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Logging and Sawmilling Journal November 2014

May 2015

On the Cover:
B.C.’s Valley Pulp & Sawdust Carriers Ltd has hauled a lot of different materials in its decades of operation—but the company has now expanded its operations to hauling logs in the B.C. Interior, and it is working for several forest companies operating in the region. Watch for the story on Valley Pulp & Sawdust Carriers in the next issue of Logging and Sawmilling Journal (Photo courtesy of Valley Pulp & Sawdust Carriers).

Prince George: a century
of sawmilling

The City of Prince George—home to the Canada North Resources Expo—is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2015, and it has a rich sawmilling heritage over that century.

Seizing the moment —in logging
Log Commander Enterprises, owned by the Webster Brothers—Ryan and Curtis—of Quesnel, B.C. has chosen to seize the moment in the logging upturn, expanding their fleet of logging equipment by a factor of four in the last 18 months.

Back to the future—with phase logging
Forest company Tolko Industries is revisiting the past with its Innovative Phase Logging program in the B.C. Interior, and it is delivering detailed—and valuable—information on logging equipment performance and production.

Recipe for recovery
A major planer upgrade at Tolko’s Soda Creek Division stud mill operation in Williams Lake, B.C. is going to help expand its range of products and improve grades and recovery at the mill, a solid recipe for improved competitiveness.

The latest in logging tools
Northeastern B.C. logging company Hi-Sky Enterprises has introduced some new Komatsu machines into its logging equipment line-up to provide their employees with the latest in logging tools, and make sure they are able to keep moving wood efficiently to meet the needs of their customer, lumber giant Canfor.

Going full tilt
New logging operation Full Tilt Contracting is looking forward to doing exactly that—going full tilt—in the not too distant future, helped along by solid logging equipment and an experienced crew.

Cranking out the lumber at Idaho Forest Group
Attendees at the recent Small Log Conference got a first-hand look at Idaho Forest Group’s new Lewiston, Idaho upgrade and its focus on a HewSaw SL250 3.4 installation that is already cranking out six million board feet a week—with room for more production.

Energy—but with a green footprint
A new wood-fired district energy system in the B.C. Interior is delivering multiple benefits, including solving the issue of residue disposal from a local sawmill using a Bandit 1390 XP 15 inch drum chipper, and in the process delivering energy that has a greener footprint.

Taking charge on the marketing side
Having had success manufacturing and marketing red pine product, Ontario’s Heideman sawmill recently made some acquisitions, and has now taken charge of marketing its finished white pine product.

The EDGE

CLICK HERE for the Canada North Resources Expo Showguide

DEPARTMENTS

Tech Update: Skidders

Supplier newsline

The Last Word

 

 CLICK to download a pdf of this article

The clock is ticking on the sawlog supply crunch in the B.C. Interior

By Jim Stirling

That sound you hear is the clock ticking on the sawlog timber supply crunch in the interior of British Columbia.

The shortage is no surprise and long predicted, but the time is now to develop creative harvesting systems for better use of what remains. B.C.’s Ministry of Forests estimates 730 million cubic metres of timber have been impacted by the mountain pine beetle epidemic in the interior of the province.

The constraints and opportunities surrounding fibre supply in the B.C. Interior was the focus of a panel discussion at the recent Council of Forest Industries (COFI) annual convention in Prince George. COFI does an admirable job of tackling head-on the pertinent and troubling issues facing the forest industry and this particular session was nothing if not sobering. It appears there’s more bloodletting in the works despite the rounds of sawmill closures and consolidations that have already occurred in the region.

“There will be more contraction, with mills shutting or slowing down (shorter production hours each week),” predicted Murray Hall, principal of Murray Hall Consulting, a participant on the three-man panel. Pressed as to where mill closures were most probable in the next 10 years, Hall responded by anticipating two or three more sawmills are likely to close. The most probable locations for those closures are in the Prince George and Cariboo regions, followed by the Kootenays.

The other panelists, Mark Feldinger, senior vice-president energy, environment, transportation and sourcing with Canfor, and Dave Peterson, assistant deputy minister and chief forester with the landlord Ministry of Forests, recognized regional differences in the impacts emanating from the beetle infestation. “One size does not fit all,” emphasized Feldinger. “The Timber Supply Areas are different and we need to be sensitive to that.”

Hall told the forestry executives and suppliers at the COFI conference about efforts to ascertain what fibre remains at roadside now after logging the AAC. COFI canvassed 19 interior forest companies to get their best professional opinions about what’s currently happening in the bush. Estimates of residuals left after logging varied from 12 per cent of the harvest to 30 per cent. “We need that fibre,” declared Hall. To extract it requires a re-definition of forest land management, suggested Peterson, including an integrated planning and harvest regime. The objective there includes removing the different types of fibre including harvest residuals and non-sawlog fibre in as few passes as possible.

“We need a suite of policy improvements, each can help...including removing policy impediments,” he added.

As forest companies, the ministry and consultants wrestle with how best to structure this new world, they would be wise not to do so in isolation. They should resist privately developing their strategy and then presenting it to other interested parties for rubber stamping. Instead it would pay dividends to involve from an early date logging contractors, who will end up investing in a harvesting system and trying to make it work; with logging equipment manufacturers, which will probably have to develop or modify a new range of equipment to effectively deal with the different fibre types and of course with First Nations, which control access to and use of their traditional territories. In the meantime, that clock won’t stop ticking.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty out there,” pointed out Dan Jepson. “How do we move forward with some certainty?” he questioned. The chairman and CEO of C3 Alliance Corp. might well have been referring to the saw log fibre crunch. But his comments were made prefacing a separate COFI panel focusing on the changing landscape for dealing with First Nations. One of the participants, Dallas Smith, patiently outlined some of the most recent skirmishes surrounding aboriginal rights and title in B.C.: ‘the war in the woods’ in the late 1990s through court decisions like Delgamuukw and those affecting the Haida and Taku, and last year the Ts’ilhqot’in. “They bring us victories but not justice,” said Smith, president and CEO of Nanwakolas Business Corp., and Council. The council represents seven nations with aboriginal title on northern Vancouver Island and the north coast. The process to date has been neither easy nor fast, he noted drily. But the fact remains: “We have authority over our land and resources and each nation needs to be recognized.”

On a business level, Smith said dealing with Crown land referrals would benefit from streamlining. “Land referrals need to be processed faster,” he recommended, with a single point of contact. “We’re being transparent with industry and we’re looking to a 30 day turnaround that would work in the best interest of all parties.”

Another panel participant was Derek Orr, chief of the McLeod Lake Indian Band and president of Duz Cho Logging. Duz Cho, owned by the McLeod Lake Indian Band, grew into a major log harvest contracting company in the Mackenzie area of north central B.C. Then came the recession of 2008 which hit Mackenzie and Duz Cho right between the financial eyes. It was dire straits for both for a while. But Duz Cho clawed its way out of the mire by developing partnerships to re-energize a closed pulp mill and providing the fibre flow necessary to sustain it.

“We have had a history of working together and being an equitable partner,” said Orr, neatly summarizing the essential simplicity of the First Nation “issue”.