New Iron At OLC
The Oregon Logging Conference saw some new
equipment and some talk about how to deal with tightening markets.
The Oregon Logging Conference proved to be another success this past February, giving logging operators from the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada the opportunity to take a firsthand look at what's new in equipment for the woods. The OLC featured more than 385,000 square feet of inside and outside display space.
Events at the Lane County Fairgrounds and Convention Centre included seminars in the Wheeler Pavilion and North Meeting rooms of the Performance Hall, where loggers had the opportunity to network and exchange new ideas. The Fairgrounds had exhibitors ready to advise, demonstrate and educate loggers in the finer points of timber harvesting or the latest mechanical innovations and techniques that go hand-in-glove with addressing today's environmental concerns.
Conference attendees were able to take in an array of seminar and panel discussions focusing on a wide range of topics, from stream protection regulations to doing business on the Internet. With equipment valued at over $150 million displayed by more than 400 exhibitors, the Oregon Logging Conference continues to be the largest, static equipment exhibition west of the Mississippi River in the United States and one of the largest in the world. The mood was generally upbeat at the show, especially considering the recent changes on the political front in the United States with George W Bush taking over as president.
Bush is generally considered more pro-business and certainly friendlier to the timber industry, possessing much less of an environmental agenda than Democratic candidate Al Gore. Indicative of Bush's efforts to involve the US timber industry was the selection of the head of the American Forest and Paper Association (AFPA) by Bush as a member of two presidential transition advisory teams earlier this year.
W Henson Moore provided input and related outreach activities to policy coordination groups on issues involving the US Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior. The AFPA is the national trade association of the forest products industry and more than 250 companies and related associations that engage in or represent the manufacture of pulp, paper, paperboard and wood products.
The industry in the US Pacific Northwest is facing some challenges in lumber markets, which is bound to have an impact on the logging side. A slowdown in new home construction is expected to curtail US lumber demand for the second consecutive year, according to the 2001 lumber forecast released by the Western Wood Products Association. The Oregon based trade association said US lumber demand will total 53.4 billion board feet in 2001, down 1.2 per cent from 2000 volumes and 1.7 per cent from 1999's record mark of 54.3 billion board feet.
Putting the news in perspective-despite the projected decline- 2001 would still be the third highest lumber consumption year on record if these numbers hold true. According to the WWPA, a slowdown in the US housing market brought on by higher interest rates will account for most of the reduced lumber demand. New home starts are forecast to drop four per cent to 1.54 million units in 2001.
As a result, WWPA is forecasting lumber used in residential construction to fall by 4.8 per cent to 20 billion board feet. "Since housing is the largest market for lumber, any reduction in building activity will impact wood demand," said WWPAPresident Michael O'Halloran. "Though demand will be lower, we expect Western mills to see only a modest decline in production." In step with lower demand, Western mills are expected to cut back production by 2.4 per cent to 16.7 billion board feet. Overall US lumber production is expected to fall 3.1 per cent to 34.5 billion board feet, says the association.
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last modified on Tuesday, February 17, 2004