Further production curtailments in N. America in response to coronavirus pandemic

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Wood business companies in North America are responding to the threats of the coronavirus pandemic. Following the announcements of Interfor, West Fraser and Norbord, here is a tracking of the most recent developments:

Canfor Pulp announces curtailments

Canfor Pulp is postponing the planned extended spring maintenance shut at Northwood Pulp Mill until later this year, and instead will curtail the mill for three weeks during the period the turnaround was originally scheduled to occur. This will result in a reduction of approximately 35,000 tonnes of Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft pulp production.

In addition, Canfor Pulp is reducing its planned capital expenditures for 2020 by $15 million to $25 million, representing a $78 million decrease from 2019 capital expenditures. This reduction will be realized through the deferral of planned projects and suspension of in-progress initiatives that can be paused without significant impact.

Given the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, Canfor Pulp is closely monitoring potential staffing shortages, customer demand and volatility in the financial markets. There is the potential that further adjustments to operating plans may be required as a result.

Rayonier to curtail softwood sawmills in Quebec and Ontario

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on certain business markets, Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc. announced curtailed production at seven Canadian locations. Starting this week, the company will cease or reduce operations at all softwood sawmills located in Ontario and Quebec as well as halt production at the company’s newsprint plant in Kapuskasing, Ontario.

These curtailments will last at least two weeks and may be extended longer depending on market conditions. Existing sales orders will continue to be fulfilled from current inventory and reduced production at the Kapuskasing sawmill.

All other facilities, including the four High Purity Cellulose (HPC) facilities in the U.S., Canada and France and the Pulp and Paperboard facilities in Temiscaming, Quebec, are expected to operate at normal levels. These facilities, each deemed an “essential business” in its given country, produce a variety of products including many that are critical raw materials for pharmaceutical, food and cleaning products.

Interfor to further reduce production

On March 18, 2020, Interfor announced that it would temporarily reduce  across its operations in British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest and the US South.  These curtailments were planned for a two-week period.  However, the company will further reduce sawmill , which will total approximately 50 million board feet for the week of March 30, 2020.

The company will continue to evaluate and adjust  based on evolving market conditions and employee safety considerations.  During this period, the company will continue to sell and ship lumber from inventory in order to align with its customers.