Terrace, B.C. sawmill curtails operations

Cites lack of foreign markets as one of the reasons

Terrace’s only sawmill has shut down one of its main wood processing units as log supply and foreign markets dwindle, which is the second slowdown in the last year.

“This time the mill has cut production by half,” said Skeena Sawmills official Roger Keery last week.

“Our sawmill isn’t running but the planner mill is running this week, so we are at partial operations and have been doing that for a bit now.”

This summer the mill closed entirely for two months. Currently 45 people are working of the 85 usually employed in front end roles.

The reason for the partial closure has to do with gaining adequate log supply and sales orders, Keery said.

“We’ve been producing a much higher volume of material that we can ship directly from the mill, which is primarily green timbers so they are for Canadian customers, and whereas we were producing less than ten per cent of those, now we are producing over 50 per cent of those so they are shipped directly from the sawmill.”

Keery said the ability of the mill business team to sign more buyers in Canada to counter the poor sales is a positive trend.

“The folks at the mill have found very creative ways to make much higher volume of those than we ever have before and the market for them right now is quite good. It’s green wood and it’s used in the oil field and oil field supply services and also in the treating industry and commercial construction of docks and wharves, those kind things,” said Keery.

Keery is uncertain when full production at the mill on Hwy16 west of the city can resume but he says that he sees an upswing happening in the Chinese market which he believes bodes well for future operations.