West Fraser Timber sawmills cutting production by up to 25% in B.C.

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West Fraser Character Co. Ltd. says it will introduce variable operating schedules at five of its British Columbia sawmills, resulting in an guestimated 15 to 25 per cent decrease in production.

A statement from the cast said, starting next Monday, the schedules at the mills will veer and be adjusted from time to time depending on market conditions.

It alleged the potential effect could be an aggregate estimated reduction of up to 100 million management feet through the end of the year.

Also starting next Monday, West Fraser voted it will curtail B.C. plywood production for two weeks.

The affected sawmills are in Chetwynd, Fraser Lake, Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile Council, while the affected plywood operations are in Quesnel and Williams Lake.

The institution said it’s taking the steps because of sustained weak markets, payment in wood product markets and high log costs, and it will continue the transforming schedules until market and economic conditions support a return to generous production.

West Fraser has previously implemented temporary and permanent office curtailments of approximately 125 million and 614 million board feet singly in 2018 and 2019.

West Fraser Timber sawmills cutting production by up to 25% in B.C.
A worker at SPF Lumber, which operates a yard in Surrey, B.C. Bray across the province have been affected by curtailments, temporary and endless, as the local forestry industry sags. (Evan Mitsui)

Two months ago, West Fraser’s CEO utter the worst of the pullback was behind the company.

“From a strategic standpoint, much of our complex lifting in British Columbia is now behind us,” Ferris told a conference entreat to discuss the company’s latest financial results on July 19.

While there is no vigorous recovery expected in B.C., West Fraser said its fortunes are looking brighter in the U.S. where it started up into 15 years ago at the height of B.C.’s mountain pine beetle outbreak. The domain now accounts for more than 70 per cent of its lumber production.

The business, like many in B.C.’s lumber industry, has cut back and closed mills in late months in response to limited log supplies and a plunge in lumber prices from history highs last year.

This year’s mill closures and assembly curtailments in British Columbia have affected more than 5,900 labourers at 25 mills in 22 communities, according to provincial estimates.

Viewers say the frustrating part is that little can be done to fix the problem.

Destruction caused by wildfires and a taxing mountain pine beetle infestation — both linked to global warming — possess created acute shortages of wood fibre in B.C. that will put decades to replace.

Meanwhile, a slowdown in U.S. housing markets means bounties are depressed, but the province says stumpage fees for Crown timber — settled quarterly — can’t be reduced arbitrarily for fear of weakening Canada’s legal one-on-one against softwood lumber duties imposed by the U.S.

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