West Coast Business Trends

Dec/Jan Issue

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The hardwood lumber markets on the West Coast are holding their own – or better.

A lumber provider in Oregon remarked that his market is “holding up.” However, he commented his company can only sell at a limited pace because, “The supply chain is so screwed up.” He stated that his company could be more profitable “if I could replace what I sell.” Transportation and lack of labor are other inhibiting factors, he stated.

Compared to several months ago, the market is about the same, he noted. “Supply is a little worse, but demand is the same.”

He sells all domestic hardwoods and imports plus upper grades of softwood, hardwood plywood and other products. The best hardwood seller is Poplar. He sells to cabinet manufacturers, fixture companies and display makers. He also sells to flooring contractors, and his company has its own retail stores. He observed that his customers are faring “surprisingly very well.”

A Washington lumberman remarked, “The last two weeks, business has been slower. Customers are looking for discounts. Prior to those two weeks, the market was really good.”

His market, he noted, is “a little worse” than in the recent past. “Several months ago, if you had supply and were near the price customers wanted, it was an easy sell. That has slowed down.”

He sells all grades of hardwood in all North American species, including Maple, Red and White Oak, Cherry and Birch. Best sellers are Maple and Poplar. Thicknesses of his lumber are 4/4 through 12/4.

His customers include distribution yards, woodworking shops and manufacturers of cabinets, mouldings and panels. “The best we can tell, business is going well for our customers,” he said. “They are waiting for prices to fall.

“Transportation hasn’t been that bad,” he noted. “It may be that the market is down and more trucks are available.”

A California lumber supplier had a rosier perspective. “I think the market is still very solid,” he stated. “I would say that, compared to six months ago, the market is still about the same.”

He sells White Oak, Hickory and Walnut in 4/4 thickness. All this lumber goes to flooring companies and retail lumber yards. “Their business seems to be solid as long as they have product,” he noted.

“Transportation is not a problem,” he commented. “There are so many trucking companies in this area. As for containers, that’s a different ballgame; it takes a while to get product shipped from the mill out here to the West Coast. But local trucking is not a problem. I can call today, and tomorrow morning, they’ll come pick it up. That’s not the case in most 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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