In its annual report on the top 20 North American lumber producers, Vancouver-based Wood Markets states that Canadian lumber production is down 45 per cent to 19.4 billion board feet from its 2004 peak of 35.1 billion board feet.
Much of that decline was in the last year, when production fell by 21 per cent in the East and 17 per cent in the West, the report states.
“Indefinitely curtailed was the buzzword for 2009,” states the report.
The Canadian lumber decline follows the decline in U.S. housing starts, which peaked at two million starts in 2006 and are now at 575,000 starts.
The five-year-long drop in lumber supply has eliminated some companies completely and led to the emergence of three British Columbia-based super powers in the Canadian industry: West Fraser Timber, Canfor Corp. and Tolko Industries. The three are now the largest forest companies in the country. West Fraser is the largest in North America.
“There’s been a re-alignment,” said John Allan, president of the Council of Forest Industries, which represents Interior companies. “You are seeing the emergence of Canadian-owned companies in the U.S. forest industry and you are seeing the survival of the fittest in Canada,” he said in an interview. Read More