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. 5, 2017 - An intense orange light frequently glows in Quebec’s Northern Lac Saint-Jean skies – a sign of industrial development. But unlike the forestry or aluminum development the region is used to, this time the glow is all about cucumbers.
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: 
Nov. 22, 2017 - 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 will feature each of our top 10 winners of 2017 over the next 10 weeks.

This week, we introduce our readers to Maurice Theriault.

Maurice is quality systems manager, Fornebu Lumber, Brunswick Mines, N.B.

Maurice’s experience in the New Brunswick lumber industry spans 17 years and three sawmills. 

The 38-year-old got his first job as a labourer at JD Irving sawmill in St-Leonard. There he quickly rose in the ranks and was eventually promoted to relief supervisor. His next job was as quality system manager and process improvement with JD Irving sawmill in Deersdale where he worked for a few years before moving to Fornebu Lumber in 2011 to take on the role of production supervisor.

In 2014, Maurice was promoted by Fornebu Lumber to quality system manager and process improvement. 

“Maurice is a forward thinker. He sees the big picture ahead. He has no problem in sharing is experiences (lessons learned),” Christian Fournier, safety co-ordinator for Fornebu Lumber, says. 

Fournier cites Maurice’s natural leadership, drive to continuously improve, and communication skills as the reasons he is highly respected within the Fornebu team. 

“Maurice has an approachable nature. He is always willing to help when needed and volunteers to help when we are under staffed. He is friendly, has a good sense of humour,” Fournier says.

After a few years of quality and optimization improvement consulting for other mills in the area, Maurice recently accepted a new job as a solution expert in optimization for VAB Solutions out of Levis, Que.

Next week we'll be spotlighting Daniel Main.

Read last week's spotlight.
Nov. 17, 2017 - Tolko Industries Ltd. said it is committed to rebuilding its Lakeview mill in Williams Lake, B.C. after it was damaged by fire.
Nov. 17, 2017 - Eastern Canada’s first continuous kiln has found a welcome home in Timmins, Ont., at EACOM Timber Corporation’s sawmill operation. Mill manager Marc Fleury says the kiln has removed a bottleneck in the mill’s production.
Nov. 15, 2017 - 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 will feature each of our top 10 winners of 2017 over the next 10 weeks.
Nov. 6, 2017 - Tolko Industry Ltd's Lakeview Mill in William's Lake, B.C. was shutdown over the weekend after a fire broke out at the sawmill on Thursday.

The fire was declared officially extinguished on Friday. There were no injuries.

Tolko said in a release on Friday that structural engineers were to be on site assessing the fire damage on Saturday. "When we have a better understanding of the impact, we can begin to develop a recovery plan to return the sawmill to full operations," Tolko said.

A Tolko representative told CFI on Monday afternoon EST that efforts are still underway to get operations back in order and to get the planer running again.
Oct. 25, 2017 - Veteran custom cutter and log broker Dave Chalmers has more than 25 years of experience eyeing up freshly cut logs, shaking hands and making cuts.
Oct. 13, 2017 - To further secure the supply of quality fibre for Québec sawmills and processors, Solifor continues its expansion outside Québec with the acquisition of Ste-Aurelie Timberlands, a 24,910-hectare forest property in Maine.

The $36 million deal is Solifor's second outside Québec, bringing its out-of-province investments to $65 million.

Located at the border of Maine and Québec, this property, subject to forest management, is characterized by a mixed forest cover (coniferous and hardwood) and is in full development. The territory's main customers and users are Québec companies, including Maibec and Groupe Lebel. Transportation being an important cost for Québec sawmills, this transaction will contribute to a better bottom line. 

"By prioritizing forestry as a sector of excellence, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ is showing its clear support for this vital industry and its 160,000 workers," said Janie Béïque, senior vice-president of Natural Resources, Industries, Entertainment and Consumer Goods at Fonds de solidarité FTQ. "This second investment in Maine offers an innovative solution for our forest industry and will drive job creation and preservation here at home."

An initiative of the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Solifor has invested $200 million to date to acquire 153,000 hectares of forest land in Québec, more specifically, in the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Lotbinière, Charlevoix, Saguenay, Portneuf, Mauricie and Abitibi regions, as well as 46,000 hectares in Maine, near the Québec border.

"Solifor is planning other acquisitions to further secure the fibre supply for Québec companies, making it a partner of choice for the Québec forestry industry," said Solifor president Raynald Arial.

It will be recalled that Québec's forest industry is one of the province's four economic sectors of excellence prioritized by the Fonds in its strategic planning.

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