Northeast Business Trends – November/December 2022

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Across the Northeast region, sources said that the market is decent, as of this writing. There is however a mixed bag on if it’s holding up to the level it was at six months ago.

A lumber saleswoman in Massachusetts said she noticed that while her market continues to be decent, it is worse than it was six months ago. She said that she sells to retail lumber dealers, home centers, and industrial accounts. She noted that her company buys Softwood plywood, particle board and MDF in grades CDX and AC, and with thicknesses ranging from 1/4 to 3/4.

“Transportation is better; trucks are pretty easy to get right now,” she said. “Fuel has come down in price. The rates on trucking have only come down a tiny bit, but trucks are available,” she continued. She also remarked on how it’s not just the trucks that are easier to book but rail and ocean freight as well.

In Vermont a sawmill representative said that his market was also decent at the time of this writing, but it seems worse than it was six months ago.

He said that he only sells Eastern White Pine. “It’s my best and my worst,” he said laughing. He handles all grades with thicknesses from 4/4 to 12/4. He noted that higher grades are selling well, while the lower grades have begun to soften.

This lumber representative mainly sells to wholesalers, distribution yards and other sawmills. When he’s talked to his customers about their market, they’ve shared that their markets are similar to his.

He remarked that transportation seems to be OK right now, noting that it is better than it was six months ago.

A sawmill owner in New Hampshire said that his market is still strong, with it being like it was six months ago. He said, “We sell retail to the public and to retail lumber yards.” He also noted that his customers have remarked that their business has remained strong when it comes to Softwoods.

He said that his best selling species of Softwood are Rough Green Pine and Hemlock, and standard shiplap comes in a close third. He stated that he also sells: Western Red Cedar, STK grade in A and Better in vertical grain, Douglas Fir in CVG grade, Sitka Spruce in CVG, Yellow Pine in Select C and Better, Southern Cypress, Northern White Cedar, Atlantic White Cedar, and Alaskan Yellow Cedar. “While we mostly do 1x and 2x, we sell a wide range of sizes since we will do custom sizing,” he added.

This sawmill owner said that there is a labor shortage, and it has affected all aspects of his business, making it harder to get things done. He did note that trucking seemed fine and that it seems like it is getting better.

Despite his market doing well, he said that he is on the fence about where things are headed.

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

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

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By Miller Wood Trade Publications

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

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