purchased and now operating multiple sawmills in the U.S. South, are considering building greenfield sawmills in the South.

Interfor reports it has completed a detailed feasibility study and business case for a greenfield sawmill capable of producing in excess of 200MMBF annually and has identified a potential location in the Central Region of the U.S. South. Interfor estimates the total capital cost to be approximately US$115 million, including pre-startup costs and working capital. A decision on the project is expected in early 2018.

Canfor reports it is conducting a detailed viability study of a greenfield opportunity at one of several locations in the U.S. South. The mill capacity currently being considered is 250MMBF annually. The study is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018, with a final decision to follow.

In addition, Interfor has been working on a multi-year strategic capital plan that will involve a number of projects, both large scale projects that involve the rebuilding of a number of machine centers, plus a series of smaller debottlenecking and optimization projects with attractive paybacks.

For 2018, discretionary spending is expected to be in the range of $100 million, and the company is proceeding with projects at two of its sawmills in the U.S. South that involve spending more than US$60 million, which are designed to increase production by 150MMBF annually.

Those projects appear to be a $16.5 million investment at its Meldrim, Ga. sawmill, focusing on eliminating a bottleneck at the back end of the operation and includes the installation of a new continuous lumber dry kiln and upgrades to the planer mill. Lumber production is expected to increase by 50%, in addition to improving product quality and mill efficiency.

Interfor also plans to invest $46 million to upgrade and modernize its sawmill in Monticello, Ark. The project includes the installation of new state-of-the-art machine centers in the sawmill as well as upgrades to the planer mill and a new continuous lumber dry kiln. Annual lumber production is expected to double.

Canfor said its board has also approved a US$125 million capital investment program focused on its U.S. South sawmill operations to increase production capacity by 350MMBF by the end of 2019. The investments will target a number of sawmill and planer modernization opportunities along with increased drying capacity.

Story written by the Southern Loggin' Times.
Dec. 4, 2017 - A sawmill in Ontario that was first running in the late 1800s is now producing specialty products and supplying high-quality timber to the province’s cottage industry.
Nov. 30, 2017 - An alliance of three First Nation communities in northeastern Ontario is taking a 30 per cent stake in a Hornepayne dimensional lumber mill and co-generation plant, Northern Ontario Business reports. | READ MORE
Nov. 28, 2017 - The faint smell of burnt wood permeates Finland. The likely culprit: with a population of about 5.5 million, it is estimated there are four million saunas.
Nov. 22, 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 best or "top-quartile" mills, and depending on the region, earnings results were typically about double that of "average" sawmills in each country. The fortunes of most regions improved significantly in 2017-Q2 from higher global lumber prices. The North American economy has been stable, boosting lumber demand and prices and the European economy improved in 2016 and especially in 2017 as many mills (and countries) had their best results in five years.

These results and detailed cost, revenue and earnings results were released earlier this month in the 2017 edition of the Global Timber / Sawmill / Lumber-Sawnwood Cost Benchmarking Report. A summary, including a "special analysis" on delivered lumber costs to key export markets, is also provided in this month's WOOD Markets Monthly International Report.

Out of 32 countries and/or regions surveyed, "average" U.S. South mills had highest earnings data in 2016 with a 25% EBITDA and "top-quartile" mills earnings were off the scale. "As has been the case since 2008," explained Russ Taylor, Managing Director of FEA-Canada and the principal author of the report, "the major operating advantage for U.S. South mills continues to be the region's low log-cost structure. With a surplus of timber and not enough sawmills operating in the aftermath of the housing market collapse, delivered log prices remain among the lowest in the world with margins being the highest in the world."

"Average" mills in the U.S. West Coast had earnings that below those in Western Canada in 2016, mainly due to tight log supplies and strong log export markets in Asia. EBITDA earnings at "average" mills in Canada were strong, partly as a result improving prices and no U.S. import duties in place for all of 2016. Canada's earnings as a whole were above average on a global scale and also ahead of Europe and Russia (mills with logs at cost) but lagged the U.S. weighted average The Canadian average earnings comprised a wide range of regional results, with higher earnings in the west versus half of those seen in the east.

The Southern Hemisphere regions surveyed (Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Brazil and South Africa) achieved global average EBITDA earnings of 6% at "average" sawmills, lower than in 2014. Three Southern Hemisphere countries achieved earnings results below the region's average, Brazil and South Africa were above the average.

European regions finally had improving markets starting in 2016, and especially in 2017. Overall EBITDA earnings for "average" European sawmills results moved higher from a small gain in 2014 to US$7/m3 (US$11/Mbf) in 2016 and higher in 2017-Q2. "Average" mills in Sweden and the Czech Republic achieved some of the highest earnings in Europe in 2016 partly from favourable log and operating costs. In the global survey, only Finland in 2016 and Finland and Siberia (with logs at market price) in 2017-Q2 recorded losses at "average" mills.

Following the devaluation of the ruble, Russia had some of the best earnings in the world in 2014 but these slipped in 2016 and further in 2017-Q2. Russian mills that had to purchase logs on the open market achieved much reduced earnings, mainly due to rising log prices.

The introduction of import duties in 2017 on Canadian lumber to the U.S. significantly reduced sawmill margins and has stimulated large increases of lumber exports to the U.S. from Europe, Russia and the Southern Hemisphere. "What is most interesting," commented Russell Taylor, "is that net margin achieved by mills in Sweden (delivered to the U.S. Gulf region) is now higher than all calculated margins from Canadian top-quartile mills. With import duties on Canadian lumber, top-quartile sawmills in Sweden now have the lowest delivered lumber costs aside from the various U.S. regions." The massive spike in U.S. imports of lumber from Sweden and Germany is no coincidence!

The results for 32 countries/regions were compiled for both "average" and "top-quartile" sawmills for both 2016 and 2017-Q2 and includes quarterly data starting in 2015-Q1.

The 2017 edition of the Global Timber / Sawmill / Lumber-Sawnwood Cost Benchmarking Report benchmarks delivered log costs (with a full break-out of logging, hauling, overhead and stumpage), sawmilling costs, lumber and by-product revenues, and EBITDA margins in 2016 for 32 producing countries and/or regions around the world, and includes an update for 2017-Q2 for both "average" and "top-quartile" sawmills. This 315-page report is available by subscription and a summary of the report appears in the November issue of WOOD Markets Monthly International Report.

Read on our webpage: 
Page 1 of 25

Subscription Centre

New Subscription
Already a Subscriber
Customer Service
View Digital Magazine Renew

Popular Articles