Interfor making lumber cuts

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Interfor making lumber cuts

By HBSDealer Staff - 09/06/2019
Interfor is the latest Vancouver, British Columbia-based lumber producer to announce additional cuts to production.

The company announced that it will reconfigure its B.C. Coastal business, including the permanent closure of its Hammond sawmill, located in Maple Ridge, B.C., and the reorganization of its forestry and woodlands operations.

In a statement issued by Interfor, the company said the plan is expected to result in additional working capital that has been tied up at the Hammond mill along with funds from the sale of the mill’s real estate.

“We recognize the impact this decision will have on our employees who have contributed so much to the business over the years,” said Duncan Davies, Interfor’s president and CEO. “We will be working closely with them to mitigate the impacts of the closure and to identify job opportunities at other Interfor mills as well as outside the Company.”

In late August, Canfor – also based in Vancouver, British Columbia – reported that it was curtailing lumber production by 75 million board feet between Sept. 3 and the end of 2019. Canfor has been gradually curtailing operations at sawmills throughout 2019.

The lumber production industry in British Columbia has been impacted by falling lumber prices and weakening demand. According to Interfor, log supply has also been problematic.

“The Coastal B.C. forest industry has faced significant log supply challenges over the past two decades and manufacturing capacity needs to be brought into line with available log supply,” said Davies. “Cedar producers have also been disproportionately impacted by duties on shipments into the United States as a result of the Softwood Lumber Dispute.”

The Hammond sawmill, which was built in 1963, has a two-shift capacity of approximately 150 million board feet per year. But the mill has been operating on a one-shift basis for several years due to log supply constraints and other factors, Interfor said.

The closure is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019, after the mill’s remaining log and lumber inventories are processed and shipped.

The Company’s B.C. Coastal forestry and woodlands operations will be reorganized to focus on value realization rather than operational integration with Hammond. In addition, the company will explore opportunities to increase the supply of logs for its Acorn sawmill, located in Delta, B.C.

Interfor has operations in Canada and the United States and has an annual production capacity of approximately 3.1 billion board feet.

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