- Will any updated data surface to corroborate our recent polling that 99.3% of lumber traders have no idea what you’re talking about when you mention culture wars?
- Will a rebounding ‘covid-reopened’ China account for two-thirds of global growth in 2023?
- Will Russia’s behavior as a rogue state be the greatest global risk this year?
- In consideration of what some analysts call BC forest industry overreach, will 2023 be considered a “tipping point” in context of a fiber supply crisis?
- Will wood pellets still be considered “sustainable biomass” by the end of 2023?
- Will global catastrophic weather-related events trigger a heightened sense of urgency around action on the climate emergency?
- What sporting event will deliver up the greatest upset in result this year?
- Will the rise in eco-friendly materials in construction find new relevance and impact in the lumber industry?
- Will AI find newly-perceived value in construction in ways that impact the lumber industry?
- Will advancements in robotics find surprise new application for lumber trading floors in search of stepped up efficiencies and motivational strategies in enhancing customer services?
- Euro softwood lumber export volumes to the US accelerated last year, while BC exports to the US declined (CIBC Capital Markets 9 Jan. 2023). Will this trend continue in 2023?
- Will we experience a recession in 2023?
- Will there be a dramatic new breakthrough in the medical field that captures more attention than NASA’s planned space missions?
- Will new polling reveal that people are becoming bored of raging on social media?
- Will the January 1st imposition of a two-year ban preventing foreigners’ buying into Canada’s housing market result in more affordable housing for Canadians?
- Will most lumber industry associates we know maintain their lumber trader’s characteristic cheerful disposition by year end?
Tag Archives: export
Year-end Answers – 2022
1. Will more lumber traders discover benefits of practicing mindfulness as a tool to improve mental well-being with ever increasing, stress-inducing market volatility?
Dr Jon Kabit-Zinn could be describing the ever-wary lumber wholesaler when he tells us that our minds spend most of the time in the future, preoccupied with either worrying or planning. Founder of the life-altering Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” Mindfulness meditation apps exploded in popularity during the pandemic. It seems reasonable therefore to assume more lumber traders discovered the benefits of mindfulness this year in midst of a punishing, prolonged market correction still unfolding.
2. Will either U.S. or Canadian men’s soccer teams record satisfying results in the World Cup in Qatar this year?
Making the knockout stage of the World Cup is considered a win by many after both the US and Canada missed the tournament entirely in 2018. With that in mind, we would consider the US advancement to the knockout stage more satisfying than Canada’s failure to earn a single point. Canada’s thrilling, grueling journey to qualify for their first men’s World Cup since 1986 will be this fan’s lasting memory.
3. Will the labour pool for truckers grow in North America?
While the labour shortage for truckers has eased slightly in 2022 after more than 80% of TL carriers raised pay last year, the industry still faces its second largest number of vacancies on record. American Trucking Association Chief Economist Bob Costello expects the shortage of truckers to double by 2028.
4. Will the latest record-shattering lumber market run end differently this time?
The Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite Price peaked in Q1 at $1334 (Mar. 10) before disintegrating month after month through year-end ($380 Dec. 27). It’s well understood that lumber markets generally take the stairs up and the elevator down (in 2021, the composite crashed from an all-time high of $1515 in May to $389 in August). Perhaps the only thing different this time was the long, winding trip down.
5. Will contemporary democracy be deemed viable in America by the end of 2022?
Yes, it is deemed viable still. Results in the US midterm election underscored the resiliency of the US democracy. At the same time, there is evidence of agreement across the political spectrum that problems like money politics, identity politics, wrangling between political parties, political polarization, social division, racial tension and the wealth gap have become more acute. It is not a partisan conclusion therefore to acknowledge that all of this has weakened the functioning of democracy in America. While politics may appear to be less strident or discordant north of the 49th, there is general acknowledgement that creeping authoritarianism across the globe is a growing threat to western democracies everywhere.
6. Will Putin’s Russia invade Ukraine?
Yes. On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War which began in 2014. Reports indicate it’s likely there are tens of thousands of deaths on both sides, while causing Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II.
7. Will the Old Growth logging deferral be an unresolved issue for B.C. by the end of 2022?
8. Will pandemic woes be better or worse by end of 2022 in terms of impact on ‘normalizing’ our lives?
Covid variants are rising and new strains of respiratory flus are leading to hospitalizations that threaten overburdened healthcare systems. In terms of ‘normalizing’ our lives, there is ample evidence that ongoing programs of vaccination and common-sense health protective measures are playing out in most regions of the continent. We seem to be “living with it”. The same cannot be said for some countries such as China, where reported loosening of covid protocols is hardly deemed to be “normalizing” life.
9. Will the early lockout of Major League Baseball mean no summer ball? Should we care?
The MLB strike in 2022 ended March 10 with the signing of a new agreement. Issues raised between the league and union involved compensation for young players and limitations on tanking to receive higher draft picks. So there was a summer ball season. We might not have cared except for the Blue Jays exciting tease through October.
10. How will the accelerated pace of digital transformation across every organization alter collaboration between remote workers and office workers in the lumber industry in 2022?
Microsoft Teams has emerged as the cloud-based collaboration software of choice between remote workers and office workers in the industry. Further, the instant messaging and video meeting capabilities of remote communications platforms such as Microsoft Teams have helped close the geographical divide between lumber distributors and customers in all markets.
11. Will B.C.’s largest sawmill owners’ trend of expanding their investment in forestry operations south of the border increase unabated in 2022?
Last year set new records for lumber company acquisitions, with $2.2 billion of takeovers playing out in North America, more than the previous five years combined according to a report from analyst Paul Quinn, RBC Capital Markets. As early as March 2022, industry reports declared that investment banks were predicting Canada’s largest forest products companies would continue to expand south of the border by targeting privately-owned timberlands and sawmills. Early reporting by analyst Benoit Laprade of Scotia Capital showed that the enjoyment of excess cash flows early in the year underscored the economic attractiveness of acquisitions south of the border.
12. Will the longest reigning monarch in British history – Elizabeth II – be ruling over the British Commonwealth of Nations by the end of 2022?
Sadly, the answer is no. She was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms, including Canada, from 6 February 1952 until her death 8 September 2022.
13. Will year-end survey ascertain that most lumber traders are in compliance with Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendation of at least 7 hours sleep per night that is required for maintaining well-being and healthy life?
Our year-end survey at Dakeryn ascertained that most lumber traders are more likely to short their slumber than their lumber, by not being in compliance with CDC recommendation of at least 7 hours sleep per night. How trader sleep deprivation contributes to ill-advised market decisions or personal irritability remains an open question for another day, or year.
Am pleased to report that despite harsh winter weather in Vancouver before Christmas, we can pass along kudos to Dakeryn traders Daniel Binng and Phil Barter who shopped, assembled, and delivered company-record 50 food hampers to First United Church housing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
20 Questions for 2020
Here are 20 questions that Harderblog will be watching this year, in search of answers:
- Will billionaire Jimmy Pattison succeed in taking Canfor private before his 92nd birthday on October 1, 2020?
- Will volumes of reduced fibre made available to sawmills from BC woodlands be outstripped by fibre consumed in Shredded Wheat?
- In this age of emerging technology, will tech gadgets surface that invite even lumber traders to investigate their perceived practical value?
- Will the US standoff with North Korea find resolution before the Softwood Lumber Dispute between Canada and the US?
- Will the financial bull markets of the last decade continue to roar in 2020?
- Will economic disparity between the haves and the have-nots show signs of narrowing?
- Will a recovery in lumber prices postpone more production curtailments and permanent sawmill closures in BC?
- Seedlings for forest revitalization in BC are forecast to rise from 270 million seedlings in 2019 to a record 310 million in 2020. How many trees will be planted?
- As the market for sustainable mass timber construction grows, how many more cross-laminated timber (CLT) plants will open in North America this year?
- Will shipment volumes of European lumber flood the Northeast US market as some analysts project?
- Is integrity still considered to be the core quality in evaluating services delivered by lumber wholesalers?
- Will the Broadway revival of The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman later this year reprise its Tony winning best musical of 1957, when it enjoyed a run of 1375 performances?
- Will Home Depot succeed in reducing the rise in millions of dollars worth of goods stolen from the chain by organized criminals?
- In overtaking Toronto as the most expensive city in Canada, will Vancouver maintain that position in 2020?
- Will an old growth protection strategy be established in BC?
- Will there be significant evidence of steps being taken to counter negatives impacting climate change?
- Will there be a cooling in the ideological struggle that exploded in Hong Kong in 2019 between Hong Kong rule of law and Beijing rule of law?
- Will clues of democracy giving way to authoritarian governments become more pronounced in 2020?
- Will John Bolton publish a book that contains information deemed to include “explosive, new revelations”?
- Is Donald J. Trump still president at the end of 2020?
Lumber Issues Unsettled
Issues concerned with the cross-border softwood dispute remain among critical questions facing BC’s lumber industry. A sellout crowd of 225 at yesterday’s annual North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA) Vancouver Regional meeting heard updates on Canada’s litigation efforts to “vigorously defend the industry” through five separate challenges. A hearing scheduled next Tuesday on the challenge regarding injury is considered to be the most critical of three challenges with NAFTA, all deemed to be significantly more important than two challenges with the WTO ( “a retaliation mechanism”). Colin Barker, Director Softwood Lumber Division, Global Affairs Canada update report confirming dormant cross-border softwood negotiations echoed remarks by US ambassador David MacNaughton at the COFI Convention April 4th.
Provincial government perspectives were shared by Jennifer Burleigh, Director of the Trade and Export Policy Branch with the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. On the heels of Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson’s “new model of forest management” discussion at the COFI Convention, she reiterated this provincial government’s “very different approach”. Burleigh noted both Donaldson and Premier John Horgan’s “strong passion for forestry” citing the Coast Revitalization initiative and the recently announced Interior process as examples. Softwood lumber meetings with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) were tempered by acknowledgement of “no public interest” in the U.S.
COFI President and CEO Susan Yurkovich expanded on four challenges in BC’s forest sector today, specifically access to 1) fibre, 2) capital, 3) markets 4) talent. In accessing fibre, she noted increasing constraints on the timber harvesting land base. “We need to find a way to preserve the timber harvesting land base.” Yurkovich also expressed frustration with the punitive softwood lumber duties in the face of a lumber supply shortfall in the US: the lumber supply gap (“delta”) estimated at 14 billion FBM cannot be filled by domestic production.
Andy Rielly, President, Rielly Lumber Inc., and Chairman, Independent Wood Processors (IWPABC), and Executive Board Member, Western Red Cedar Lumber Association, fired up the audience which included majority of IWPABC’s 58 member companies. With an eye to SLA negotiations, Rielly emphasized the influential role of associations (“you don’t need an agent until you need an agent”). He highlighted the “double-whammy” facing the value-added sector: 1) re-manners are independent, non-tenured, non-subsidy companies and 2) the punitive application of the AD/CVD on the selling/border price instead of the first mill price. The association is advocating for a negotiated settlement “sooner rather than later” under a transferable quota-based system, with allocation of quota not based solely on historical shipment volumes (“new jobs here in BC are not coming from the primary”).
19 Questions for 2019
Here are 19 questions that Harderblog will be watching next year, in search of answers:
1. Will the railways be better prepared for winter weather conditions?
2. Will the extreme price volatility in lumber markets this year persist in 2019?
3. Will Justin Trudeau still be Canada’s prime minister after Canada’s federal election scheduled on or before October 21, 2019?
4. Will Donald Trump still be America’s president by the same date?
5. Will Beto O’Rourke or Joe Biden emerge as the leading Democratic presidential nominee for 2020 by the end of 2019?
6. Will the 12 months of 2019 provide conclusive evidence that trade wars are “easy to win”?
7. Will noise about the border wall on the U.S. southern border have lessened by the end of 2019?
8. Will progress be reported in solutions for solving the opioid epidemic?
9. The American Psychiatric Association says anxiety levels jumped 7 per cent from 2017 to 2018. Will 2019 see a reduction in anxiety levels among the American general population?
10. Will 2019 see a reduction in anxiety levels among continent-wide lumber distributors?
11. Will Canadian softwood lumber exports to China (dropping each year since 2014) continue to decline?
12. Will an old-growth protection strategy be established in B.C.?
13. Will the accelerating rate of climate change evidenced in 2018 be exacerbated by global climate patterns experienced in 2019?
14. Will the U.S. repeat as the FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions?
15. Will the record number of homeless people identified in the City of Vancouver’s 2018 Homeless Count be broken again in 2019?
16. Will 2019 have seen an economic recession?
17. Will Brexit status be significant in determining whether Britain is “better off” at the end of 2019 than at the end of 2018?
18. Will European lumber deliveries to the U.S. decline in 2019?
19. In view of lower lumber prices, will we see movement in the Canada-U.S. softwood lumber dispute?
As we approach year-end, you’ll recall 11 questions for 2018 we posed one year ago at Harderblog:
1. Will rhetoric of military strike pass the ‘tipping point’ into war with North Korea?
2. Will the Bitcoin excitement be fading, or prove to be a bubble?
“For built into this situation is the eventual and inevitable fall. Built in also is the circumstance that it cannot come gently or gradually. When it comes, it bears the grim face of disaster. That is because both of the groups of participants in the speculative situation are programmed for sudden efforts at escape. Something, it matters little what – although it will always be much debated – triggers the ultimate reversal. Those who had been riding the upward wave decide now is the time to get out. Those who thought the increase would be forever find their illusion destroyed abruptly, and they, also, respond to the newly revealed reality by selling or trying to sell. Thus the collapse. And thus the rule, supported by the experience of centuries: the speculative episode always ends not with a whimper but with a bang. There will be occasion to see the operation of this rule frequently repeated.”
– John Kenneth Galbraith, A Short History of Financial Euphoria
3. Will the extreme weather patterns evidenced in 2017 be as pronounced in 2018?
According to The Washington Post, the extreme floods, droughts, heat waves and wildfires that broke out this year across North America, Europe and Asia were unprecedented. In Canada, it’s reported no region was spared from extreme weather events; in B.C., 2018 was the worst wildfire season in history, beating the previous record set in 2017. The Weather Channel calls 2018 the year of the California wildfires.
4. Will Trump take steps to call a halt to the special prosecutor’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election?
Who knows for sure, although reports suggest it’s less likely now than appeared to be the case at the beginning of 2018.
5. Has integrity lost some of its lustre as a perceived prerequisite for leadership success?
2018 – a year when we’ve been inured to shock! Many revelations, many developments unfolding still, lead us to believe that integrity remains a prerequisite for leadership success in the long run.
6. As higher lumber prices effectively offset impact of duties, will Canadian major producers’ newly-hedged investments in U.S. production assuage any further concerns companies such as West Fraser and Canfor might have about the ongoing Softwood Lumber Dispute?
It’s a combination of factors, including fibre supply and ongoing international trade/duty related concerns that has motivated major producers to seek out options for gaining better control over the variable factors that go into managing their operations. Contrary to Trump’s America First philosophy, these days the large integrated corporations recognize they have to think globally to be successful.
7. Will Germany repeat as FIFA World Cup champions?
No. Germany did not make it out of the Group Stage, finishing last in Group F which also included Sweden, Mexico, and South Korea. France won the 2018 World Cup, beating Croatia 4-2 in the final.
8. Will the powers that be acknowledge that the re-manufacturing (value-added) segment of the Canadian forest sector is being unfairly penalized in the application of the AD/CVD?
No. On re-manufactured specialty wood products, the cross-border Anti-dumping (AD) and Countervailing duties (CVD) continue to be applied to the selling (border) price instead of the first mill price. Freight and all processing costs are included in the AD/CVD calculation. The resulting, punishing impact of this application on the value-added segment of the Canadian forest sector has been described as “an unintended consequence” of the Softwood Lumber Dispute.
9. Will softwood lumber be incorporated into NAFTA?
Softwood lumber was not incorporated into NAFTA 2.0 which was signed November 30th but has yet to be ratified.
10. In view of the fractured supply chain, will lumber buyers abandon the “just-in-time” model in favour of securing coverage that satisfies longer-term projected needs?
No. On the heels of the epic, bull-trap riddled lumber market collapse from the record high prices reached in June, the “just-in-time” model has probably intensified.
11. Will broccoli, the least-trusted vegetable of 2017 among lumber traders and the general population, retain that notoriety in 2018, at the same time as the world watches broccoli’s favorability surge to number one in Scotland?
A not-so-random survey among lumber traders reveals that broccoli has been gaining in approval ratings among lumber traders and the general population this year. In fact a survey suggests that as of June 2018, broccoli took the lead as America’s favorite vegetable. While many vegetables consumed in the U.S. are imported from Mexico, broccoli is well down the list of imported vegetables.
Unfortunately our field trip for Thursday to Tupper Secondary for woodworking has been cancelled. The supplier for the wood has run out of supplies! So we will have to cancel. Thank you to all the parents who offered to take the time to drive us!
– Evie’s Grade One teacher (via email, May 23)
On the topic of dwindling fibre supply, it’s reported the B.C. Interior accounts for more than 90% of the province’s softwood lumber exports to the United States. So far this year, the significant decline in B.C. lumber shipments to the U.S. (down 20% in the first quarter according to the article) is widely attributed to transportation bottlenecks and export duties. However a bleak report here from The Globe & Mail this week serves as stark reminder to post-beetle, mega-fire, fibre scarcity realities – a land base “ravaged in turn by pests, fire and drought”.. a province with “barely enough timber now available to meet legal commitments to its major forest license holders”. After a recent fly over, B.C. Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson likened the Chilcotin Plateau, 60 kilometres west of Quesnel, to “a moonscape”. Never mind the missing trees; in some places we’re told, firestorms consumed even the soil.
In a report in February, the chief forester noted that the 2017 wildfires in B.C. affected over 1.2 million hectares, the largest impact on record (in about 100 years of record-keeping) for a single fire season. Most of that – about one million hectares – was in the Cariboo region. The fires consumed or damaged almost one-quarter of Quesnel’s timber supply. That is on top of the devastation wrought by the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic, and sustained drought conditions that had led to fire bans in April – remarkably early. “We just cringe now when we see lightning,” Quesnel Mayor Mr. Simpson said. Now, a growing fir beetle infestation that somehow eluded last year’s wildfires is putting the remaining timber supply at risk. “There isn’t a tree species or a plantation that isn’t under stress due to increasing maladaptation to the current climate,” Mr. Simpson said.
– The Globe and Mail (21 May, 2018)
Meanwhile, Random Lengths reports lumber output in B.C. was down almost 8% in February from the same month a year ago; through the first two months of 2018, production in B.C. was down over 3%. On the bright side, according to Random Lengths, late-shipping railcars are beginning to roll into destinations more readily – welcome short term relief no doubt for razor-thin inventories at distribution yards and North American dealers starved for wood.
Of course in the long run, a global market is in play to influence supply and pricing. When demand for lumber increases, prices climb. When production ramps up, the supply/demand balance swings the other way and prices come off. What happens when production can’t ramp up?
The lion’s share of increased North America lumber production will need to come from U.S. mills.
– Russ Taylor, Forest Economic Advisors (FEA) Canada (19 Jan 2018)
The U.S. labour force is the single biggest constraining factor in U.S. sawmill production.
-Paul Jannke, FEA (5 Apr 2018)
Live at The Pond: Five Questions for Guillaume Pelletier
Harderblog recently caught up with reload operator extraordinaire Guillaume Pelletier, Vice President, RCP Transit Inc.
Dakeryn Industries has enjoyed a strong working partnership with RCP Transit since 1995.
1) How have Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) impacted truck capacity at RCP Transit?
Right now, we’re handling the same volume as we were doing before the ELD – but differently. Drivers can’t lose time anywhere, they’re running like crazy! As soon as they move the truck, the clock starts; they have 14 hours to complete their day (11 hours of driving + three hours work/on-duty). It’s changing the way they’re driving.
2) Changing in what ways?
Before ELD, drivers could stop to eat, take a shower, do maintenance – now they need to sleep 10 hours in a row! I never sleep 10 hours! I used to have 9 out of 10 drivers sleeping in their truck – now I have three out of 12. And we need to pay extra. Truckers are leaving the reload earlier in the morning, deliver by noon, p-up their log and come back home by 17:00/18:00. My mechanic needs to work overnight or on the weekend. I need more trailers since we don’t have anyone to load at night anymore. I had to hire an extra local driver only to deliver all the back hauls. It’s costing big money.
3) In the face of the ELD mandate, what is RCP Transit doing to be a “U.S. truck shipper of choice”?
We have changed the way we dispatch – it’s hard to explain. Overall, improved communication with customers. Our hours of service for truckers have been fully optimized. It’s more work on the dispatch side, but we have good partnerships in place.
4) How about freight rates?
We’ve been running with the same freight rates out of both our reload locations in Coaticook, Quebec and Island Pond, Vermont, for almost five years. But last week we announced higher freight rates effective June 1st. We probably should have increased rates six months ago, but our goal was to run with the existing rates at least through Q1 to accurately determine what was needed. We want to stay as competitive as possible to continue to grow the business – but waiting until now to raise rates has cost us significantly more then I was expecting! With our trucking company, we were probably short $80,000 for the first three months of the year. We were expecting to handle 20% less loads per week, but that never happened. So we’re handling the same number of loads, but driver salaries are up 20%, our insurance costs are up 30%, and fuel is going totally crazy! Unfortunately those expenses are out of our control.
5) Any shipping relief in sight?
There are fewer truck drivers every year. People are desperate for trucks! Right now there is such a shortage of trucks, people are calling us non-stop everyday. You wouldn’t believe it! We cover one out of every five loads we’re offered. It’s not easy refusing business everyday. The worst part is I am losing my broker. And prices continue to climb. For example, Montreal to Plainfield, CT a truckload of steel pays around $2000.00. How can we compete with that?
Related: America doesn’t have enough truckers
Sharpening the Saw
Its been said that there is power in staying connected to other people in your industry. My fifth consecutive B.C. Council of Forest Industries (COFI) Convention, held in Prince George last week, provided again opportunity to return with ideas to sharpen skills and stay abreast of a rapidly-changing lumbering landscape. The listed takeaways include a surprise at how few marketing and sales types were among more than 550 delegates who packed the Prince George Civic Centre for agenda presentations:
-The prevailing politically-charged environment these days seemed to shape tempered viewpoints from panelists on several fronts. Folks looking for Interfor President & CEO Duncan Davies to deliver pertinent softwood lumber dispute insights were disappointed. His confirmation lauding the work the Softwood Lumber Board is doing to grow softwood lumber demand did not excite. Fortunately a pointed question from the audience, asking why Canadian producers would support the SLB when a number of U.S. members are working to constrain market access, elicited topical response: “The tariffs are wrong. Whether or not the economy is helping to soften the blow, the tariffs should not be there. Inspite of trade matters, we need to continue to invest in our biggest market.” From West Fraser President & CEO Ted Seraphim: “Today, we’re not worried about the softwood lumber dispute. But if the market were weaker, we’d all be worrying about it. So we need to grow demand.”
-While there wasn’t a panel discussion dedicated to timely transportation concerns, Federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau addressed the situation. He said CN and CP need to do better. He pointed to Bill C-49 (Transportation Modernization Act) but his reporting an improvement in railcar capacity for grain fell flat among an audience concerned with lumber shipments. From Beth MacNeil, Assistant Deputy Minister, Canadian Forest Service: “Without infrastructure, there is no trade.”
–Jock Finlayson, Business Council of B.C., talked about the uncertain, shifting economic landscape in this province. He referenced the impact of uncertainty on investor confidence and how Canada is lagging in healthy capital formation. He sees little upside in residential construction in Canada, while pointing to “fundamental organic demand for housing growth” in the U.S. 30-39 age group. He suggested recent fiscal stimulus in the U.S. is unnecessary and poorly timed. Presently 300,000-400,000 manufacturing jobs in the U.S. are unfilled.
-According to Paul Jannke, Forest Economic Advisors (FEA), the U.S. labour force is the single biggest constraining factor in U.S. sawmill production.
-It was refreshing to hear from B.C.’s new Minister of Forests, Doug Donaldson, but otherwise nothing noteworthy recorded.
-An excellent presentation by Kevin Pankratz, Senior VP, Sales & Marketing, Canfor addressed export markets and the global outlook. Interesting to learn that the R&R market is bigger than new home construction. Expansive growth in hybrid construction, off-site construction, and building automation in all markets reported. “Governments everywhere will increase focus on green building initiatives to meet emission targets.”
-Most edgy presentation (“Fibre Supply – It Is What We Make It”) goes to Diane Nicholls, now two years into her job as B.C.’s Chief Forester. In the aftermath of the Mountain Pine Beetle, she seemingly referees the constant fight for access to quality fibre, further complicated by the Spruce Beetle presently eating into the midterm timber supply.
-The Forestry Jobs for Today and Tomorrow panel might have been one of the highlights. Best moderator of the convention goes to Sandy Ferguson, VP Corporate Development, Conifex. It was interesting to hear industry (Canfor/Interfor/Tolko/West Fraser) is working to rejuvenate parts of the BCIT Wood Products Manufacturing Program I graduated from, which has been dormant since 2003. From Kara Biles, Manager Learning & Talent, Canfor: “Aggressively advocate for diversity and inclusion in your company; diversity is a competitive differentiator shifting market share toward more diverse companies.” Derek Orr, Business Development Manager, Carrier provided update on planning underway for a Ranger Program aimed at development/training of Aboriginal youth. Lots of sponsor traction for the program including Carrier, Dunkley, Conifex, West Fraser, and Canfor.
–Premier John Horgan seemed pleasantly surprised with the warm welcome before delivering his keynote speech Friday morning: “Thank you for clapping.” He deftly navigated the politically-charged minefield.
At first glance, the 2018 COFI Convention struck me as perhaps being lighter on content in comparison with past years. However, on second glance, it was rich in both content and opportunity, with plenty to digest. As one among four delegates from Dakeryn Industries, I again return from this convention with new and enlightening ideas. For us all, it was a worthwhile time to ‘sharpen our saws’.
Tolerance of Uncertainty
Lumber traders daily navigate a terrain of market volatility and uncertainty.
Interpreting market changes for suppliers and buyers is a defining characteristic of the wholesale function in today’s international lumber trading environment. The factors contributing to successful lumber trading are closely tied to personal qualities ascribed to effective sales and entrepreneurship.
In Building Products Connection (Feb/Mar issue, published by the Northwestern Lumber Association), sales consultant Jeff Beals suggests sales is entrepreneurship, before exploring the seven characteristics of an entrepreneur. In a nutshell:
Moderate Risk-Taking: Far from the stereotypical reputation for taking big risks, Beals argues successful entrepreneurs are moderate risk takers. “They don’t shy away from ambiguity if they believe opportunity is present, but they study and calculate before taking the risk.” (Related: The B&S Theory of Lumber Trading)
Tolerance of Uncertainty: “Entrepreneurs can handle living in the unknown.” That’s a particularly valuable characteristic according to Beals, because there are no guarantees in sales.
Ego: “Obviously you don’t want to be an obnoxious ass, but if you’re lacking in confidence, you should work on it. Even if you’re an introvert, constantly develop and refine your people skills, because working with and through others is critically important.”
High Energy: Perseverance is similar to energy. “When things aren’t going well, entrepreneurial people double down” – and blog harder?
Goal-Oriented: Beals considers this to be the most important entrepreneurial characteristic.
Diverse Thinkers: Simultaneously managing tactics while thinking strategically; we’re told entrepreneurs work on short-term and long-term goals at the same time.
Integrity: The longer people and organizations exhibit consistent integrity, the more likely they will succeed. “The most consistently successful entrepreneurs exhibit high levels of integrity.”