Severe Weather Causing Issues to Supply and Transportation

As we get the week underway, we’re faced with another new set of circumstances that are causing confusion and questions about the state of the market going forward. It feels that week by week a new challenge emerges forcing the market to adapt to an ever-changing set of rules.

The rain and flood issues in BC have caused significant disruptions to the supply chain. As we start the week, there is much scrambling to gather as much information as possible about what type of impact this may have on rail, trucking, mill closures, and how all of this might impact our supply chain in the immediate and short term. 

We now face all of these challenges as well as the final determination on duties, which is coming up next week, leading to another layer of complexity and confusion.

Starting the day, there are mixed messages from mills, with some reporting very limited availability and sales of material being quite strong. Others are still reporting having material on hand and turning down aggressive offers at lower levels. It certainly seems again like there is a feel-out period to try and determine what the impact will be from this latest disruption.


Supply & Distribution Update

Last week we saw supply and distribution very similar to the previous week, with a significant divide between MSR and dimensional markets. Demand for MSR products remains strong while available material remains somewhat tight. 

Availability on #2&btr and dimensional remains broad with delivery available in two weeks or sooner. J-grade and appearance-grade material were readily available on similar timelines, but buyers’ appetites for dimensional continued to be cautious. 

After a month of record rainfall in southwest British Columbia, a winter storm through Western Canada has caused significant issues to both supply and transportation to and from mills and distribution in affected areas. 

Major highways and rail routes in and out of the lower mainland have washed out, and Vancouver is currently cut off from direct road access through the Trans Canada Highway. There are many details remaining to be filled in as to how this will unfold in the coming days but expect material shipments from mills and distribution in from southwest British Columbia to take longer than expected. 

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News We Are Following

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Coquihalla Highway and Sections of Hwy 1 Closed Due to Major Flood Damage

CBC News

Heavy rains have caused major flooding across BC leading to road, highway, and other infrastructure closures. The Trans Canada highway is inoperable in both directions between Hope and Abottsford, and the US border access at Sumas was cut off due to flooding. All this has been an even bigger burden on the supply chain in and out of the region that was already having issues. 

See map of road conditions in BC here 

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House.v2

Alberta Posts Highest Construction Levels in Years, but Supply Chain Woes Impede Projects

Bryan Labby - CBC News

There is plenty of frustration to go around with home-building disruptions and delays wreaking havoc on the industry in Alberta. Higher prices and supply chain woes are causing people to back off of their custom home buying and construction business owners like Pedro Ocana in Calgary are feeling the pinch saying, “They (customers) want certainty” and if it’s impossible to know whether a home will cost $1 million or $1.5 million, customers will not stomach that difference. From finding affordable labor to locating materials, builders are having a difficult time right now. 

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Dimensional Lumber

Summary

Once again, there is some confusion as to the direction of the market with this latest news. As we look forward, the market was somewhat quiet last week with print down again. We were starting to see a bit more availability at some of the mills with prompt dimensional material building up to a certain extent. 

Many mills were listening to reasonable counters, although there were some much more aggressive numbers being thrown about as last week ended. The news of the day may put a brief halt on the aggressive shorting that was creeping up, but again, we are trying to determine the full impact of the BC situation. It is going to take a couple of days, and it feels like most mills will be reluctant to acquiesce at this point until the situation settles.

2x4

In 2x4, the market was feeling a little heavy on the supply side as we rounded out the week and started the current week. It’s again feeling like it may be a little more balanced, as reports of some sales have trickled through to begin the week. But again, there is a note of caution as there does still seem to be a reasonable amount of product at mills that are not being affected by the BC situation. 

2x6

The 2x6 market is showing a continued lag against 2x4 with interest levels to finish last week being fairly muted. There were price concessions being reported on material. Although, we may see a bit of a firmer tone as mills fall back on the uncertainty of the BC production levels going forward. 

2x8 & 2x10

Both 8” and 10” continued to falter last week. Mills were looking to move product but were not enamoured by some of the offers that were being presented from those that were looking to put business together. There appears to be a gap between the supply side interest and where consumers are willing to pay. 

At this point in time, 2x8 and 2x10 continue to be a challenge in the market overall.

2x12

The end of the week was weak for 2x12, with a lack of takeaway on the treated side remaining a challenge. There was available material on lists as we rounded out Friday. 

As we start the week, it feels the same with 2x12 not garnering enough attention to keep it from sliding off.


Studs

Purchasers maintained a cautious approach to the stud market as perceived downside risk kept buyers reluctant to step in as they're only looking to cover prompt and short-term needs. 

Mill offerings continue to appear somewhat tight, with order files into late November to early December. Pricing decreases were moderate across the board but most substantial to 9' trims as they have maintained a premium due to availability in the past and are now seeing $35 to $60/m drops in pricing. Mills had largely tried to sustain established pricing, but we can expect that they will take a good look at counters. 

As this week progresses, we can expect to see continued pressure for prompt material amid fickle demand as purchasers hold to see if any clear market direction develops in the near term.


MSR Lumber

Although slower sales were seen in previous weeks, MSR continues to be strong, especially for this time of year. Truss plants across North America continue to report strong production, and although quoting is slowing, most continue to slowly add to their order files. 

Sales of 2100 at the mills were active last week, and most mills were able to maintain their 3 to 4-week order files. 

Continuing to be available sooner is 2x6 1650, with most mills quoting out 2 to 3 weeks.  On the other hand, 2x4 1650 is available from most mills for prompt, as it is one MSR item that mills are willing to listen on. 

Cautious purchasing has led to an increase in our LTL MSR sales out of inventory. We do expect to need slightly longer lead times as trucking is likely to be even more heavily taxed with rail shipments being slowed. Please allow at least 1 to 2 weeks for LTL MSR shipments. 

Feel free to contact us for the latest updates on pricing and availability. 


Panel Products

Plywood

The plywood market printed flat to finish off last week, although there were reports of quite a strong week of sales, both east and west. 

As we start this week, one of the major producers is reporting being sold into the new year on all forms of shipment with another quoting the first weeks of January on vans, the week of December 20th on Supers, and the first week of January on cars.

With the news of supply disruption in BC falling to start the week, we are concerned that there will be supply disruptions to plywood. This news is leading many to take another stronger look at their inventory levels, as most reports from the field are that inventories are quite lean.

The feeling here is that plywood activity will most likely tick up, as many may feel some concern about looking to ensure they have adequate supply rolling into the new year. 

OSB

After a slight adjustment downward in price, mills were successful in pushing order files anywhere from early December to the back end of the month, and subsequently the end of the year. Western Canadian mills were the focus of this activity, while open market availability continues to remain tight. 


On-Ground Inventory

We have inventories across the country to help fill your LTL and prompt lumber needs. Whether it’s studs, dimensional lumber, MSR, OSB or plywood, we have material on the ground and can fill your mixed truckload needs.

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