Northeast Business Trends

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The market for Softwood lumber in the Northeast is in positive territory, even being described by one source as “continuing to rage on at an unprecedented pace.” That source, in Maine, noted, “It’s extremely busy. Usually, you see a little bit of die-off of demand, but we have not seen that.” In early fall, he recalled, there was “a bit of a lull for about two weeks,” but later the market was raging on. Asked to compare the market to six months earlier, he replied, “It depends on which side of the field you’re standing on. From a sales perspective, it’s better. But if you are a consumer, it’s not so good because demand has never been higher and supply is very limited.” 

The source provides Eastern White Pine, from industrial board grade to C Select in thicknesses from 4/4 to 8/4. He sells to retailers and wholesalers. “They are all seeing the same demand that we are.” Transportation is not a problem as, “We have our own trucking fleet,” he said.

Southward in Massachusetts, a lumber supplier noted that the market is “not bad. It’s not crazy like it was a few months ago. It’s steady.” Compared to six months earlier, she stated, “I’d say maybe it’s worse, because of the season, not because of the economy.” 

She handles Eastern Spruce, Southern Yellow Pine, dimension, western species and other species. She sells to retail lumber dealers mostly. “I think most of them are pretty steady,” she observed. “People aren’t buying a ton of inventory, because the prices are still coming down. I think they’re steady and that they’re looking forward to a good 2021.” 

Asked about transportation, she said it’s “tough right now. Trucking is more expensive. It’s harder to find trucks. It’s definitely more of a challenge than it was six months ago.”

Meanwhile, in Vermont, a source said the market is “extremely good. If anything, it’s continuing to climb.” The market is “definitely better” than it was six months earlier, he observed. This source offers Eastern White Pine to his customers, who are typically distributors and other mills. “They’re all on the same page as we are as far as I can tell,” he said, referring to the health of their businesses. Transportation is not a problem, he stated. Also, he noted, “the weather is still decent. Everything seems to be flowing well right now.”

By Sue Putnam

Sue Putnam Editorial Director Miller Wood Trade Publications

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By Sue Putnam

Sue Putnam Editorial Director Miller Wood Trade Publications

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