Northeast Business Trends

Sept Issue

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The Hardwood lumber market in the Northeast remains strong.

A Pennsylvania lumber provider said, “The market’s good. It’s better than it was a few months ago. At this time, we are heavier in the domestic market.”

He handles Hard and Soft Maple, Red Oak, Cherry, Poplar, Ash and Hickory. Selling best are Hard and Soft Maple and Poplar. Thicknesses extend from 4/4 to 8/4.

He sells to distribution yards and end use manufacturers. His customers’ sales are good, he noted.

“Transportation has been exceptionally difficult,” he stated. “We’re getting it done; we just have to wait longer to get the product out the door. We’re not backlogged. We’re continuing to keep product moving.”

In New York, a wholesale lumberman judged his market to be “pretty good. It’s backed off, but we’re still selling all our lumber. Things aren’t quite as robust as they were, but if you go out and look for orders, you can get them.” This market, he stated, is better than it was several months earlier.

He handles Red and White Oak, Hard Maple and Cherry in FAS and Better and No. 1 Common. His best seller is Hard Maple. Thicknesses are from 4/4 to 8/4.

He sells his lumber to distribution yards and end users. Asked about his customers’ level of business, he said, “It’s going well.”

His experience with transportation is not the norm. “We probably pay too much, but we have a good group of truckers that take care of our needs,” he noted. “However, it is a problem getting containers for flatbed trucks.”

A sawmiller in Connecticut assessed his market as “pretty good. Everything seems to be moving. There doesn’t seem to be any real weak points in anything we’re producing.” 

Asked if his market was better or worse than six months ago, he replied, “That’s an interesting question. My first thought was ‘as good as.’ But I guess I would say ‘a little better.’ I say that because the Red Oak and Cherry have kind of stabilized. Their growth curve is pretty much done, but they have stabilized. So, I think that’s good in that regard. Regarding all the other species, I don’t know that there’s a lot changed. They still seem to be moving. What we see now is a continuation of the trend we saw six months ago. Certainly, we’re not seeing the same pace, as far as price changes, but there still seems to be some growth.”

He handles Hard and Soft Maple, Birch, White Oak, Ash and Hickory. His best seller, he observed, is White Oak in FAS. Thicknesses he sells are mostly 4/4 with some 5/4 in Red Oak and Hickory.

He sells his product to distribution yards and end users. His customers’ sales seem to be “pretty good,” he stated. “On their end,” he said, “I’m not sure if it’s just because lumber seems short. I guess if the lumber flow were closer to normal, would the sales still be as strong? That’s the million-dollar question that none of us know. What seems to be going on now is that labor and trucking are the two problems everyone talks about. And if the labor levels were closer to normal, then where would this market be? I don’t know. It’s kind of a relative question. The way things are now, I think everyone is doing well and the product is certainly moving.”

Asked if he sees any problems in the marketplace, he stated, “Labor and freight are the two universal problems I hear everywhere.” 

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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