Sawmill Curtailments

There have been sawmill closures and curtailments announced in the past week, some due to log supply issues some due to North American softwood lumber market conditions:

Western Forest Products Sawmill in Ladysmith, BC, has been shut down since September 21 when a log shortage sparked by this summer’s wildfires emptied out all of its booms out front, said ChekNews Monday.

Eighty workers are affected by the shutdown.

The smaller trees the Ladysmith mill processes are harvested mainly from the North Island, where a massive shut down of forest operations happened due to the dry, hot weather and forest fires that ravaged that region for months this summer.

Even as recently as Sunday, a flare up from the massive Zeballos area fire had to be doused, many weeks after fire crews left town.

So many companies are now wanting the trees finally coming out of that area. The Ladysmith Western Forest Products Sawmill is expected to re-open on October 21, according to ChekNews.

Elsewhere, Interfor, out of Vancouver, BC,  plans to cut production by about 20 per cent across its sawmills in the British Columbia Interior as it faces declining lumber prices and higher log costs, said the Financial Times Friday.

The company said the scale-back is a temporary measure planned for 4Q 2018. The higher lumber prices had insulated mill operators like Interfor from rising log costs brought on by higher stumpage fees and other pressures.

As well, Vernon, BC’s, Tolko Industries told their employees in Quesnel, BC, that they will be curtailing operations at their Quest Wood lumber mill effective immediately, said 100MileFreePress Monday. This decision is based on high log costs and poor market.conditions.

All these numbers do not take into consideration indirect employees like logging contractors, so the total number of jobs curtailed could be much higher.