Inland West Business Trends

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In the Inland West, the market is strong, based on reports from each of four lumber providers. A source in Arizona said the market there for Softwood is “still very strong.” He stated, “A lot of building is still going on. The biggest challenge is having inventory.” 

He noted that the market is “probably a little worse due to lack of inventory on the ground today. The business side is there but we just can’t support it as well right now because we just don’t have enough inventory.”

 He handles Spruce, White Fir and Doug Fir in No. 2 or Better. What sells best, he said, is “kind of whatever you have. Doug Fir is probably the strongest. I have more of that in stock.” He sells to distribution, and, “everybody is fairly busy,” he reported. 

“Absolutely,” he observed, transportation is a problem. “Trucking is horrible. It’s really hard to get things picked up at the mill level on a truck. That’s a huge challenge.”

Northward in Idaho, a lumber provider termed the market as “very good.” It is better, he said, than six months earlier. He handles Ponderosa Pine, Idaho White Pine and Cedar. 

He stated that the best seller is Cedar; it is “in the highest demand. There’s just a lot more demand for that than we could ever satisfy. Ponderosa Pine is a close second, though; it is highly sought after.” He sells mainly to wholesale distributors. “Their sales are going very well for them,” he observed. “Transportation is definitely a headache. We’re getting it out eventually, but trucks are behind. They don’t show up. Trucking’s about as bad as I’ve ever seen it.”

Another Idaho lumber provider stated that the market “seems to be strong.” It’s the same, he noted, as it was six months earlier. He sells 90 percent Cedar and 10 percent Pine. “It’s all selling,” he noted. “The market has been very strong since May.” 

His business is custom remanufacturing for his customers. “They bring the wood in; I remanufacture it for them, and they ship it out,” he observed. Customers are big wholesale distributors and big producers. “It seems to be going well” for them, he stated. He said transportation “doesn’t seem to be” a problem.

“We’ve had a good market, and good weather has helped,” stated a lumber provider in Montana. “We’ve been busy. Everything’s been good.” The market is worse than it was six months earlier, he observed, “only because we’re entering wintertime and daylight hours are getting less. Our business is so seasonal.” He handles Hem Fir in No. 1 and Select Struct. He markets his lumber to retail lumberyards. 

“Everybody is seeing similar to what we’re seeing,” he noted. “It’s been a good year, and we’re busy.” Transportation, he said, is not an issue, “not right now. Transportation was an issue this summer, but it is every summer.” 

By Terry Miller

Editor, Marketing Consultant, and Third generation publisher. With Miller Wood Trade Publications since 1983.

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By Terry Miller

Editor, Marketing Consultant, and Third generation publisher. With Miller Wood Trade Publications since 1983.

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