Southeast Business Trends

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For two firms in the Southeast that offer Softwood lumber, business is great. For another, that exports Softwood lumber to every continent, the market is “fairly steady.”

 In Alabama, a lumber supplier stated, “Currently, the market is great other than trying to get product. But I think everybody’s having that problem. Other than that, business is booming. You almost can’t get product in fast enough. As for right now, we’re just taking it all in and hoping for the best.” The market, she observed, is “definitely better” than it was six months earlier. She sells engineered wood to lumber yards, and she stated that their business also is great. Transportation is an issue, she noted, as, “We’ve been short drivers.”

The Softwood lumber exporter, based in Louisiana, stated that, “the market is fairly steady, as it has been since about June. It’s not exactly what we would call a stellar year, but we’re on par, since June, with what we saw in 2019. 2018 was slightly better but not significantly so.” The market is “certainly better” than it was six months previously. “March through April were some of the most challenging months in this company’s history, and certainly some of the most challenging of my 22-year-career,” he recalled. 

He exports primarily Southern Yellow Pine in all grades. “If it exists in Yellow Pine, we buy it.” He said that the health of the market varies from region to region in the world. “Trucking and drayage have been real problems the past 45 days, a real challenge,” he said.

In Mississippi, a lumber supplier observed, “From our company’s individual perspective, our marketplace is good. There’s strong demand for the products that we sell. Our order file is strong. It’s been a good year – not a great one, but a good year. Going into next year, we don’t see any reason for us to have anything but good expectations for growth and for things to continue to improve. That remains to be seen.” 

The market, he said, is “about the same” as it was six months before. “We’re selling into an industrial marketplace and our demand is pretty steady month-over-month. There are very few seasonal factors that come into play.” He sells Southern Pine and Southern hardwoods, “products that go into the industrial side of the market, to manufacturers. So, they change our products to something else to use in their manufacturing process.” 

Retailers and truss manufacturers make up a small part of their clientele. What little feedback this lumber provider gets from customers indicates that “business is good and it looks to be better next year. I’ve gotten that feedback from a few of the people I sell to directly. They’ve got business booked well into 2021 and, in some cases, further out than that.” He noted that, “It’s been a pretty good year from a trucking standpoint.” 

By Matthew Fite

Matthew Fite Staff Writer Miller Wood Trade Publications

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By Matthew Fite

Matthew Fite Staff Writer Miller Wood Trade Publications

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