NAWLA Vancouver – Speaker Profile cont.

Gavin Dew works with the Stakeholder Engagement and Communications group on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project, a proposed $5.4B twinning of an existing pipeline between Strathcona County, Alberta and Burnaby, British Columbia. Since early 2012, he has worked to build support for the project among civil society and the business community. Prior to beginning his work with Trans Mountain, Gavin completed an at MBA at the University of Oxford, where he wrote a thesis on “social license to operate,” focusing on using public opinion research to understand how trust and legitimacy influence acceptance or rejection of major projects. Before his MBA, Gavin was a senior consultant at a leading communications agency known for its work on sustainability and environmental issues. He also has an extensive background in municipal, provincial, federal, and international election and issue campaigns.

Attendance for Thursday’s NAWLA Vancouver Regional Meeting is approaching 200. Event details and on-line registration is available here.

Kinder Morgan Canada is proposing a $5.4B expansion of its current 1,150 kilometre Trans Mountain pipeline between Strathcona County, Alberta and Burnaby, British Columbia.

The proposed Trans Mountain Expansion Project, if approved, would create a twinned pipeline increasing the nominal capacity of the system from approximately 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day.

Trans Mountain plans to spend $5.4 billion to construct the line and associated facilities, and a further $2.4 billion to operate it for the first 20 years.

The project includes 994 km of new pipeline, with twinning to take place within the existing right-of-way corridor where practical. Also included are 12 new pump stations and expansion of existing pump stations, additional storage capacity at existing storage terminals in Burnaby, Sumas and Edmonton, and expansion of Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby.

The Project will create new jobs in the short and long term, job-related training opportunities, and increases in taxes collected through all three levels of government.

Gavin Dew
Senior Specialist, Stakeholder Engagement and Communications
Tran Mountain Expansion Project

More Signs of Spring

It’s generally recognized that distributors have a knack for adapting to unfolding market condition demands. The Framing Lumber Composite Price has fallen $50 this quarter. It’s rumoured that some have adapted to conditions by starting happy hour at noon. I heard someone suggest that the B.C. Wholesale Lumber Association may even consider early voting for next year’s Lumberman of the Beer.

Traders hold their collective breath over yet-to-be-determined/undetermined mill “policy” in view of April’s five per cent export charge. Even so, encouraging signs are beginning to emerge. Sales of newly built single-family homes last month in the U.S. reportedly reached their highest level in seven years. A bullish post today at suggests new home construction is poised to pick up steam. As Mark Kennedy at CIBC reminded me this morning, “patience grasshopper”.

On the heels of blooming cherry blossoms in these parts comes news of Toronto Garden Club ladies exhibiting bikinis made from flowers and foliage. Surely signs that spring is in the air.

NAWLA Vancouver – Speaker Profile

Peter Woodbridge is a professional economist. He has worked in the forest industry worldwide for the past forty years – in management and as head of the consulting firm Woodbridge Associates Inc. The firm has a global presence and counts boards of directors and senior managements of many of the world’s largest forest product companies among its clients. In the process, Peter has gained invaluable strategic insights into wood products, pulp and paper markets supply, demand and pricing. In full disclosure for his presentation at next week’s NAWLA Vancouver Regional Meeting, Peter tells us that – after all this time – he is no better able today to predict the price of lumber than when he first started out. 🙂
I was fortunate to be in a jam-packed hall for Peter’s presentation at the 2013 COFI Convention in Prince George. In the face of all the lumber super cycle chatter at that convention, I recall Peter’s more tempered outlook really registered. It’s interesting to revisit my review of that panel session here.

Peter will be joined next Thursday by Kim Marshall, VP Marketing Wood Products with Woodbridge Associates. Kim is perhaps best known to our audience from his years of experience at Balfour Guthrie (Canada) – of which he was President, in the years prior to its sale to Canfor. Kim was one of the founding members of Balfour’s overseas trading division – and has spent many years stomping around log piles, lumber yards, sawmills, buyers’ offices, rail yards and break bulk vessels in Japan, China and various remote parts of Asia, Europe, MENA markets and North America. In the past fifteen years, Kim has been senior advisor on wood product markets, supply chain and strategic investments to forest product companies and financial institutions.

US Housing: Texas, the South and West’  For 20 minutes, this may be the most useful focus for attendees at the Vancouver Regional. We will look at demand, supply, foreign exchange impacts and prices – with brief comments on global/macro supply and demand impacts on these U.S. regions (i.e. China and Japan demand; Russian supply; EU supply diverted from MENA  and the log trade). In other words, imagine you were a lumber buyer serving Texas/South/West looking at regional demand – with an eye on global supply and prices 2015 to 2017.”
– Peter Woodbridge, Woodbridge Associates Inc.

NAWLA Vancouver Regional Meeting
3:30 pm Thursday, April 2nd
The Vancouver Club
Click here to Register on-line
or Register by fax here

Bloom Barometer

Today marks the first day of cherry blossom season in Tokyo, according to Japan’s Meteorological Agency. It’s reported here the whole nation’s attention has been focused for days on one particular tree considered to be the government’s cherry blossom bloom barometer. Cherry blossom season in Japan has arrived three days earlier than average and two days earlier than last year.

Here in Vancouver, we’re told the first 500 Japanese cherry trees were planted in the 1930’s, gifts from the mayors of Kobe and Yokohama. The Vancouver Park Board explains here “as the impact of cherry tree plantings began to reshape the city’s landscape, Vancouverites were soon smitten by their fleeting beauty, their clouds of blossoms, as they heralded spring’s arrival each year.” Today, there are reportedly 54 different varieties of flowering cherry trees in Vancouver neighbourhoods accounting for over 40,000 individual trees.

Vancouver Cherry Blossoms 03-23 (2)

Yaletown (03-22-2015)

“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood.”
– Rachel Carson, “Silent Spring”

Lumber Market a la mode

This delectable dish in season with sawmills, wholesale distributors and retailers. Begin with truckloads of higher prices in generous mix of most lumber items. Fold in haunting memories of last spring. Add double portion of confusion over foreign exchange rates, export tax triggers, and impending trade dispute. Drain off some of the early Happy New Year optimism. Stir in tons of snow. Mix with regional freezing rain. Let stiffen up in sub-zero weekend temperatures. Wait a few days to allow general market paralysis to jell. Watch nervously as reports of lean inventories resurface. Agitate over surplus items that still simmer on your own shelf. Keep one eye on offshore markets finding new, lower levels. Stir in rumours to suit taste. Whip up with liberal trainloads of fear of plummeting prices. Dry the whole mix. Add teaspoon of sunshine. Bring to boil with pinch of demand. Wait 15 minutes as prices heat up. Guard against getting burned (“The plates may be hot”). Enough ‘schmeck’ here for a whole distribution system. Serve with any wine – lots. Enjoy!

– Ernie Harder

Beware of Log

The Gift of Shift

I scheduled an early wake-up call to ensure a preferred seat. Steve Rizzo’s keynote delivery was set for 7am Thursday in the Venetian Hotel’s Casanova Ballroom at the LMC Annual in Las Vegas. Popular comedian turned hall of fame speaker, Rizzo is The Attitude Adjuster. Billed as a motivational mechanic who tunes and tweaks each member of his audience, I finished his mind-altering book “Get Your Shift Together” in advance of the show. It’s a must-read.

On stage as in the book, Rizzo revealed how a simple shift in thinking can change our perception of challenging circumstances. “Feeling good is the fuel that drives motivation,” declared Rizzo. And the key to feeling good, according to Rizzo, is a conscious choice to enjoy the process. The tendency to focus on outcomes (“If only..” or “As soon as..”) puts our happiness on hold. “People who consistently enjoy the process not only reap the benefits of achieving their goal, but they also have a fond appreciation of how they earned it,” writes Rizzo. On Thursday he asked each one of us “Will you make the choice to enjoy yourself during the process?”IMG_0954 (2)

In his stand-up style, Rizzo even ‘walked the talk’ when a group of people sheepishly stood at the doors having arrived late to his presentation. “Come on in guys!” encouraged Rizzo. “Can I get you anything? … like a watch?”

“There are far too many people holding on to their precious ticket to Happy Land, waiting for the Good Time Express to arrive. Give me a break! Better yet, give yourself a break. This defies all logic. Why wait for good times? Why not have them now? In fact, now is the only place where good times can happen. They can’t happen in the past and they can’t happen in the future. Happiness can only be experienced in the present.”

“Regardless of what is going on around you, you can feel happier, you can be productive, attract success, and enjoy yourself during the process. When you shift your focus and the way you think, your perspective changes. When shift happens, your life changes. So get your shift together.”

– Steve Rizzo


My sister is in the business of communications. She is founder of the Elite Communicators Group (ECG). Her article published February 19th by the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) reaffirms the importance of personal connections in business. Exploring strategic networking trends for 2015, Christie Smith argues that whether we connect with people on-line or face-to-face, “it is the authenticity of those relationships that determines their ROI”. She cites a recent Harvard Business Review survey which found only 12 per cent of companies believe they are using social media effectively. Christie suggests refined internal procedures and improved analytical tools will soon reveal the true ROI on our social media efforts. As a blogger, I certainly agree with her concluding it is your core audience that is most worth engaging via social media.

This week a number of traders will be out of the office re-establishing connections in the field. Some of us will be looking to reconnect with customers who have been doggedly digging out of snow banks in frozen parts of the continent. Others will be prepping for the important upcoming North American Wholesale Lumber Association Regional Meeting in Vancouver April 2nd. Registration details are available here. Congratulations to fellow NAWLA Vancouver Regional Organizing Committee member Bart Bender on his appointment to Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing at Interfor, effective April 1st.