Tuesday, November 18, 2008

LUMBER SALES TO CHINA HELP BC COAST

GOOD NEWS FOR VANCOUVER ISLAND

FOREST INDUSTRY

SHANGHAI, CHINA – New orders for B.C. lumber help provide some stability for mill workers and loggers on Vancouver Island, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell and Duncan Kerr, Chief Operating Officer of Western Forest Products, announced today.

“The China trade mission has been a great success with participating companies able to secure 83 million board feet in new orders for B.C. lumber from all areas of the province,” said Bell. “If we continue with that pace on a monthly basis, that represents one billion board feet of lumber per year going into China – the equivalent production of four large B.C. sawmills.”

Recently released sales data for January to September 2008 show that British Columbia exported 552 million board feet of softwood products to China, well over the record 493 million board feet exported in all of 2007.

Western Forest Products will be shipping about 7.6 million board feet this month and another 24.4 million board feet in the first quarter of 2009 to Shanghai and Qingdao, China. The lumber will be produced primarily at Western Forest Products’ Cowichan Bay sawmill from hemlock harvested on northern Vancouver Island. Western recently modified some of its equipment at its Cowichan Bay mill to manufacture the required lengths of lumber for the Chinese marketplace and changed its logging plans to focus on harvesting hemlock.

“These lumber sales represent an ongoing business opportunity which we’re looking to develop further with continued support from Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd., Canada Wood Group and collaborative trade missions involving government and industry, such as this one,” said Kerr.

Key site visits for delegates on the trade mission included the earthquake reconstruction in Mianyang and Beichuan, the grand opening of a wood-frame school campus in Baoshan, the Xiang’E school to be built using wood-frame construction, and the Putuo commercial roofing renovation project.

The Province, through Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd. and in conjunction with the Canada Wood Group, has been working over the last several years to diversify B.C.’s markets by demonstrating new uses for softwood products.

Roof Truss Technology Breakthrough in China

B.C. forest products and Canadian wood truss technology have experienced a breakthrough with three commercial projects providing new roofs to 38 apartment buildings in Shanghai, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell announced today while visiting a project site in the Putuo district.

“Putuo is the third commercial roofing project in Shanghai using our wood truss systems and building materials,” said Bell, while touring the site. “We’re well-positioned to take advantage of a significant increase in upcoming renovations as Shanghai prepares for Expo 2010. Housing authorities are particularly interested in the construction speed and environmental benefits of our roofing products and techniques, after witnessing the success of two previous demonstration roofing projects.”

The Chinese government recently issued a call to upgrade the country’s older multi-storied, multi-family houses by 2010 in an effort to increase energy efficiency and improve the lifestyles of their residents. An estimated 10,000 buildings will be renovated in Shanghai over the next two years – representing a market opportunity for up to 94.9 million board feet of lumber if all 10,000 building were to use wood truss systems.

Early successes in the roof renovation project, and positive results from a joint cost comparison study with the Shanghai Housing Bureau, convinced Shanghai’s municipal government of the benefits and viability of the wood truss system. The roof renovation projects provide an opportunity to train large Chinese construction companies in the use of hybrid wood-frame construction technology and to build awareness of the system among key Chinese government and industry stakeholders.

The project will also provide technical support for new districts and general contractors with the aim of making the wood truss system a significant element of the city’s “600 Day Initiative” to improve its infrastructure before Expo 2010.

Putuo’s commercial wood truss project is using about 54,000 board feet of lumber for roof renovations, and is a unique partnership with Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd., the Canada Wood Group, and Natural Resources Canada.


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