Lumber providers in the Southeast are optimistic, based on what they have seen in the marketplace.
An Arkansas flooring manufacturer stated, “My business is strong. It’s the best it’s ever been. This trend started in June of 2020.”
His business is better than it was several months ago, he judged.
He processes Red and White Oak and Hickory, with Red and White Oak being his best sellers in flooring. His customers, who are distributors, report business is “very strong with heavy demand and lack of supply.”
The downside of all this is that it’s “hard to hire people,” he said.
In Mississippi, a lumberman said that the previous six months had been “really good. We’re optimistic our business is going to maintain its levels. I don’t think it’s going to be what it was the past six months. But it’s going to be fine. I know one thing I’m seeing,” he added. “Some mills that were cutting pine are going back to Hardwood.”
He sells mostly Oak and Poplar in all grades, from pallet stock to FAS. This lumber is sold to end users who produce flooring, crating and pallets. “Most of our sales are for flooring,” the lumberman stated.
His customers’ sales have been “exceptional,” he said.
Asked if transportation had been a problem, he replied, “It has been. However, freight seems to be loosening up a little bit, with more trucks available. So, there’s a little hope for us there that the freight rates are going to come down a little bit. I think it’s headed in the right direction.”
A Georgia lumber supplier stated, “For the most part, our market is good. Poplar is still hanging in there pretty well. The green Red Oak is doing really well. I’m not sure what’s going to happen with FAS and Better. No. 1 Common is a little shaky but it’s still moving. No. 2 Common and 3A are going strong. So, all in all, I’d have to say the market is pretty good.
“We’re doing a lot more pine, and that’s a little bit shaky,” he continued. “But the Hardwood side of it seems to be holding in there pretty well. You can’t ask for White Oak to be any better. You can’t ask for Ash to be any better. Nobody’s ever seen Poplar at over $2 per foot. That’s huge. All in all, we’re in pretty good shape. But I wish we had more logs.”
His market is “definitely better” than it was a few months ago, he observed.
He sells Red and White Oak, Poplar, Ash and Cypress in No. 3A, No. 2A and No. 1 Common and FAS, all in 4/4. His best seller, he said, is White Oak. “It doesn’t matter what grade,” he observed. “If it’s in White Oak, it’s pretty strong.”
This lumber goes to distribution yards and end users in both the U.S. and overseas. “Right now,” he noted, “we’re trending more toward the domestic market. We’re doing more green because of the demand. And that seems to be working pretty well.”
Among his customers, “Everybody I talk to seems to be doing well,” he stated. The customers of his customers are pushing for certain lumber items and he is working to get those products sent, he said.
Like many lumber providers, he has found transportation to be a problem. “Containers are a pain to get, both with the ship lines and trying to get them to the port. It seems like the flatbed freight is starting to ease up a little bit. That’s helping. More of our lumber is going domestic.”