Nova Scotia’s lumber industry celebrates rebound
Improved U.S. housing good news for lumber industry, report
After a six year slump that saw a string of mills closing in Nova Scotia, lumber brokers say prices and exports to the United States are up.
The turnaround is a good news for saw millers like Doug Ledwidge, whose plant in Enfield is producing more than a million board feet a week.
"It’s always nice to see your product have a home and have a home at a decent price," he said.
Joel MacLaggan, a lumber broker in the Maritimes, says the rebound started late last year and is holding in 2013.
"It's much healthier, the lumber market as a whole. Prices have come up significantly, well over ten per cent," he told CBC News.
A 2012 Scotiabank report points out an increased demand for wood products in the U.S. According to the report the rebound is due in part to an improving U.S. housing market and west coast lumber being exported to Asian market.
With loans and land purchases, government assistance was also a factor.
The industry is emerging from a lengthy and severe recession.
Some mills, including the one in Bowater, closed while others sold off land holdings and laid off workers.
"The ones that have survived are leaner and they've cut costs where need be," said MacLaggan.
Lewidge says that's what's happened at his company.
"We produce as much on one shift as we used to on two. We're become much more efficient, unfortunately with fewer people."