Softwood lumber tariffs could be positive for small independent mills
Some of the major players in the BC forestry industry may be bracing for a tough road ahead but Pat Moore sees a silver lining.
The lifelong forestry worker believes smaller, independent operators could potentially benefit from new U.S. tariffs on Canadian Softwood lumber.
“We’re hoping when the mills go down the log supply opens up for local and independent people in BC to cut wood with/from,” says Pat Moore, Owner of Wood-Mizer Vancouver Island. “And that will provide more employment and opportunities for Wood-Mizer operators.”
At his Wood-Mizer franchise workers deal with saws of all shapes and sizes.
They also sell small mills to companies and people who want to cut wood independently.
There are more than 700 such mills on Vancouver Island and most face a similar challenge.
“100 % the bottom line is access to wood supply,” says Moore. “The majors, all of them, have a policy where it’s very difficult to buy small lot blocks.”
So Moore is hoping that if the mills stop sending lumber to the U.S., it will mean more logs for his customers.
But he also sees the negative impact the tariffs and a prolonged trade battle with the U.S. could have and he’s not optimistic a deal will be reached soon.
“It appears the (U.S.) government, at hand, does not want to settle. They just want to put a big enough tariff on Canadian wood to stop it coming down.”
And while the softwood lumber tariffs could mean opportunity for small, independent mills, Moore sees the logging industry suffering as well as slowdowns at larger mills.
With 145,000 direct and indirect jobs in BC, dependent on forestry, the impact could be felt far and wide.