Lumbering Along

Lumber and paper generate the majority of the Class I forest products business. The reduction in housing starts along with the declining number of newspapers and magazines in 2009 had a negative impact on products volume and revenue gains and it appears now that things are taking a positive turn. The housing market is improving and lumber exports to Asia are rising to accommodate home and commercial construction markets. Consequently, several Class Is have reported that forest product volume, as well as revenue gains, have increased. As the economy recovers, there is growing optimism that the demand for lumber and plywood for the housing market will continue to improve. However, although forest products volume will likely benefit from a healthier housing market, it is uncertain that there will be enough housing starts by year's end to meet Class Is' expectations for a major increase in lumber-driven business. However, paper traffic figures are expected to remain sluggish. The major concerns are the strong competition faced by those in the industry and competition among the transportation suppliers to the paper mills. Graphic paper has struggled and will probably continue to struggle due to the electronic age and the reduced demand for newspapers. Many closed lumber mills will need to reopen, expand operations, and develop a large enough market to warrant rail shipment. Overall there continues to be optimism about the industry's prospects for providing packaging materials for consumer goods, as well as lumber and plywood for the improving housing market.


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  • Accession Number: 01487790
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 18 2013 12:09PM