Southeast Business Trends

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Throughout the Southeast region sources agreed, that at the time of this writing, sales were doing well.

In Mississippi a lumber salesman said that while they have been doing pretty well the past few weeks, they are doing worse than they were six months ago. “We are having a hard time getting logs. It’s been rainy all over the Eastern U.S. and it’s hard for people to get the hardwood out of the woods,” he said.

His company handles pretty much every species that is indigenous to the Southeastern U.S. in thicknesses of 4/4 and 5/4. “We deal with every grade, all the uppers, FAS, all the way down to the lumber that they make pallets out of,” he noted.

His company sells to end users, such as flooring manufacturers, some cabinet manufacturers and pallet and crating manufacturers. His customers have not shared any comments as to how their sales have been doing lately.

He said that transportation isn’t a problem for him right now and that rail and truck accessibility have improved.

“We are just wondering what it’s going to be like two to six months from now. We can’t predict it, but we are going to be ready for whatever comes. We are going to take it one day at a time,” he remarked.

A sawmill representative in Georgia said that his sales have been doing better and it’s due to a lack of supply. “I think the prices have hit bottom and that they are starting to stabilize and turn up a little. The weather patterns the past 60-90 days have been restrictive on logging and lumber getting off the air-dry yard and to the kilns,” he said.

His sales are better than they were six months ago. “People stayed away as long as they could, and they had to come back to the market to buy more lumber. Prices have not rebounded nearly where they were prior to the second half of 2022, but they have stabilized and have started to climb in some species,” he noted.

His company has a mill in Georgia and North Carolina. His Georgia mill produces 90 percent of its Red and White Oak in thickness of 4/4 and 10 percent in 5/4. Poplar and Ash are available in thicknesses of 4/4 and 6/4. While his North Carolina mill produces Red and White Oak in thicknesses of 4/4, 5/4 and 6/4 and Poplar, Ash, Soft Maple and Cherry in thicknesses of 5/4 and 6/4. At both mills he said they handle every grade from pallet cants to No. 1 and 2 Common and FAS. His best-selling specie is Red Oak with Poplar being a close second.

His company sells to distribution yards, end use manufacturers and wholesale distributors, as well as exporters. His customers have not remarked on how their businesses are doing.

When it comes to transportation he mentioned that he is having trouble getting truck drivers to be reliable and actually come pick up the lumber when they are scheduled to. “These truck drivers are getting chances to go somewhere closer. I have to press upon my customers that they can’t wait until they have two packs of lumber left to tell me they need more. I am not able to react as quickly as I used to,” he noted.

In Alabama a lumberman said that his sales are doing well, but that his prices are depressed. He mentioned that because his prices aren’t as high as they were six months ago that his market is doing worse.

His company mainly handles Red and White Oak and Poplar in grades FAS, No. 1 and 2A Common in thicknesses 4/4 and 5/4. “Poplar seems to be our best seller,” he said.

His company sells to furniture and millwork manufacturers. “The furniture manufacturers are telling me that it is slow for them right now,” he noted.

He said that while his company isn’t having issues with transportation or labor, transportation has gotten very costly.

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

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

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