Log Exports

Raw logs going to the highest bidder

By Dave Lewis, Times Colonist
June 1, 2011
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I continue to read letters stating that mills are shutting down because of a lack of timber. Mills that can only pay $60 for logs that cost $80 do tend to run out of timber pretty quickly.

On the coast, there is a 15-million-metre timber processing capacity and our sustainable harvest level is 24 million metres. There is no shortage of timber for local mills. There is a shortage of people prepared to lose money in order to sell it for less than it costs to harvest it.

Logs are exported because foreign buyers can pay $80 for timber. Log exports are a product of uneconomic mills, not the cause of them.

Would I rather see local sawmilling jobs? Absolutely. But until the domestic manufacturing sector can afford to pay $80 for timber that costs $80, we will continue to shut mills.

If we restrict log exports, we will not improve the local mills’ ability to pay $80. Instead, we will just add to the amount of our sustainable timber that is never harvested and will continue to lose harvesting jobs.

While the cost to harvest timber continues to rise and the ability of domestic mills to pay that cost falls, we will continue to see mill closures and job losses.

Dave Lewis

Executive director

Truck Loggers Association

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

B.C. log exports soar on new Chinese demand

By Gordon Hamilton
Vancouver Sun May 17, 2011 5:33 AM
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METRO VANCOUVER – When Port Alberni Mayor Ken McRae sees a freighter leaving his coastal sawmilling town loaded with wood, the pride he once felt has turned to a deep concern for the future of the British Columbia coastal forest industry.

Once those ships were loaded with lumber. Now, half the cargo is logs.

Log exports have exploded in B.C. in the last few months, largely to feed China’s voracious appetite for fibre. McRae is not opposed to exports; they have a place in a healthy industry, he said. But he fears China’s appetite for B.C. logs is going to cut into manufacturing here.

“China, Korea and Japan are paying more for logs than most of our sawmillers can afford. It’s a huge issue that’s going to come back to bite us,” he said in an interview

What to do about B.C.’s raw logs?

DEBRA BRASH/Postmedia News Files
May 6, 2011
National Post
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Politicians want more value added to B.C.’s logs, but experts argue that raw material is all that sells on the world market.

Fresh from his election as B.C. NDP leader, Adrian Dix has been wooing the left-wing base with a slate of classic NDP issues: Beef up health care for seniors, drive out the HST and, of course, crack down on the export of raw logs.

It’s a philosophy that B.C. politicians have been rolling out since colonial times. Before Confederation, B.C. officials implemented export tariffs on logs to encourage domestic sawmills. In 1935, the B.C. legislature proposed a “gentlemen’s agreement” with Washington State to block foreign log shipments. During the 2009 provincial election campaign, Mr. Dix’s NDP predecessor, Carole James, raised the issue in a news conference held in front of log booms in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet. “While British Columbians are losing their jobs, our forests are creating jobs beyond our borders,” she said.

B.C. exports of raw logs have gone up dramatically in recent years. Between 2009 and 2010, largely due to increased demand from China, per-month averages of raw log exports grew by as much as 200%. Regardless, the share of total forestry exports deriving from raw logs remains relatively small. In 2010, raw log exports fetched only $300-million — versus $3.6-billion for exported lumber. Still, critics deride the trend as a job killer. In a 2007 report, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives blamed raw log exports for costing British Columbians more than 5,000 jobs per year.

There is a Role for Log Exports to Maintain B.C.’s Industry

By Dave Lewis
Vancouver Sun
May 3, 2011
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In spite of two political party leadership contests in British Columbia, the Truck Loggers Association has worked hard to maintain its longstanding policy of taking a non-partisan approach to politics. More than 400 companies with some 8,000 employees with diverse viewpoints rely on us, so we think our impartial approach has earned us some measure of credibility when we speak about issues that are politically charged.

Recently, newly minted B.C. New Democrat leader Adrian Dix promised that if he were elected premier he would “take direct action” against log exports. Not only is this a tired piece of partisan rhetoric, but it would damage our coastal forest industry, its workforce and ultimately forest management. For those reasons we cannot let his position go unchallenged.

U.S. and Canadian Timber Exporters Diverge in Handling China’s Increased Demand

Seeking alpha
February 14, 2011
By: Hakan Ekstrom
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The value of softwood logs and lumber exported from North America to China reached over US$1.6 billion in 2010. This was 150 percent higher than the previous year and more than ten times as much as in 2006, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly.

China has come to the rescue for many sawmills and timberland owners in the U.S. and Canada over the past year. The value of softwood logs and lumber shipped from North America to China is estimated to have reached over $1.6 billion in 2010, which is up dramatically from just a few years ago. In 2008, total exports were valued at $350 million, while they were only $125 million five years ago.

Rolling Along

Terrace Standard – Business
February 01, 2011 11:00 PM

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It may not be like the old days when logging, trucking and then making either lumber or pulp and paper made up the regional forest industry, but the first two activities are putting people to work and providing a badly-needed economic lift. It all has to do with export, sending logs either down south or sent overseas, mainly to China.

Terrace-based Bear Creek Contracting harvests wood in the northwest and packages logs for water-borne shipping from Prince Rupert, and president Ian Munson says he’s noticed more activity in the industry.

“Forestry is coming on again, and as long as people here are prepared to support what’s going on, I think it’ll be good for all businesses in the area,” he said.

“I’m a full supporter of raw log exports, because the northwest would be dead without it,” Munson said.

When mills began to close, Bear Creek diversified into activities such as road building to keep its doors open, but Munson said now the company is starting to get busier in forestry as well.

Log exports provide the foundation for growth

Terrace Standard.com
Published: January 25, 2011 11:00 PM
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The nay sayers can’t see the forest for the trees, condemning governments actions on log exports.

Pulp mills and two-by-fours do not appear to be working for us in the Pacific Northwest. Does it not make sense for the best log to be sold at the highest price? It just so happens that currently the best price paid for logs is offshore.