Northeast – Business Trends October-November 2022 

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The hardwood markets in the Northeast are inconsistent, with one sawmill representative recently reporting a lack of demand in the United States for his specialty hardwood items.
A Massachusetts sawmill and wholesale representative said, “I don’t like the pricing. Pricing is still too low. We do a lot of specialty work. There’s not much demand here in the U.S. for that. All of my business is still export. I have some standing orders overseas, so I have been lucky in that respect.
“There is virtually no labor in this part of the U.S.,” he added. “My customers don’t have labor. I don’t have labor. It’s all around in this area.”
Asked to compare the market now to several months ago, he stated, “I’m going to say it’s the same. I don’t think things have changed much.”
Quarter-sawn is our specialty in Red Oak, Cherry, Birch, Maple, and Ash in 4/4 and 8/4 mostly. He offers only the highest grades of lumber.
Mostly he sells to distribution yards. However, he clarified, “I’ve been staying away from domestic customers because the pricing is so depressed,” he noted. “Overseas, they could use as much material as I can produce. I think their sales to their customers are good. Ninety percent of my customers are in Japan.
“I don’t do anything with transportation,” he commented. “Everything is arranged by my customers. They send the trucks. I stuff the containers and they’re gone. I haven’t seen any issues with transportation.”
Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania lumberman stated, “The markets are inconsistent in nature right now. Some days, some products are selling well, and sometimes they’re not selling as easily. There is really no bright spot of a species that is selling well. It depends on the demand of what someone is looking for and when they are looking for it.”
Compared to six months earlier, he noted, the markets are not as good.
He offers Red Oak, Hickory, Hard and Soft Maple, Cherry and Poplar, FAS and No. 1 Common in 4/4 with some 5/4, 6/4 and 8/4.
He sells his lumber to end users and distribution yards. Their sales are inconsistent as well, he observed.
“Trucking has been fine for short and medium hauls,” he said. “For export,” he noted, “it’s hard to get containers and equipment and to secure bookings.”
In New York State, a lumber representative remarked, “The market is changing. It’s up and down. One day you have people contacting you wanting to know what you have for sale. Other days you have people not even calling you back. Also, everybody’s kind of full on inventory right now.”
The market is not as good as it was six months ago, he noted.
He sells 4/4 through 8/4 Red and White Oak and 4/4 through 8/4 Hard and Soft Maple and Cherry in No. 1 Common and Better.
He sells to both distribution yards and end users. “The way that the e-mails have not been pouring in, I’d say their sales are slow,” he remarked. “If e-mails were coming in, I would expect that the information about their sales would be positive.
“We haven’t had problems with transportation,” he stated. “That’s been steady. We have a core group of trucking companies that does most of our trucking.”

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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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