Both Fire and Water Further Hurting Lumber Industry

on September 5, 2017

6098745 - looking through the car window in the rainThe natural disasters are hitting hard right now, forcing many to evacuate, and prompting numerous calls for help. In the south, Harvey has demolished parts of Texas. While many homes and local businesses have been lost, the effects of the hurricane are widespread. They reach plants and mills throughout Texas and Louisiana that serve the entire country. One of these industries affected is lumber, and at the worst possible time.

While power outages and other storm-related problems are forcing mills to halt production in the south, the west and northwest is ablaze.  Oregon is dealing with the largest wildfires to spread through the state in 13 years. The Associated Press put out a statement at 12:45 on September 1st that reads:

“The center says more than 25,000 firefighters and fire support personnel are spread out across the Western U.S. fighting 56 large uncontained wildfires, 21 of them in Montana and 17 in Oregon.”

Again, the lumber industry is particularly affected by the fires, especially those forcing mills to close in Oregon and Montana. It’s par for the course after months of fires in British Columbia.

For everyone who was wringing their hands in April when it was announced that Canada would get slapped with countervailing duties on lumber again, this has been a horrific unfolding of what-can-go-wrong-will-go-wrong.

Not only are the fires and flooding compromising mill operations, they’re interfering with both rail and truck transportation. So the lumber that is available is not easily delivered.

Price hikes and a drop in lumber supply is an especially difficult equation for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). They’re more in need than ever to help replace homes that have been lost to disaster, but the disasters themselves are wiping out the supplies they need to do so.

Of course, the NAHB is far from the only industry that relies on lumber. Manufacturers across the US use various forms of lumber for pallets, containers, and other common uses in facilities and warehouses. For them, careful planning is tricky and necessary.

Since lumber is being impacted differently, those who buy lumber have been encourages to seek out alternative types of lumber or other materials for their needs to supplement orders during these volatile conditions. The best strategy is to A) maintain strong communication with lumber suppliers, and B) talk to companies that can advise on alternatives to the lumber that is in highest demand.

One company that can discuss alternatives to wood and specific lumber is Packnet. We specialize in pallet and container solutions and stay current on all laws and news pertaining to lumber. Let us know how we can help: 952-944-9124