Southeast Business Trends

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The Hardwood markets in the Southeast are “very good.” That’s the word from a lumber provider in Virginia. It’s a sentiment echoed by other lumber companies in the region.

The Virginia source also said the market for her company is “much better” than it was a few months ago. “Prices are higher, and all lumber is moving,” she stated.

She handles Red and White Oak, Poplar and Walnut in 4/4 through 10/4 in No. 3 Common and Better. Her sales are to domestic distribution yards and exporters. Her customers’ sales are good, she noted.

Transportation is not a problem for her because, she observed, “I have local truckers we’ve worked with for years. They cover us when I need it.”

In Georgia, an international lumber supplier observed that everything in his company’s business is strong – with one exception. “The problem is getting logs,” he stated. “We’re just now starting to get a few logs coming in. It doesn’t matter what the price is if you don’t have any lumber to sell. The entire pipeline from the woods to the customer is pretty much depleted. There’s not a whole lot of kiln-dried inventory. There’s not a whole lot of in process, air-drying. There’s not a ton of containers on the water. The distributors’ warehouses and the customers’ warehouses are empty. So, it’s going to take a while to fill that pipeline up. If we start getting logs tomorrow, it’s four months at a minimum by the time we get it sawn, air-dried, kiln-dried, graded and ready to put in a container. It’s going to be awhile before we overcome this shortage.”

His market, he noted, is “considerably better” than it was in the recent past. “We’ve got a little bit of wood coming through the system. I think you’ll see the Hardwoods pick up. But we’ll always keep some pine in the system.”

Among Hardwoods, he handles Red and White Oak, Poplar and Ash in 4/4 in all standard grades. “All of these species are selling well,” he stated. “It’s not a difficult situation. You consider which customer has been with you the longest, and you support the ones who have worked with you up to this point. You ration the lumber among them as best you can.”

This lumberman sells to distribution yards, end use manufacturers and to exporters. “Everything seems to be pretty strong,” he said of his customers’ business. “The market seems to be good in the Middle East. You can’t argue with how things are going in Asia. However, Vietnam seems slow, and I’m not sure why that is. Maybe they haven’t adjusted to the price increases.

“Moving product to the port has been a huge issue,” he stated. “Finding trucks to move domestic lumber has been very difficult. Freight rates have doubled.”

In Tennessee, a source commented that his market is “excellent, no doubt. Remodeling is part of it. In wholesale, everything is great, too. Prices have skyrocketed. Everything is doing good.”

His market, he said, is “a lot better than it was a few months ago. Prices have gone up about 40 percent in recent months.”

He sells Red and White Oak, Poplar, Cherry, Ash, Walnut and Hard and Soft Maple in FAS, No. 1 Common, No. 2 Common and No 3 Common, all 4/4. Sales are to end use manufacturers, retail stores across Texas and exporters. “Their business is great, too,” he stated.

“It’s been crazy in the Hardwood lumber business with the price increases,” he observed. “It’s not as wild as the pine market; it’s not going up 300 percent, but our business is really doing well. You can sell everything you have.”

However, he noted, “You can’t hardly get trucks. Loads of lumber sit for weeks waiting on trucks to go to different parts of the country.”  

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

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

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