The Mountain Pine Beetle is found in the western regions of the US and Canada. They burrow into a variety of different pine trees to lay their eggs. When the tree becomes infested with these beetles it loses most of its sap and dies. The hardest hit tree is the Lodgepole pine tree, a major source of timber for framing materials. The beetle infestation is rampant from Mexico up into Canada and is killing a massive number of pine trees. The warmer winters over the last several years has accelerated the problem as winter weather is normally cold enough to kill the eggs implanted in the trees.
These dead trees are being harvested for timber that is being used in many grades of construction materials. British Columbia, with its massive saw mills and government subsidies have been leading the world in harvesting beetle kill timber.
Unfortunately, there have been explosions resulting in deaths at 2 major British Columbia sawmills. The fires have been blamed on beetle kill wood. This timber is much dryer than the green timber and it is suspected that the higher level of wood dust is the culprit. While saw mills have been revising their processes to safely cut beetle kill lumber, insurance companies are raising their rates on sawmills that process this timber. This is causing many sawmills to shift its manufacturing away from beetle kill timber. Additionally, the Canadian Government is considering restrictions on the harvesting of beetle kill wood.
Long term effects of this devastation may cause some wood supply shortages. It is estimated that British Columbia may lose up to 30% of its timber supply areas, due to bug kill. There could be some major shortages of pine timber over the next 5 years, forcing rationalization and forcing markets to buy more expensive grades of lumber. The overall effect is that most wood products could see substantial price increases down the road. The problem could become worse if the North American Construction industry experiences a major recovery.
This could impact the costs of wood crating, wood pallets and wooden boxes. Packnet is always evaluating the long term and short term issues of its material supply chain and working on ways to minimize cost increases and supply shortages. You can rest assured that regardless of the supply issues, Packnet is working to make sure the impact on its customers is minimal.