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Coronavirus leads to global cutbacks at Canfor

The British Columbia lumber producer is reducing operations at Canadian, Swedish, and U.S. mills.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Canfor, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based timber and forest products company, is being forced to cut back on its operations in response to the coronavirus.

Last year was a tough one for Canfor, including a soft lumber market, weak pricing, and numerous shutdowns at its mills.

Now, Canfor said its Canadian lumber production will be curtailed by approximately 70 million board feet – or nearly 40% of production – for a three-week period. The moves will be implemented across several British Columbia sawmills through a combination of temporary plant curtailments and reduced operating hours.

Canfor Southern Pine operations will also be undertaking a series of actions to reduce operating capacity by approximately 40% – or 50 million board feet – over a four-week period. The capacity reductions will be achieved through the implementation of variable shift schedules and reduced operating hours across the southern pine mills.

In Europe, the company’s Swedish lumber production will be curtailed at two sawmills by 50% over a four-week period, representing a decrease in production of approximately 17 million board feet. This is primarily in response to the lockdown announced in Britain, which has resulted in a suspension of U.K.-bound shipments and a partial redirection of product to other global markets, Canfor said.

At its company offices, facilities and work sites, Canfor has implemented measures based on recommendations of public health officials in each of its operating regions.

This includes restricting all travel, mandating self-isolation for returned travelers and any employees exhibiting symptoms or exposed to the virus, implementing physical distancing parameters between individuals, increasing cleaning and sanitization in workplaces, and where possible, instructing employees to work remotely.

Canfor is not taking the stress and anxiety that the crisis has produced lightly. Outreach and communication regarding mental health support services available to employees and their families has been expanded.

“Our principal focus is ensuring the safety and well-being of our people through these unprecedented times, while taking the necessary actions to protect the long-term sustainability of our business,” said Canfor Corporation President and CEO Don Kayne.

Canfor also reported that it has reduced capital expenditures by $20 million Canadian dollars (US$14.16 million) for Canadian and U.S. operations. Combined with prior reductions, Canfor is reducing its year-over-year capital spending across lumber operations by C$100 million (US$70.86 million) compared to 2019.

 

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